RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Cole writes: "Thoreau was saying that in times of an unjust law and an unjust war, honorable persons will likely be in jail."

Henry David Thoreau. (illustration: unknown)
Henry David Thoreau. (illustration: unknown)

Should Memorial Day Include Commemoration of Thoreau?

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

27 May 13


emorial Day began as a commemoration for the dead in the US Civil War, and especially for the Northern dead. Southern states for the most part had their own days of mourning for Confederate dead (some still do). Only after World War I when the day was repurposed as a commemoration of the soldiers killed in all American wars was it gradually adopted by all the states; ultimately it became the subject of Federal legislation.

In its original incarnation as a product of the Civil War, Memorial Day was divisive and triumphalist, a Northern institution. If it were more widely remembered that the day began with this focus, we might be less enthusiastic about it today. After all, we have mixed feeling about having fallen into civil war in the first place. Perhaps repurposing is central to our commemorations today.

Progressives have long been uncomfortable with the idea of a day dedicated to soldiers killed in the nation's wars. Conflicts like James K. Polk's Mexican War, William McKinley's Spanish-American War, Teddy Roosevelt's Philippines War, Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam War, and George W. Bush's Iraq War were wars of aggression, seeking territory or resources or both. No one would want to exalt these seedy episodes in American history, however much we regret the soldiers' lives expended.

Polk imposed a poll tax to pay for his Mexican War, which Henry David Thoreau declined to pay. He had authored, the first year of the war (1846), a work he entitled "Civil Disobedience," staking out the right of individuals to decline to obey unjust laws. Thoreau went to jail for a night over the stance he took on the poll tax, until someone paid his bail. There is an anecdote that his friend, the essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, came to see him in jail. Emerson exclaimed, "What are you doing in there?" Thoreau replied, "Waldo, the question is what you are doing out there?"

Thoreau was saying that in times of an unjust law and an unjust war, honorable persons will likely be in jail.

Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" went on to influence Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King (which is how we got the Civil Rights movement and an end to Jim Crow segregation.)

While the American soldiers who have died in the nation's wars deserve to be memorialized, not all the wars they fought in do. A wise nation would barbecue with a sense of unease today, a sense of regret at all the unnecessary and merely greedy wars the nation has fought.

Memorial Day, it seems to me, should also honor the Thoreaus, the conscientious objectors, the anti-war protesters, who attempted to forestall or shorten the more unjust or immoral of these wars. It isn't only the fallen soldiers who served the nation, but also those who worked to ensure that no soldiers fell in unjust wars, in wars that after the UN Charter was passed in 1945, would be designated as "illegal." your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+34 # tedrey 2013-05-27 11:46
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"

He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water

e e cummings
+6 # MidwestDick 2013-05-27 13:58
Entire text, read by the poet:
+1 # Doubter 2013-05-29 17:00
Yeah, what started me thinking was a training Lt. (WWII) admonishing:
"Don't think, react."
I'll admit it was good advice for the particular situation (incoming shells) but nevertheless the idea stimulated my thinking.
+27 # Billy Bob 2013-05-27 11:55
+22 # capnDave 2013-05-27 12:08
"America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy".
- John Quincy Adams
+27 # tomo 2013-05-27 12:23
This is a marvelous Memorial Day reflection. May it echo all through this land today.
+19 # tenayaca 2013-05-27 12:45
Beautifully written. And thank you, Tedrey, also.
+26 # Activista 2013-05-27 12:49
More I read and contemplate Thoreau - more I admire this great American.
His understanding of nature and human bond to the nature, non-materialism , nonsense of wars.. staking out the right of individuals to decline to obey unjust laws ... would add also stupid laws .. walking bouncing 3 month old happy puppy on the river trail and "citizen" screams at me ... the dog has to by on the leash .. it is a LAW (there is $100 fine for breaking this law in our little town ...).
We need to bet courage and start to fight these stupidities ... the state totality is getting worse and worse.
+33 # Terrapin 2013-05-27 13:14
Thank You for aknowledging conscientious objectors and the anti-war veterans.
I am on perpetual "tour of duty" for a nation that has turned industrial warfare into a demonic perpetual artform.
+29 # Archie1954 2013-05-27 13:22
Prescient wasn't he and he didn't even suspect the Bradley Manning would prove him right so many years in the future?
-59 # JackB 2013-05-27 17:25
Manning is a traitor to his country. An seriously stupid one to be sure, but a traitor nonetheless. No amount of spin & BS changes that.
+24 # cwbystache 2013-05-27 19:05
What country are you referring to? The one that's a victim of the Invasion of the Nation Snatchers?
+44 # Billy Bob 2013-05-27 19:14
Manning is an embarrassment to a country that wants to project an image that doesn't match the reality of the countries it conquers for private profit.

