How the War of 1812 Eroded U.S. Liberalism

The War of 1812 helped "the State come into its own" by concentrating power and interest in the national government.


In 1918, having watched in horror as his Progressive friends gleefully jumped onto Woodrow Wilson's war wagon, Randolph Bourne penned the immortal words: "War is the health of the state." As he explained it,

The republican State has almost no trappings to appeal to the common man's emotions. What it has are of military origin, and in an unmilitary era such as we have passed through since the Civil War, even military trappings have been scarcely seen. In such an era the sense of the State almost fades out of the consciousness of men.

With the shock of war, however, the State comes into its own again,…

[I]n general, the nation in wartime attains a uniformity of feeling, a hierarchy of values culminating at the undisputed apex of the State ideal, which could not possibly be produced through any other agency than war. Loyalty—or mystic devotion to the State—becomes the major imagined human value.

An earlier group of Americans would have agreed, although they would not have shared Bourne's horror. These are the men who sought war with England in 1812. As Wikipedia notes,

The United States declared war on June 18, 1812 [after close party votes in Congress] for several reasons, including trade restrictions brought about by the British war with France, the impressment of American merchant sailors into the Royal Navy, British support of Indian tribes against American expansion, outrage over insults to national honor after humiliations on the high seas, and possible American interest in annexing British territory in modern-day Canada.

I will explore neither the justifications for the war nor the terms of the Treaty of Ghent. Suffice it to say that Britain ceased its impressment policy before the war started and sought to reconcile with America after the war, opening up opportunities for westward U.S. expansion at the expense of Spain and the Indians. Instead I'll focus on how the war eroded liberalism in the United States by concentrating power and interest in the national government. There's a lesson here: even a war that appears justifiable—Britain conscripted Americans into its navy and interfered with commerce—had enduring illiberal domestic consequences beyond the immediate transgressions of taxes, debt, and trade embargoes—dangerous precedents were set.

While I don't wish to overstate the liberalism of prewar America—slavery and the war on Indians were only the most egregious violations of the principles of liberty—it would be wrong to think that America did not become less liberal with the war, that Bourne's maxim was suspended in this case. It was not suspended.

Thomas Birch/Wikimedia Commons

Prewar, there were still eminent voices favoring small government and decentralized power. Postwar, this was hardly the case. Indeed, the idea of a "living constitution" seems to have been born in this era. The War of 1812 should bring to mind the French saying "The more it changes, the more it's the same thing."

In the final chapter of The Radicalism of the American Revolution, historian Gordon S. Wood notes that as the 19th century unfolded, the survivors of the founding generation were unhappy with what they saw in America. "It was increasingly clear," Wood writes, "that no one was really in charge of this gigantic, enterprising, restless nation … the most thoroughly commercialized society in the world."

Why would the last of this generation despair? Because "the founding fathers, of course, had thought that eminent men and imaginative minds were in control of events and caused things to happen. But the heroic conception of society was now relegated to a more primitive stage of development." Thus,

This democratic society was not the society the revolutionary leaders had wanted or expected. No wonder, then, that those of them who lived on into the early decades of the nineteenth century expressed anxiety over what they had wrought….

Indeed, a pervasive pessimism, a fear that their revolutionary experiment in republicanism was not working out as they had expected, runs through the later writings of the founding fathers. All the major revolutionary leaders died less than happy with the results of the Revolution. The numbers of old revolutionaries who lost faith in what the Revolution had done is startling.

To their dismay, people were more concerned with their personal economic affairs than with the new nation. "White males had taken only too seriously the belief that they were free and equal with the right to pursue their happiness," Wood writes. Thus commercial success outweighed republican virtue, disappointing Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians alike. "A new generation of democratic Americans was no longer interested in the revolutionaries' dream of building a classical republic of elitist virtue out of the inherited materials of the Old World."

As a result, "the founding fathers were unsettled and fearful not because the American Revolution had failed but because it had succeeded, and succeeded only too well."

The retired founders were not the only ones who worried. They were joined by the men who still exercised power, especially Republicans James Madison and James Monroe, and such influential men of the next generation as John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun. As war with England approached, Republicans (as opposed to the Federalists) had no problem finding silver linings. War would not only inject government with a new dynamism—with important implications for trade policy, money and banking, and internal improvements—it would also give the people a shot of badly needed national spirit.

Thus the War of 1812 is an underrated turning point in American history, rivaling the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and the two world wars. Indeed, the War of 1812 helped to launch the empire that manifested itself in those later conflicts. In its aftermath, America's rulers could believe that their continental and global ambitions, backed by the army and a global navy, were fully realizable. They just needed a government equal to the task.

It's not too much to say that modern America was born in 1812–1815. While it was a Republican war—Federalists in the northeast opposed and even threatened secession over it—the postwar Republican Party took on most of the fading Federalist Party's program with respect to the role of government in the American economy. Advocates of smaller, decentralized government (Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, among others) rallied in the decades before the Civil War, but in the end the neomercantilists—advocates of Henry Clay's Hamiltonian American System—triumphed to the point that Grover Cleveland, outraged by the rampant privileges for business insiders, railed against what he called the "communism of combined wealth and capital" that had given rise to communism in its ordinary sense.

