Welcome to Liberrants, a blog dedicated to editorials, discussions, and studies of all things libertarian. Don't let the title mislead you; it's merely my attempt to be creative in describing myself as a "hopeful curmudgeon" who embraces the goal of the free, peaceful, economically vibrant society envisioned by America's founding fathers. Jump in! Contribute! Enjoy!

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Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States

A critically thinking curmudgeon whose goal, in addition to creatively venting about the imperfect world in which we live, is to induce critical thinking in others. The ultimate goal is to help bring about a peaceful world in which we can all live in freedom.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Little Vacation Reading

I hadn't intended to post anything while on this vacation (mostly for want of steady access to the Internet), but I've been browsing a copy of David McCullough's new book 1776, his history of the beginnings of the American Revolution that my father ordered some weeks ago and that came in the mail the day after my arrival here in San Jose. Some of you may recognize McCullough as, among other things, the author of the Harry Truman biography that came out several years ago and as the narrator of Ken Burns' documentary series The Civil War. Whatever else you may think of McCullough's viewpoints on history or his politics, I've so far found 1776, at least my reading of the first one hundred or so pages of it, to contain some amazing parallels to (and lessons for) today's situation in Iraq. The descriptions McCullough cites by contemporaries, both British and American, of the early colonial army as a ragtag, undisciplined, poorly provisioned and poorly trained bunch of country bumpkins seem eerily similar to the derisive descriptions of the Iraqi "insurgents" causing so much havoc to American troops today. The attitude of the British Redcoats, particularly the officer class, is a carbon copy of the condescending arrogance mouthed by the "official" United States military that wishfully proclaims the rebellion to be in its "death throes", the rebellion's leadership "in desperation", and the rebels' caused to be futile and evil.

I've only skimmed forward through about half of 1776 beyond the first hundred pages that I've read, but it somehow feels eerily likely that the remnants of the U.S. military forces currently bogged down in Iraq will find themselves begging some third Arab or other regional Islamic country (Iran? Pakistan?) for guarantee of safe passage out of Iraq in much the same way that Lord Cornwallis descreetly begged the French for a guarantee of safe passage for the withdrawal of what remained of his Redcoat army from the Yorktown Peninsula.

I don't think McCullough even remotely envisioned or intended his work to serve as a libertarian historical allegory on just warfare or the morality and efficacy of Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW), but that may be what the astute reader will take away from it. At any rate, I just thought I'd let everyone know that even while I'm on vacation my tiny mind isn't completely idle (or any more so than normal in the eyes of my detractors). It's approaching 1:00 AM EDT (though only 10:00 PM PDT here), and since my body clock is still on East Coast time, I'm off to bed (prefaced be a little reading of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a Christmas gift seven years ago to my mother, who swore for years that she's wanted to read it but hasn't done so yet). I'll keep everyone posted on the continuing adventures as they unfold.

Cheers, and pleasant dreams!


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