Manning is a voice of conscience and is being punished by a government that is unable to look in the mirror.

I have a question for you? Do you think a person is a traitor, if they out a C.I.A. agent, putting their life in danger, and risking U.S. national interests, all because of a political vendetta?

If so, why haven't you called for Dick Cheney and George Bush Jr. to be put in prison for treason?


It's called "S.O.S"

(Selective Outrage Syndrome)
+12 # Billy Bob 2013-05-27 22:01
Jack B?

I noticed you took the time to comment again, but you still didn't bother to answer my question of whether or not Bush and Cheney should be in jail and subjected to stress positions and waterboarding.

Care to comment?
+18 # Jack Gibson 2013-05-27 13:44
So right, Juan Cole; except for the part about memorializing the troops. If those troops were involved in illegal wars of aggression, which they had a duty to be knowledgeable of the fact that all such wars are completely wrong and illegal, and to have no part in supporting and murdering in them, then they should not be memorialized at all if they willingly took part in those illegal wars, whether those troops were ignorant of such wars' immorality or not. There is no excusing them because they didn't educate themselves about what are wars of aggression and what are wars of true self-defense. "'Heinrich' Kissinger", the "Fourth Reich" warmonger and war criminal, who has sent tens of thousands of U.S. troops to their deaths, and caused the deaths of millions of innocent civilians, in U.S. wars of aggression, said that U.S. military personnel are "dumb, stupid animals", because they blindly and willingly fight corporate-fasci sm's wars of aggression; and, thus, on that one point he is right. There is no excuse for letting oneself be a pawn in the mass-murder that are the U.S.'s wars of aggression. If the people didn't allow themselves to be dumbed-down, refuse to wake up to what's really going on and what's really behind all of the U.S.'s aggressive warfare, and thus allow themselves to willfully accept the mass-murder, they would stand up against ALL OF IT, as Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Mohandus Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others did, and still do.
+2 # tomo 2013-05-29 19:59
I like your passion, Jack. But I really think life is quite complicated. Strange as it seems, one can morally serve an unjust cause. Morality is anchored in consistency of action with judgment. You do what you think best. Justice is anchored in the reality of rights. Rights are real; and one who violates them acts unjustly. But the one doing the violating may be acting in accord with his or her best judgment.

I have known up close at least two people who went to Viet Nam out of the conviction they were crossing the Pacific to protect fellow human beings (Vietnamese) from being dominated by an evil dictator. It was only after being there a year or more that they concluded they were actually impeding an act of self-determinat ion, they were violating the right of the Vietnamese to choose their own leader. The bitterness they felt toward themselves was strong. What impressed me was that, unjust as the war was, they had acted morally in joining it.

We always act out of an imperfectly informed judgment. The decision not to act is itself an act; and it too is taken out of an imperfectly informed judgment. There is a certain inevitability that some of our acts--most perhaps--will involve some violation of the rights of others (including, if you will allow it, the rights of those yet unborn).
+24 # JSRaleigh 2013-05-27 14:42
I'm not comfortable assigning all of the blame for Vietnam to Johnson. It seems to me less of a war Johnson wanted than a war Johnson couldn't figure out how to get rid of.

The war in Vietnam stretched all the way from Eisenhower to Nixon.

And part of the reason we have today's wars is that Nixon rightly reasoned that Americans didn't oppose the Vietnam war so much as they opposed being drafted to fight in it; that an "all volunteer" military could be used anyway the administration wanted to use it and no one would really care except for the tiny minority of family members they leave behind.
+44 # PABLO DIABLO 2013-05-27 14:49
Obama won't stop the "military/indus try" complex. They have him by the balls. If we stopped killing people, we wouldn't have any enemies and we couldn't justify the enormous, wasteful spending on the military. Cheney sure got rich on the last one. Vote the leeches out of congress, repeal "Citizens United", boycott the corporations that are killing us, and finally, "dismantle the CIA and cast it to the four winds" (John Kennedy quote three weeks before he was killed). Take back our Government.
+15 # Activista 2013-05-27 17:14
And stop to buy crap and cars ... live like Henry David Thoreau - in harmony with nature ... there is so much to learn and see there.
+17 # bonnettoboot 2013-05-27 16:40
I support Pablo's comments but onfortunatly we have become to timid to do anything about our government. I take isue with the comments by Jack Gibson, most soldiers are young and uneducated, ( I was one) we were naive enough to think that our Country would always do the correct thing and our blood surged after singing the National anthem. The Politicians clearly new better they deserve to be castigated. As for memorial day, a holiday for most while we still have tens of thousands of troops all over the world fighting enemies of which they know nothing, A tragedy for the World.
+8 # Polar Bear 2013-05-27 16:58
I heard Howard Zinn say there never has been a necessary War...starting with the War of Independence... that Canada broke away from England...WWI was about trade and WWII was started by WWI...All about stealing Nat resources/wealt h...Thanks for the article
+10 # Billy Bob 2013-05-27 19:28
I don't think America could have stayed out of WWII no matter what Howard Zinn says. I think, from the American perspective, WWII was about self-preservati on. WWII was a rare war in that respect. In most wars there are no good guys - just bad guys and innocent victims.
+3 # 666 2013-05-30 19:55
yes, but the US played a large role before getting involved, not only selling arms to hitler (thanks to the bush fam), but also provoking japan by stationing b17 bombers in striking range
-47 # JackB 2013-05-27 17:22
Memorial Day is a day to remember those who died in service to their country. It's not a damn male, female, white, black, blue, green, red, yellow or brown day. It's about America's war dead.

