The Humble Libertarian

Building a small army to take over the world and... leave everybody alone.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Military Spending and Bastiat's "Unseen"

To listen to most Republican talking heads and their cohorts (and even some of the leftists), you would think military spending was a work of magic. How the three establishment GOP candidates for president can talk of cutting spending and in the same breath beat the drums for war, all with a straight face is baffling to me.

You will often hear self-styled conservatives say, "I support the free market and a strong national defense." But if by supporting a "strong national defense" they mean supporting a large and aggressive conventional military — as they almost invariably do — these two positions are mutually exclusive. A military establishment funded by taxation, inflation, and debt is just as destructive to the market economy as a welfare establishment funded by taxation, inflation, and debt. Every dollar spent on the military, just like every dollar spent on the Department of Health and Human Services, is a dollar not spent or invested in the civilian economy. Every person employed by the military or the firms that supply the military with equipment is a person not employed in the civilian economy. And since civilian employment and capital accumulation are the foundations of a prosperous capitalist economy, a conventional military can only exist at the expense of a fully functioning free-market capitalist system.

Read the rest here.

Drew Martin,
Blogger, THL