Before open hostilities with England broke out, Wood writes in another book, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815, "America had been engaged in a kind of warfare—commercial warfare—with both Britain and France since 1806." As president (1801-1809), Thomas Jefferson had pushed Congress to impose a general trade embargo—a ban on all American exports—during the Napoleonic wars, when American merchant ships (and a warship) were interfered with, American neutrality violated, and merchant seamen impressed into the Royal Navy. Jefferson called this response, which was highly divisive, "peaceful coercion" and an alternative to war. Wood adds, "The actual fighting of 1812 was only the inevitable consequence of the failure of 'peaceful coercion.'"

To be continued…

This article originally appeared at The Future of Freedom Foundation. 

NEXT: Still Not Getting Along

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  1. WAR…. It’s fannnnntastic!

    1. What’s the use of being a knee-jerk Whig if the British Navy is going to arrest you on your way home from one of Dolly Madison’s parties ?

  2. It really started with the Whiskey Rebellion.

    1. What’s Shays Rebellion, chopped liver?

      1. What’s Shays Rebellion, chopped liver?

        Seriously, what is?

      2. An no mention of the Boxer Rebellion?

  3. Why do you need a two-parter to eventually blame the Jews?

    1. ’cause they are really sneak, and it takes a while to unravel all the threads, man!

    2. Sheldon Richman is Jewish. Do you think he hates himself, his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins?

      This casual tendency of those on the Right to call anyone who criticizes some Israeli policy ‘anti-Semitic’ leads to this Bizarro world where many Jews themselves are suddenly Jew haters. This kind if thing would make even the most rabid race baiters in the left have a bit of jealous incredulity.

      1. ^This, except for the part implying the left has any sort of self-awareness when it comes to race-baiting.

        1. Fair enough, too much credit granted to them there.

        2. So is Chomsky. So what? The immunizes people against being Jew haters? Only in the mind of an Aspy.

          1. So you think Chomsky hates himself, his parents, his children?

            It’s a retarded charge, worthy of Reverend Al Sharpton.

          2. I am jewish and oppose foreign aid to Israel. I must hate myself

            1. Exactly. Inside Israel itself you’ll find more open criticism of any given Israeli policy than you will here.

              Jews like Richman criticize Israel a lot because they feel a connection for the Jewish state and therefore that much more offended when it does something they disagree with. You might as well call Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza ‘Yankee haters’ because, while attending Yankee games wearing Yankee gear they primarily complain about the stupid decisions of the Yankees.

              1. There’s a key distinction you’re evading, though. Chomsky, and at least to some extent Richman, apply standards to Israel that they drop for their adversaries. When you damn the Israelis as moral monsters when they do much less objectionable things than the Palestinians you’re lionizing, it’s fair to say you’re unduly biased against the Jewish state.

              2. Be fair to Jerry. Real world JS is a Mets fan, like all right-thinking natives of the tr-state area*. 🙂

                Remember the Keith Hernandez episodes? The Magic Loogie Theory?

                Would that Seinfeld would buy the Mets from the Wilpons.

                Kevin R

                *Get deep enough into CT, then it’s Red Sawx.

            2. Chomsky and mini-Chomsky’s shtick isn’t “we need to cut foreign aid.” Lots of people (including me, an unabashed Zionist) believe that as well. It’s about Israel-as-Jewland pulling the strings of the US government. The Jews are always behind our foreign misadventures. It’s as predictable, tiresome, and content-free as the repetitive Aspy posts.

              1. Pro-Israel lobbies do have significant influence. Of course that can be said about other lobbies (look at the Cuban lobby). Pointing that out is not anti-Semitic.

                Of course, the biggest driver of US Israel policy is not from AIPAC, it’s from conservative Christians.

              2. Israel-as-Jewland

                Well, it’s now official. A two state system is in order! Half of the middle east becomes Jewland, the other half becomes Arabania.

                How could it go wrong?

            3. I love Israel and oppose foreign aid to Israel.

              The reason that Richman and Chomsky are called self-hating Jews is because of their unfair and libellous critiques of Israel that damn it for self-defence.

          3. Leave us Apys out of this.

      2. the self-hating Jew is not a phenomenon, any more than the black who points out self-inflicted wounds within his own race is painted as an Uncle Tom or this thing called a ‘race traitor.’ Get out more, Bo.

        1. self-hating Jew

          A misnomer. People like Chomsky and Mini-Chomsky here don’t hate themselves. On the contrary, they are quite self-congratulatory about overcoming the cultural evil in which they perceive they were raised. They just hate other Jews as a collective.

          1. That’s ridiculous. It’s just that kind of ‘false consciousness’ tripe that the left pushes.

            I guess blacks that think the NAACP and the CBC are awful are really ‘self hating Blacks?’ Please. You’ve adopted the mirror rhetoric of the Team you dislike.

            1. I guess blacks that think the NAACP and the CBC are awful are really ‘self hating Blacks?

              according to the NAACP, that is exactly what they are. Look at how they treat any black who dares question the reliance on the Dems and some of the bad habits within the black community. Goddamn, Bo; are you serious?

              1. And you want to adopt this crazy way of thinking?

                1. And you want to adopt this crazy way of thinking?

                  thanks for confirming my point about the self-hating Jew. Yes, it is crazy; it is also real. And I never said a word about wanting to adopt it, but I recognize its existence.

                  1. The self hating black and the self hating Jew are silly, tribalistic tropes. Jews have a right to criticize a Jewish state and blacks have the right to criticize groups that ‘speak for blacks’ without being charged with hating themselves and others like them.