This scumbag is trying to piggyback his personal liberal hangups on the backs of those dead - dead who should be honored not forced to become a party to dumb-ass liberal BS.

If Cole & the rest of you want a holiday to memorialize Thoreau & others go start one. I very much doubt you'll have to deal with crowds.

I bet that if you peel away he righteous BS you'll find every man & woman on this board - Cole included - is happy as hell living the good life those dead bought & paid for.
+22 # curmudgeon 2013-05-27 19:00
You obviously have not read 'Civil Disobedience' ....If you had, you may have had a different take on the article.

What you will find underneath a layer of helplessness is an unhappy realization of guilt at the illegal actions we have condoned by default and lack of opposition to them.
-28 # JackB 2013-05-27 20:20
The "obvious" in play here is not whether I have read "Civil Disobedience" (which I have) but rather whether you have a damn clue as to what Memorial Day is about.

It has nothing to do with Thoreau or Civil Disobedience or any of the other of these pseudo righteous attempts to use what should be a day of honor & gratitude to the military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.k
+30 # Billy Bob 2013-05-27 19:26
What good has been bought and paid for in Iraq? How about Vietnam? What about the good that was bought by bombing the shit out of Cambodia? What about the good of proping up ruthless dictators throughout the world with American cash and American troops to further enrich the pockets of global billionaires who don't give a damn about American interests? What good has been bought by the fact that our military has become nothing more than a well-oiled machine whose sole purpose appears to be the aqcuisition of material resources from the 3rd world, while even enriching the pockets of people whose entire business is the perpetuation of war for its own profit?

It's time for you to spare us all the self-righteous lecture about "patriotism" and ask yourself how much you really care about the voices of VETERANS who are tired of being used like cogs in a machine meant to turn billionaires into trillionaires.

I bet if you peel away the self-righteous bullshit, we'd all see that you don't give a shit about the REAL veterans (not cartoonish fantasy veterans) who are tired of dying for causes that have NOTHING to do with our national interests, and that in many ways, run absolutely contrary.

If you really give a shit about veterans, go to a VETERANS FOR PEACE meeting and hear what they have to say about all your phony jingoistic bullshit.

Until you do, spare us the phony "patriotism", and don't lecture us about who is a "scumbag".
-25 # JackB 2013-05-27 20:32
Memorial Day is about those military personnel who died for this country. It is obvious that concept is either too deep for this board or, more likely, this board doesn't give a rat's ass for those who died.

Within the context of Memorial Day your first paragraph is zib-zab. If you want to pontificate on that topic start a thread.

I spent 13 months in Nam & didn't see you over there so spare me the bullshit about veterans.

It is not phony patriotism. I am neither ashamed nor apologetic about insisting that a day set aside to honor our war dead should not be used in an attempt to further a bullshit liberal agenda.
+15 # Billy Bob 2013-05-27 21:52
I was 3 when the Vietnam War was over. You'll have to take that up with my parents.

However, you DID see my brother there. You also saw my uncle there (he was a major). You would have seen my dad in WWII (in EVERY battle of the European theater) if you were old enough. You'd have also seen 4 of my other uncles and 2 aunts.

No one said you should be ashamed about the existence of Memorial Day. Of course, you know that. Rather than arguing about facts, you feel the need to resort to jingoistic bullshit to cover the fact that you have essentially no argument to make. It's obvious that that truth is either too deep for you or, more likely, you don't give a rat's ass about the truth and the fact that veterans have died because people like you have chosen to avoid it.

