The Leviathan was a Biblical sea monster- see Job chapter 40- but it’s recent use has been to describe international capitalism and the governments which have been formed to serve it. Thomas Hobbes- popular in England just before the American Revolution wrote an influential book about it by the same name. It describes Imperial Britannia, something Hobbes thought was a good thing, alternative to “anarchy”. The Founders surely read it. I imagine it to be like a huge and hungry octopus- its tentacles reaching everywhere and grasping everything. I think the Founders felt the same way- they just had a revolution to break free of it.
When I was a child I wanted to be a frogman. I wasn’t afraid of sea monsters. I liked to dive, hunt, fish. I was an athlete with good vision and reflexes, and a good student. I liked to shoot guns, all kinds of guns- rifles, shotguns, pistols, cannons, air guns, spearguns- I thought it would be fun to fly a jet, shoot machine guns and rockets. My dad told bedtime stories about the Navy. My mother was a WAVE. I assumed I would go to college, join the Service – like my parents did. I’d get advanced education- I thought in medicine- via the GI bill, like they did.
But as I grew up I came to see another side. My dad didn’t like to hunt- he said he didn’t enjoy killing things. He was a pharmacist mate in the Pacific, became a psychologist. My mother gave up her dream job, doing historical research for the State department- to have me. Later she would tell me that she learned Pearl Harbor wasn’t exactly unanticipated. It was necessary to let that happen so we could join the war. We just underestimated how effective the Japanese would be. This Norman Rockwell image was used to sell War Bonds.
At some moment in every Libertarian’s life he comes to the realization he’s a Libertarian. The Vietnam War did it for me. The exact moment was when I learned from a friend on a surveillance ship ostensibly scanning the skies for incoming MIGs, were actually “thumping” the ocean floor looking for oil. There were no MIGs.
The American Libertarian Party was officially founded in 1972, but I was there five years by that. At my high school graduation in 1966 I gave an anti-war speech the local paper wouldn’t print. I got an award- the “JFK Award for the Protection of Minority Opinion.” At the time I felt it was a “gold star I didn’t deserve”. I’ve spent my lifetime trying to earn it.
In college I became a student protestor. The forces of greed and corruption which drove the war we called the “Military Industrial Complex”, a phrase coined by Ike Eisenhower who saw how the “war bucks” of WWII affected American governance- even after the war was over. The official explanations for the Vietnam War became increasingly unconvincing, as the “body counts” increased and Life Magazine brought the war into our living rooms.
At the same time a lot of other social and political changes were happening. The Civil Rights movement, Voting Rights movement, the Women’s Liberation movement, the Gay Rights movement , the drugs and the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, Affirmative Action, Jim Crow, Black Panthers, Black Muslims, Busing, The Pill, “Make Love not War”, PTSD… and the simultaneous emergence of excess of “Baby Boomer” high school and college graduates into a recession job market all joined together with the anti-war movement to create a period of social unrest… which sometimes turned into arson, riots, police brutality to suppress them- the social structure was breaking down and it threatened to get worse.
In 1970, upon graduation from college and receiving a “winning” number in the first draft lottery- the die was cast. I was going to be drafted and, forced to go halfway around the world to participate in the slaughter of a million innocent people, and maybe get killed doing something I knew in my heart
wasn’t right- or I wouldn’t.
No matter how much fun the military might be, I couldn’t justify having that fun at such a high cost. Unlike wealthier students, I had no money to pursue further education. Being white and male I was last in line for a scholarship. Med school was out of the question. At my pre-induction physical I told them, were I drafted I’d to organize resistance inside the army. They flunked me for a varicose vein I never knew I had. That was 1970, when I came to Montana. Fast forward a half century…
There were big social changes which happened at the same time which only became apparent in retrospect. The the institutions of education, marriage, church, family and respect for authority became degraded. There was a generation gap. American Society split between “progressives and conservatives”- those who sought a new and better idea and those who wanted to return to the old values and morays. Both had good intentions, but the “house divided” presented opportunity for others with less than good intentions.
The corruption once labeled “Military Industrial Complex” expanded to include a huge and international wealth and power structure more appropriately called “Leviathon” and government – all government-was corrupted to serve it- and became ONE with it.
War to control international markets, natural and human resources is part of their “Business model” and the US Army is used to further its ambitions. War is its ugliest manifestation, but It goes far beyond war. It reaches into every corner of everything. Food, water, energy, health care, taxation, education, family…And everyone who owns stock or has an IRA , works for the government…pays taxes…is complicit. That includes everyone. We’ve been had.
Those at the top of the pyramid have done very, very well for themselves. Those at the bottom, not so much. What used to be the little guy’s avenue to success- entrepreneurism, home ownership, small business, finding a niche in the economic system and growing wealth, seeing ones children get advanced education, progress, pride in family, love and respect for parents, family businesses, family farms. Now it’s all corporate, corrupt and the Leviathon keeps getting bigger, hungrier. Corporations and government are merging into bigger and bigger corporations, bigger and bigger government- using computers to probe into every corner of all our lives- looking for something to eat.
The remedy also comes from Job- Job 40.19. “He only that make him can make his sword to approach unto him.”
I see myself like Captain Nemo with his axe chopping the tentacles of the Giant Squid wrapped around his Nautilus- I want to organize millions of people around the world to sharpen their sword, join together and approach the Leviathan. Tame it- as in Job.40. 28- put it to the service of The People?
My dad used to say, “Sanity is seeing yourself as others see you.” Most of my friends see my project to be more like Quixote than Nemo- a waste of time, a tilting at windmills.