                    1. and yet, Bo, they are charged with being self-hating. It’s reality. The elephant is in the living room. Actually, the blacks criticizing the civil rights apparatus have gotten that treatment for a long time.

                    2. If you see it as unfair and absurd there why not see it as the same here?

                    3. and yet, Bo, they are charged with being self-hating.

                      Only by morons who don’t understand simple English phrases. Chomsky and mini-Chomsky are quite pleased with themselves and never miss an opportunity to assert their superiority to the common clay of humanity. That changes nothing- they still see a Jew (or someone who has been duped by The Jooos) behind every bad thing in this world. Their ethnicity is irrelevant.

                      I’m still amazed that anyone can take anything Richman says with even a grain of seriousness, much less pay him for his spew. Especially after the mask slipped badly a few weeks ago…

              2. Goddamn, Bo; are you serious?

                It’s a condition- by feeding it, you are doing him no favors. it’s better to argue with people you disagree with who aren’t suffering from an unfortunate mental disease.


                1. You’re so unintentionally hilarious Old Man, criticizing me for having repetitive posts by…repetitively posting the same tired post. Never change Pony Boy!

                  1. Geez. It was an tongue in cheek commment meant to be in fun. It had no deeper meaning to it than that. I can be superficial that way.

                    Everyone gets so serious sometimes around here.

                    1. Check your snark privilege.

                    2. Correction: Not ‘everyone’.

                      I will check it next time!

            2. I guess blacks that think the NAACP and the CBC are awful are really ‘self hating Blacks?’

              What if they arrived at the conclusion that the NAACP or the CBC were awful based on standards they refused to apply to others?

            3. That is a false equivalency.

          2. Chomsky is an anti-zionist. As are many Jewish people.

      3. STFU asshole

      4. Sheldon Richman is Jewish. Do you think he hates himself, his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins?

        Sure, why not?

        He’s also an American and he clearly hates America and Americans.

      5. As a Spinozan, I like myself just fine.

        1. And my handle suddenly becomes relevant.

      6. Sheldon Richman is Jewish. Do you think he hates himself, his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins?

        He’d scarcely qualify as a Jew if he didn’t, and if they didn’t hate him. 😉

  4. For those of you who like the swill, Happy Beer Day!

    No, I didn’t know Iceland banned beer until 1989.

    1. Why Iceland banned beer.

      No, I didn’t know Iceland has a beer flavored with smoked whales’ testicles.

    2. I’ll drink (vodka) to that. Cheers!

    3. I was in iceland for Beer Day.

      By *accident*. You have no idea what fucking unbelievably good luck that is.

      I will cut the story short and simply say that the evening ended around 4Am when i was playing Elvis songs on stage with an icelandic country band, and decided the floor looked very very comfortable.

      1. Your stories, GILMORE. . .your stories.

        You’re a cross between a really belligerent drunk asshole and a really awesome popular rockstar.

        1. I almost had an icelandic 3 way as well! With Girls this time!

          Only the 2 icelandic dudes who were escorting me and my buddy through the Beer Day madness thought that it would be bad Juju to have me sneak away for drunk sex with their native women. So they picked me up and dragged me screaming away.

          I’m really not kidding at all about any of this. It was the most fucked up 24hours you can possibly imagine. We had a @#()*@#$ layover in iceland…and we showed up… and the entire country was getting not just ‘drunk’, but fucking *Viking Hammered*. And we had no idea *why*. we were just like, ‘well, this is convenient’.

          It was also something like -20 outside at the time. Walking between the bars was like Luke escaping the hoth icemonster.

          1. I laughed so hard at this my stomach is cramping.


      2. Did you get on with an Elvish-looking Icelandic lass?

        1. Actually the menage a-3 that was never to be was 1/2 a british girl …(with dreadlocks….eeeccchhhhh)

          …and 1/2 a very cute, elfin-like icelandic native

          I was all in it for the latter, but the former seemed insistent on coming along. it was being sold as a package deal.

    4. Guess I’ll have a beer today, get in touch with my inner Viking. If I’m feeling extra Viking-y, I’ll have a shot of Aquavit, too.

  5. What, no hysterical Richman bashing?

    1. What, no hysterical Richman fellating?

      1. I see no difference between critics of shitty writing and Adam Lanza.

        1. Fundamentally, Sheldon Richman IS Adam Lanza.

          Wrap your heads around THAT, Reasonoids.

        2. Winner.

      2. Thanks guys! I was worried that it was almost 9AM and no one had called Sheldon a self-hating Jew or terrorist sympathizer. I thought maybe someone’s mom was in the hospital or internet was down.
        Also, thanks for accusing me of blowing another man for not hurling racially charged insults at him! That does make me kind of a pussy doesnt it? Ill try harder next time, really!

        1. You should try to be more histrionic. Extremism in the defense of a hack writer is no vice!

          1. Hows this: get cancer & die you scum-sucking piece of shit.

          2. First Im a cock-sucker and then I am a screeching nag.
            As often as the Comments section has become a never-ending diatribe against liberal talking points, you would think there would be more resistance to reflexively becoming a left-wing cariacature of a libertarian.
            Bonus points for attacking me for pointing out how pointlessly stupid the venom towards Richman articles is, rather than even saying anything about the article itself. Way to prove my point.