I'm sorry that you can't come to terms with the fact that you were sent to Vietnam for nothing. Tell me, what did our country gain from that debacle - besides a broken generation (including people your age who obviously still are not able to deal with the reality of it)?

We can BOTH honor the dead, AND make sure we confront the lies and bullshit that killed them. How can we "honor" the dead while glossing over it?

Don't give us a lecture about "pontificating" when it's pretty obvious you've bought into the propaganda and feel it's our duty as Americans to do the bidding of the oil industry. If you want to pontificate on that, "start a thread".
-14 # JackB 2013-05-28 10:03
I respect your relatives service & sacrifice. I was not addressing them. They are not the ones trying to piggyback their BS on top of the reason Memorial Day exists.

You don't have a damn clue as to my feelings & opinions regarding Vietnam & you are just making a fool of yourself claiming to know something you cannot possibly know.

Honor the dead & confront the lies & BS that killed them. You are obviously using a computer to post. You probably have a home & a car or two & other benefits of the standard of living this country provides. What lies & BS killed the servicemen who died to provide & maintain that standard of living?

There are 364 other days to peddle your BS. Why can't those who made the ultimate sacrifice have a day to themselves? Why do you begrudge them that? Are you so conceited you really believe your ranting trumps their sacrifice or is even on a par with it?
+8 # Billy Bob 2013-05-28 11:30
But you don't know my relatives. I DO AND THEY AGREE WITH ME. So NO, you DON'T respect them or anything they stand for. YOU are the one trying to piggyback your own political agenda onto a national holiday to see if it gets more traction.

Once again, what good was achieved in Vietnam or Cambodia or Laos, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Nicaragua, El Salvador, Peru, or Indonesia for that matter because of U.S. military and CIA intervention?


You have all 365 days a year to peddle your bullshit and I plan to call you out on it 365 days a year.
-12 # JackB 2013-05-28 22:57
You are taking stupidity to a new level. No, I don't know your relatives. However they put on the uniform & served in defense of their country. Whether they actually saw combat is irrelevant. They served & I respect them for that. As to their opinions - they are what they are & they are entitled to them.

I know I'm going over your head again but let me try one last time to simplify this. What is Memorial Day about? If you look at a calendar you will see the last Monday in May is called Memorial Day. If you then take that information & Google it & look at the Wikipedia entry you will see the definition of Memorial Day in the second sentence. It doesn't seem to be complex but you have been having comprehension issues with it. You may notice that at no point does it say the day is also set aside to further personal agendas.

When did I begrudge a veteran anything?

You seem to want to identify with veterans but aren't one yourself. Perhaps like Cheney you were too busy or are you living vicariously through your relatives?
+5 # Billy Bob 2013-05-29 15:41
They saw combat and they were disgusted by the types of people who glorify it. You don't respect them because you don't respect their values or their right to express them. PERIOD.

You're not going over anyone's head, but you are out of your depth here.

I learned from my relatives who were drafted what bullshit has happened to this country because of the military. Why would I want to make matters worse by participating in it.

You seem to want to identify yourself as an American even though you hate the values this country stands for. Perhaps, like McCarthy you're too busy padding your own ego to bother to recognize when your attitudes are nothing but a fantasy to impose fascism?
+8 # Billy Bob 2013-05-28 11:40

You have ABSOLUTELY NO RESPECT for veterans who disagree with your political agenda and your whitewashing of reality.

Have you been to a Veterans for Peace meeting?

YOU are the one making a fool of yourself if you claim you speak for them!
-13 # JackB 2013-05-28 23:12
You are one dim bulb. Look at my posts. Not one says ONE DAMN THING about respecting the rights of veterans. Read them.

When did I ever disrespect a veteran in any way? You are a damn liar & I would be willing to say that to your face.

I said Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor our war dead & that is all it is. It is not a day set aside for your liberal bullshit. Don't believe me - look it up.

No I haven't been to a Veteran's For Peace meeting. Have you? You are not a veteran - is this a Stolen Valor thing? You can give your BS rant but you can't talk the veteran talk.

I do not speak for veterans. Never have. You try to but you don't have the credentials.
+3 # Billy Bob 2013-05-29 15:45
You disrespect the right to anyone to protest what our military has been involved in - THIS INCLUDES ANGRY VETERANS.

If you want to honor the dead, why not try to prevent the lies they died for from being perpetuated? Instead of insulting my intelligence, maybe you should try to comprehend what I'm saying.

I HAVE been to a Veterans for Peace meeting. Anybody can go. There is nothing "valorous" about hiding from the truth. Maybe you'd be happier in a military dictatorship.