        2. Clearly, Sheldon is a self-hating jew terrorist illuminati, who is in reality the real Adam Lanza.

    2. Is Richman still whining that it is bad form to hate soldiers for being soldiers?

      1. Is Richman still whining


        1. Nooooooooooooo I’m notttttttttttttttttt.

          1. Not sure if serious.

  6. Good morning Peanuts!

    Since I have been away for a couple of days I missed the CPAC coverage here. Who was the consensus winner? What good did it do anyone?

    1. Shrieky was busy helping rounding up enemies of the State, and those were the happiest days of his life. But it doesn’t count because Shrieky is only 14.

      1. “helping rounding up”

        A common internet phrase, made ironic by it’s popularity among those who support restrictionist immigration policy which is of course the clearest actual US example of a policy where men with guns are rounding up thousand of men, women and children and sending them to ‘camps’.

        1. right, Bo; because the US invented the concept of borders and we should freely let in poor, low-skilled, low-educated people into a system that cannot afford to bad actors among the natives.

          1. In the absence of a w welfare state there is no valid reason to oppose open borders

            1. but the welfare state exists; hence, my opposition.

              1. Perhaps the way to end the welfare state is in fact to open the borders.

                1. Perhaps a way to stop thieves is to in fact remove the locks from my doors.

                  1. Great comparison nimrod

                    1. Then draw it out for me. How is adding more people to a welfare state going to end the welfare state?

                    2. By destroying it utterly. For that is the progressive way. Attach itself to a healthy host until that host is dead. then move on to the next one.

              2. Wouldnt the coexistence of the welfare state and lenient immigration just cause the system to collapse faster? That should be seen as a good thing

                1. Empirical research shows that increased immigration in a country is associated with a lowering of public support for welfare benefits. It’s in largely homogenous populations where welfare states are embraced popularly.

                2. Wouldnt the coexistence of the welfare state and lenient immigration just cause the system to collapse faster?

                  in a test tube, sure. In a world where politicians defend sacred cows to the death, not so much. As it is, the entitlements are more than half the federal budget. Where in teh Constitution are they specified?

                3. You could use this logic for anything. Every additional regulation and tax eventually adds to the chance of collapse. But plenty of socialist countries have endured a long time, and those that have collapsed didn’t spawn libertopia.

                4. Wouldnt the coexistence of the welfare state and lenient immigration just cause the system to collapse faster?


            2. In the absence of a w welfare state there is no valid reason to oppose open borders

        2. Wow Bo, you’ve managed to become an even more obnoxious defender of open borders than me. I mean where the fuck did that come from? Your aspergers?

    2. Paul won the straw poll, as Pauls are wont to do. Reason went on Grindr to interview closeted homosexed Republicans. Welch thinks it may have been a harbinger of yet another libertarian moment. On the scale of worthlessness, the whole affair was somewhere between one of your posts at HandR and The Endless River.

      1. Nicely done.

        As political conventions go CPAC is typically filled with platitudes and void of substance.

        Ol’ Jeb survived it though. Flyover country is his turf.

    3. You were gone?

  7. Richman article. Get to your corners, come out at the bell and no punching below the belt.

    1. “…no punching below the belt.”

      Boy are you in for a nasty surprise. This is HnR.

      *crosses legs and covers nuts*

      1. “Why do you guys all sit on your helmets?”

        1. More importantly, why aren’t you wearing pants?

  8. Speaking of Millennial polls, Goldman Sachs, perhaps following the lead of Reason, has compiled some interesting stats.

    The shocking takeaway:

    The Millennial generation is the largest in US history and as they reach their prime working and spending years, their impact on the economy is going to be huge.

    Millennials have come of age during a time of technological change, globalization and economic disruption. That’s given them a different set of behaviors and experiences than their parents.

    They have been slower to marry and move out on their own, and have shown different attitudes to ownership that have helped spawn what’s being called a “sharing economy.”

    They’re also the first generation of digital natives, and their affinity for technology helps shape how they shop. They are used to instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews.

    Finally, they are dedicated to wellness, devoting time and money to exercising and eating right. Their active lifestyle influences trends in everything from food and drink to fashion.

    These are just some of the trends that will shape the new Millennial economy.

    1. *rolls eyes*

    2. “they are dedicated to wellness, devoting time and money to exercising and eating right.”

      Run-on code for ‘pay me my fair wage and humanely reduce my hours (but pay me full-time) so I can go do yoga because I have to take care of myself but don’t cut my health plan because I need to buy shark cartilage and other homeopath products. Because.’

      1. That seems rather a stretch good sir.

      2. Shark cartilage diluted to one part in three septillion. Now THAT’s homeopathy.

    3. This would explain why I do not see any heavy people under the age of 25. Nope, no heavy people.

      1. This would explain why I do not see any heavy people under the age of 25. Nope, no heavy people.

        They’re still at home, enjoying mom’s cooking*, while working on a PhD in fine arts (with a focus on neoclassical puppetry).

        As informed by the government of the 80s and 90s, so: high carb, no fat, no salt cooking, which means the kid pops off to Taco Bell every other night.

  9. “it would be wrong to think that America did not become less liberal with the war, that Bourne’s maxim was suspended in this case. It was not suspended.”

    Wow, I managed to figure out the meaning of those sentences. What a roundabout way of getting to the point.

  10. I feel that the state really got its stride during the Civil War. I would have much preferred John Brown being successful.

    1. And Lysander Spooner.

    2. Bad stuff happened during the Civil War, and then it ended and so did slavery. America was much better off.

      1. Other than a massive expansion of the federal government, sure?

        1. Was the federal government really massive in 1870? Do you really think the difference in size of the federal government in 1870 and 1860 has a negative effect on liberty that was in any way comparable to the positive effect of freeing 4 million slaves?

      2. I think slavery was technically still legal in MD, DE, and the plantations in the Carribean in which some northerners had ownership.

        Armed slaves rising up against their masters would have solved the same issue, years before, and probably would have eliminated the Jim Crow crap that followed since armed blacks would have demanded/commanded “fair” treatment instead of spebding generations petitioning the federal govt for assistance. Reparations could have potentially been ss simple as “we now own the plantation sunce the guy that enslaved us is dead and we will take this as back pay.”

        1. Damn fine idea for a revisionist history movie.

        2. Worked out great for Haiti.

          1. Yeah. They should have just stayed in slavery.

        3. “Armed slaves rising up against their masters would have solved the same issue,”

          Much easier said then done. And the consequences of such a revolt are not quite as clearly awesome as you think. In all likelihood, civilian casualties would have been WAY higher than they were in the Civil War (especially if the example of Haiti is anything to go by), and since black people were still overall a minority in the South, it’s not clear they’d have won.

          1. If a “civilian” wanted to help prevent the slaves from freeing themselves then I’m all for what ill befell them.

            There’s no guarantee of anything other than slave owners wanting to have continued to own people.

        4. Also, the 13th Amendment ended slavery everywhere in the US. The US didn’t have jurisdiction over the Caribbean, IIRC the only places where it was still legal in 1865 in that region were Cuba and Puerto Rico.

          1. About six months after Appomattox. The Union border states where slavery was legal were not affected by the Emancipation Proclamation (estimate of somewhere less than a million slaves).

            The US didn’t have jurisdiction there and the Civil War did not end slavery there.

  11. Richman finds another problem with war–film at 11.

    1. How could anyone have a problem with war?

      1. “How could anyone have a problem with war?”

        Probably a commonly heard statement at CPAC…

      2. What is it good for?

  12. Spot the Not! Peter King!

    1. I think I’m one of the people who brought about peace in Ireland.

    2. My dad was in the army and lost his right eye. But he saluted the flag until the day that he died.

    3. If we have another 2,000 people killed, I want Nancy Pelosi and George Soros, John Conyers and Pat Leahy to go to the funeral and say, ‘Your son was vaporized because we didn’t want to dump some guy’s head under water for 30 seconds.’

    4. When things did go wrong for the IRA, when civilians were killed, I tried to put it in context, not defend it.

    5. WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.

    6. Every soldier, every cop who’s faced with a decision to make, a life or death, does the best he or she can.

    1. Hmm, can’t decide between 2 and 6

      1. 2 is a Toby Keith lyric.

    2. #2 is almost a Toby Keith lyric

    3. I’m going to guess 3.

      Too forthright.

    4. 3 because it is numerically incorrect. Even Peter King would know the correct death toll since much of it happened in his state.

    5. Trick question – they’re all King.

    6. I was guessing 2, even before Virginian below made his comment.

    7. The answer is clearly Hitler.

    8. No more bets! No more bets!

      The Not was indeed #2. 3 cheers for the sharp-eyed commenters who chose right.

      Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue
      Toby Keith

      American Girls and American Guys
      We’ll always stand up and salute
      We’ll always recognize
      When we see Old Glory Flying
      There’s a lot of men dead
      So we can sleep in peace at night
      When we lay down our head

      My daddy served in the army
      Where he lost his right eye
      But he flew a flag out in our yard
      Until the day that he died
      He wanted my mother, my brother, my sister and me
      To grow up and live happy
      In the land of the free.

      Now this nation that I love
      Has fallen under attack
      A mighty sucker punch came flyin’ in
      From somewhere in the back
      Soon as we could see clearly
      Through our big black eye
      Man, we lit up your world
      Like the 4th of July

      Hey Uncle Sam
      Put your name at the top of his list
      And the Statue of Liberty
      Started shakin’ her fist
      And the eagle will fly
      Man, it’s gonna be hell
      When you hear Mother Freedom
      Start ringin’ her bell
      And it feels like the whole wide world is raining down on you
      Brought to you Courtesy of the Red White and Blue

      Justice will be served
      And the battle will rage
      This big dog will fight
      When you rattle his cage
      And you’ll be sorry that you messed with
      The U.S. of A.
      `Cause we`ll put a boot in your ass
      It`s the American way

    9. Number 4.

    10. I think I’m one of the people who brought about peace in Ireland.

      That may very well be. When the Irish people realized that assholes like King were the sort of trash the IRA was attracting, they decided peace with England was a better option.

      1. There’s more truth to that than you’d think. When the Good Friday Agreement was signed, there were a lot of people who thought it was capitulation to the IRA…but what they didn’t realize was that the IRA, now that it didn’t have the demon English to rail against as the source of all Ireland’s problems, would full-bore embrace organized crime, bank robbery, drug dealing, and training terrorists around the world.

        Turned out to be a master stroke by the Irish and British governments…by pulling back from the conflict they let the people see just what pieces of shit a lot of the IRA were. All of that romantic Michael Collins bullshit had nothing at all to do with the IRA the people got to see after the ceasefire was signed…and a lot of their support walked away from them.

        1. Interesting.

  13. #2 is almost a Toby Keith lyric.

    1. I am in awe of your courage in admitting that you know that.

      1. I am at the LGS waiting for the background check system to reboot and they are playing country.

  14. Salon really likes taking digs at libertarians. http://tinyurl.com/nqq4o3c

    A sample:

    Libertarians believe they are real rebels, because they’ve politicized the protest of children who scream through tears, “You’re not the boss of me.” The rejection of all rules and regulations, and the belief that everyone should have the ability to do whatever they want, is not rebellion or dissent. It is infantile na?vet?.


    Who then are the libertarians rebelling against? The most powerful sector of the society is corporate America, and it profits and benefits most from the deregulatory and anti-tax measures libertarians champion. That sector of society also happens to own the federal government. Through large campaign donations and aggressive lobbying ? the very corruption that libertarians help enable by defending Citizens United and opposing campaign finance reform ? they have institutionalized bribery, transforming the legislative process into an auction. Libertarians proclaim an anti-government position, but they are only opposing the last measures of protection that remain in place to prevent the government from full mutation into an aristocracy. By advocating for the removal of all social programs, libertarians are not rebelling, as much as they are reinforcing the prevailing ethos of “bootstrap” capitalism. The poor are responsible for their plight, and therefore deserve no sympathy or assistance.

    1. Once more the ever ridiculous strawman of libertarians not caring about anyone but themselves has risen to be knocked down by someone ready to assure us all that libertarianism is just selfishness. As many times as that strawman has been knocked down, one would think it would be worn out and torn to tatters by now. Yet it remains. Please, someone burn it already.

      1. libertarianism is just selfishness

        You can thank Ayn Rand for that.

        1. Yes. Is Ayn Rand our Rev, Sharpton or Pat Robertson?

          1. Both – she’d never settle for less than that.

        2. Oh please. Like they’d argue in good faith if only not for Rand.

    2. the belief that everyone should have the ability to do whatever they want

      They always leave off the second half of the phrase. Always.

    3. “The rejection of all rules and regulations….”

      Strawman #1

      “The belief that everyone should have the ability to do whatever they want…”

      Strawman #2

      “The most powerful sector of the society is corporate America…”

      How many carrier battle groups does Wal-Mart have?

      Go home, Salon. You’re drunk.

    4. By advocating for the removal of all social programs, libertarians are not rebelling, as much as they are reinforcing the prevailing ethos of “bootstrap” capitalism. The poor are responsible for their plight, and therefore deserve no sympathy or assistance.

      Willful ignorance or ingenuousness? Whenever I see an anti libertarian screed that conflates “social” with “government”, the correct reply is: “the fact that you cannot discern a difference between the two is evidence that libertarians are correct — government is much, much too big, and you are depending on it for correcting everything bad in life.”

    5. If any philosophy embodies ‘infantile na?vet?’ it’s the ‘free lunch’ rejection of personal responsibility and dignity held by liberals of Salon’s stripe

    6. The rejection of all rules and regulations, and the belief that everyone should have the ability to do whatever they want, is not rebellion or dissent.

      it’s also not libertarianism but, it’s Salon. No sense expecting good faith argument.

    7. I dont get the whole fear of corporations thing

      1. They see them as concentrated wealth, and if money is power, concentrated power.

        1. I see some of them that way, but only because the government has helped make them so.

          Remove governmental power, and presto! Problem solved!

          1. Of course corporations are state inventions themselves!

            People would pool resources any way, but without the government granting limited responsibility to this form if doing business they would not be nearly as large and popular.

      2. There is the crony capitalism aspect.

      3. Because you need an Enemy in order to rally people to your cause. The “Kruel Korporations” have fulfilled this role for the Progressive Left since the 1880s at least.

      4. It’s because they will enslave you by way of the company store.

    8. She really believes it, doesn’t she?

      Where do they get this shit? What actual honest-to-god libertarian is running around shouting this shit where she can hear it?

      Or is she just making it up? I could believe that. It IS Salon.

      1. No one had to be saying it, it’s what she wants to hear so she heard it regardless of what’s said.

    9. At first they ignored us, now they are fighting us. Progress.

    10. The most powerful sector of the society is corporate America,

      Nope, the most powerful sector is obviously the government that can use force without consequence.

      No corp killed Eric Garner. Thugs of the state did for no particular reason beyond, “hey we’re here and we’re bored”.

      and it profits and benefits most from the deregulatory and anti-tax measures libertarians champion.

      Also false, corps profit from the reduced competition created by regulations and state intervention. The last thing they want is dynamic competition.

      1. I believe more money flows into govt coffers per gallon of gasoline sold than into those of Exxon/Mobil, Shell, or BP.

    11. I slogged through that piece of garbage. It’s so bad, it’s not even wrong.

    12. By advocating for the removal of all social programs

      Because, as we all know, “social programs” are good by default, and they can only be run by the largest possible government. No non-government equivalents can possibly exist. Thus, any lack of support for “social programs” means you hate the poor and want them to die. You hater.

  15. Ye Parliament of England,
    Ye Lords and Commons too,
    Consider well what you’re about,
    What you’re about to do.
    For you’re to war with Yankees,
    And I’m sure you’ll rue the day
    You roused the Sons of Liberty
    In North America!

    You first confined our commerce,
    And said our ships shan’t trade,
    You next impressed our seamen,
    And used them as your slaves,
    You then insulted Rodgers,
    While plying o’er the main,
    And had we not declared war,
    You’d have done it o’er again.

    There’s Rodgers, in the President,
    Will burn, sink, and destroy,
    The Congress, on the Brazil coast,
    Your commerce will annoy;
    The Essex, in the South Seas,
    Will put out all your lights;
    The flag she waves at her mast-head –
    Free Trade and Sailor’s Rights!

    1. Before he wrote the Star Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key tried his hand at another anti-British song

      “We Ready to Declare War” –


        1. Tea!

          Dum de dum dum!


          Dum de dum dum!

          *heavy metal guitar riff*


          1. Isn’t that a Beatnik song?

  16. All wars help the state consolidate power.

    Not being in a war helps the state consolidate power.

    Actually, rather than going on a rant about how everything everywhere helps the state consolidate power, I’ll just list things that don’t help accomplish that goal.

    1) Cake

    End of list.

    1. 2) socialist libertarians

  17. I just want to say = the greasemonkey script whatshisname wrote is golden joy…

    and I totally already made a similar point about 1812, like at least twice before. but more about re: incompatibility of neutrality and free trade, and why his nonterventionisms theory has never survived in the light of day. Sheldon be bitin’ my rhymes.

    Also: this is a far more interesting commentary on the war of 1812

    1. The war of 1812




      666 is the number of the beast

      The beast is American Interventionism

      America is Satan

      1. Illuminati confirmed.

      2. 12 / 2 = 6
        3 * 4 = 6
        1+2+3 = 6

      3. In the 1980s some suggested Reagan was the anti-christ because Ronald Wilson Regan was three words each with six letters.

    2. Thanks for the plug..

      Note that I got an script install procedure that works better. The readme comes up when you go to the git homepage: https://github.com/sthgrau/greasonable

      1. I confess = installing it properly was a bit of ‘experimentation’ until it started working right.

        FYI – the only thing odd i notice is that it highlights some posts/threads with an orange box. It does hide all the things in the exclude list…. but the random orange box i can’t quite figure out the ‘why’ of it. On this page, the commenter “Trigger Warning” is the only one ‘boxed’. In the DHS thread, it was like a half dozen people.

        1. ahhh.

          the orange box are the ‘newest posts?’ every time i refresh?

          “self-explanatory”, meet “Gilmore”

  18. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do,

  19. I see no difference between a Sheldon Richman article and Adam Lanza.

  20. Stepping outside of the narrow American frame of reference, the War of 1812 may be viewed as a sure thing that turned out not to be so.

    In June 1812, when the US declared war on Great Britain, Napoleon’s 600,000 strong Grand Arme? invaded Russia. Against all odds, Tsar Alexander I formed the 6th Coalition that included GB, Prussia, both exhausted by a decade of war against Napoleon, and won. Alexander not only won, he won big. He chased Napoleon from Moscow to Leipzig and then to Paris. The Russian Imperial Guard led the victory parade down the Champs-?lys?es and sent Napoleon to Elba.

    1. and sent Napoleon to Elba.

      Where he met with a young first mate of a trading ship, sent him home with a letter to a co-conspirator, and started an adventure that would see the young man imprisoned, escape, discover a wealth of treasure, and proceed to exact revenge for his incarceration.

      Or so the television said, anyway.

    2. …”He chased Napoleon from Moscow to Leipzig and then to Paris. The Russian Imperial Guard led the victory parade down the Champs-?lys?es and sent Napoleon to Elba.”

      Yes, but then when he finishes his jedi training he returns to fight the russians with the aid of the Ewoks.

      1. No-no-NO!!! Napoleon was sent to Siberia where he licked his wounds from his bad battle strategies as was revealed at Gallipoli. Then the Power Rangers entrusted him with the Ring that Shall Rule All Rings, But Must be Worn Only Fleetingly, in Utter Emergencies Only, Lest it’s Power Steal yer Soul (and Needs to be Thrown into the Volcano, along with MANY-MANY Virgins, Possimibly 79 of them). He furtively carried The Ring into the land of the Telle-Tubbies, whose Satanic Purple Powers seduced him into gayness, which in turn attracted hurricanes to destroy Gayland-Disneyland of the Floridiacs. Floridiacs in turn turned into flourinated drinking water, which polluted my mixed drink made of pure grain alcohol and rainwater only. This released the dreaded C-O-2 molecule, which will destroy us all, unless Al Gore saves the day! Git it STRAIGHT, Government Almighty DAMMIT!!!!

        1. Well……Gore IS a tenth level vice president after all.

    3. Don’t you mean St. Helena?

      1. Nope, Napoleon was first exiled to Elba, then after he returned to France they exiled him to St. Helena (a lot more difficult to return to France from an Atlantic island off the coast of Africa than an island off the coast of Italy).

  21. Part 2 had better have some convincing material to show the country’s governance was less liberal in 1820 than in 1810, Sheldon. I don’t see it, & I doubt it, and some of Part 1 contradicts it. A general embargo less liberal than a war? “Advocates of smaller, decentralized government (Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, among others) rallied in the decades before the Civil War…”? That makes it look like the post-War of 1812 era was more liberal.

    Living Constitution? That probably started w the La. Purchase.

  22. Oh, yes, much better to have lost the war, right?

  23. “War is the health of the state”. Amen!

    That’s why we had the war on poverty.
    And the war on drugs.
    And the war on driving while drunk.
    And the war on having sex while drunk.
    And the war on extra-large sugary drinks.
    And the war on not enough fruits and veggies in your diet.
    And the war on un-prescribed-for-you “lung flutes” (AKA “medical devices”).
    And the war on un-prescribed-for-you toothbrushes (AKA “dental devices”)..
    And the war on globabble warmererering.
    And the war on taxes-too-low tobacco.
    And the war on hurting my baby feelings.
    And the war on inequality.
    And the war on driving while black.
    And the war on dissin’ the police.
    And the war on illegal humans.
    And the war on being ignorant and not properly educated by the State.
    And the war on questioning my authoritah.
    And the war on ? .

    Methinks we may need to consider a war on stooooopid wars, Government Almighty Dammit!!!!

    1. Scienfoology Song? GAWD = Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers

      Government loves me, This I know,
      For the Government tells me so,
      Little ones to GAWD belong,
      We are weak, but GAWD is strong!
      Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
      Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
      Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
      My Nannies tell me so!

      GAWD does love me, yes indeed,
      Keeps me safe, and gives me feed,
      Shelters me from bad drugs and weed,
      And gives me all that I might need!
      Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
      Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
      Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
      My Nannies tell me so!

      DEA, CIA, KGB,
      Our protectors, they will be,
      FBI, TSA, and FDA,
      With us, astride us, in every way!
      Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
      Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
      Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
      My Nannies tell me so!

  24. An awful lot of this story just doesn’t ring true, or at least needs to be backed up.

    For one thing, the US did not maintain a standing army between 1783 and 1812, or between 1815 and 1846. What wars we fought during those periods were either fought by the Navy and Marines (Tripoli, and the “Phony War” with France) or by local militia (the various Indian wars).

    For another, both the Northwest Ordinance and the Louisiana Purchase predated 1812. Indeed, the founding generation’s desire to expand westward (and their frustration with the Proclamation of 1763, an understandable effort by Britain to avoid the need to fight the French and Indian War a second time) was certainly the top reason for the war of independence. Saying it was about the tea tax is like asserting that the Civil War was about tariffs. I just don’t buy it.

    And third, how on earth could we have been “the world’s most commercialized society” before 1812? I have never heard this assertion and common sense runs against it. We were not a rich country then.

    1. Richman has a nasty habit of plucking pieces of historical trivia away from any context of what happened before or after, interpreting them in highly unorthodox ways, and shoehorning them into some completely revisionist, ahistorical narrative in service of a usually barely-related argument framed through the lens of modernity. History begins and ends wherever his argument needs it to. Makes it easy to reduce complex situations and competing interests into very simple and linearly causal structures with bright white and dark black good guys and bad guys.

      1. Yup. He’s a revisionist…which is why his historical stuff isn’t much better than his other columns.

      2. Yeah, progressives like him love to do that. So does Oliver Stone. It’s the equivalent of a monkey flinging it’s poo around.

        Though i am unclear as to why Nick pays him for it repeatedly.

    2. Forget it, he’s rolling.

  25. I can’t say I read either of those books by Wood (although ‘Empire of Liberty’ is on my to read list), but I have read ‘What Hath God Wrought” by Daniel Walker Howe. This book covers the period of US history from the War of 1812 through the end of the Mexican War. A major theme of Howe’s book was how the federal government took on an ever increasing role in people’s lives during this period.

    Andrew Jackson did wage a war against the Bank and paid off the debt, he was also a strong advocate for federal authority over the states (the Nullification Crisis) and he believed that the federal government should play a central role in promoting American patriotism (Manifest Destiny). During his career in the army Jackson lead an authorized military campaign to take Florida for the United States. His Maysville Road veto notwithstanding, the Jackson years occurred during a massive expansion of federal spending on infrastructure, or as they called it “internal improvements”. As Howe wrote:

    “[The graph] indicates a flurry of activity right after the War of 1812, then a market increase during John Quincy Adam’s administration, which soared even higher during the administrations of Jackson and Van Buren until the Panic of 1837 curtailed government revenues and consequently expenses.” The graph in question shows that federal spending on such items increased from about $250,000 in 1822 to more than $2.5 million by 1837.


      How makes a convincing case that the dominating theme of this era was intense nationalism promoted by the federal government. Even Andrew Jackson played a pivotal role in bringing this about.

  26. The war for independence from Britain began as a call by moderate men for, you guessed it, greater independence from Britain, which, they wrongly accused the king of preventing, they thought, to the detriment of a more prosperous empire. Stymied, many left, and the rest attempted to harness mob and settlers to the task, in the face of much merchant resistance. The defeat of Cornwallis in no way settled things, but Britain became convinced that they didn’t need to impose their will on us militarily. The Constitution was proof of their success. The Napoleonic Wars, however, deepened old wounds, and not only almost severed North and South, but also created two antithetical parties, which remain essentially the same, the one mercantilist, yet individualist, and the other free trade, yet authoritarian. Foucault wrote on this in a French context. While it is argued the War of 1812, even the Civil War, was the true revolution, I hardly think so. BTW, it was long ago shown that Jackson’s admin actually increased consolidation.

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