Thank you for admitting that you cannot speak for veterans. Now maybe you can stop insulting everyone who disagrees with you, or maybe you can move to another country where your opinion will be the only one allowed, under penalty of death.
+4 # Billy Bob 2013-05-28 23:37
Actually, you can talk to plenty of other vets who are regular commenters on these threads and disagree with you.

Try NavyVet, or bingers, to start. See how much they think Memorial Day is another special day researved to stifle Freedom of Speech so liberals will be too intimidated to bitch about needless, perpetual war for private profit, for fear of upsetting vets who may be proud of the fact that their sacrifices were necessary to maintain Exxon's profit margin.
-9 # JackB 2013-05-29 12:43
This is really fascinating. You are really honest to God clueless.

I am aware there are other vets who post here. I have both agreed & disagreed with them depending on the subject being discussed & the position they held. Quite frankly I think some, possibly all, of them agree with your overall sentiments but it makes no difference.

This day is not about my view of it (or that of any other veteran). It sure as hell is not about your nonsensical ranting. It is about honoring & being grateful to our war dead for the sacrifice they made on our behalf.

Just because the idea exceeds your ability to understand does not make it untrue.
+4 # Billy Bob 2013-05-29 15:48
Why is it that you can't make an argument without resorting to ad hominem insults?

Your attitude that it "makes no difference" what vets think, makes a pretty big mockery of your attempts to shame me for not joining up after all the joy and good values I saw first hand with my brother as a result of Vietnam.

Just because an idea exceeds your ability to understand does not make it untrue.
+8 # Billy Bob 2013-05-27 21:56
I find it very difficult to believe you read it, when you don't seem to read articles or comments before launching into self-aggrandizi ng tirades.
+21 # Jack Gibson 2013-05-27 19:31
Of course you won't understand what this means, but Memorial Day is a day for brainwashed nationalists, and/or false patriots, to memorialize mass-murderers in the globalist, corporate-fasci st massive war "game" for obscene profits at the expense of millions of innocent lives, including the lives of Americans. The corporate-fasci st globalists are using U.S. military people for that; so, it is not only for the memorialization of people who lost their lives for a lie, false pretenses and mass-murder, it is also for the memorialization of the globalist, corporate-fasci st string-pullers out front, as well as those behind the scenes, who are manipulating all of this for evil, for the purposes of evil, for their worship of death, and for their greed at the expense of all of humankind. We must not (continue to) fall for this and help them glorify these crimes against humanity and the earth. Rather, we must all stand up against this perfidy and destruction of all that is decent, pure and true, and against all of the mass-death for hubris, hegemony and profit at the expense of everyone but the few who's evil greed causes them to use and mass-murder people only for their gain. As Henry Kissinger and others like him, in rare displays of honesty, have shown, they don't care about any of humankind except themselves, and they would sacrifice most of the planet for their evil arrogance and greed. So, please don't (continue to) fall for their distractions and glorification of mass-murder.
-18 # JackB 2013-05-27 23:38
My, my. What's Wrong With America, subtitled Dumb-Ass Pontificating by Jack Gibson & told in about 200 words.

If this is what you think Memorial Day means you don't bring much to the table.

For whatever stupid, selfish reasons the people on this board refuse to accept the fact they owe a major debt of gratitude to those who died for this country.
+7 # Billy Bob 2013-05-28 11:33
For whatever reason you actually think we believe your SO STUPID that you don't understand thanking someone for their service AND APOLOGIZING TO THEM FOR THE LIES THAT MADE IT NECESSARY are the same thing!

If, as you say, we shouldn't blame the soldier for the war, then we also shouldn't glorify the lies which made their sacrifice necessary.
-6 # JackB 2013-05-29 12:53
The first paragraph is too stupid to rate a comment.

Yes, I believe the soldier should not be blamed for the war.

Throughout this entire thread my position was (& is) that Memorial Day is about honoring & showing gratitude to our war dead for the sacrifices they made on our behalf. That is it. That is my argument. That is all it has been.
+5 # Billy Bob 2013-05-29 15:52
Then you should be happy with people who'd like to honor them by following their wishes. Many veterans are sick of ticker-tape and phony "thank yous" and would rather see some substance. Substance would be challenging and changing the political policies that killed them and millions of innocent people abroad.

"Honoring" them while disrespecting their wishes is no "honor". It's an insult.
+6 # Billy Bob 2013-05-28 11:37
By the way Jack, I'm still waiting for your reply to my comment above. You seem to have plenty of time and energy to continue commenting, so you really have no excuse.

Your chief argument is that only conservatives love their country and liberals have no experience making sacrifices for it.

In that light, what is your comment about the OBVIOUS TREASON committed by bush and cheney? Should they be waterboarded?

If not, WHY NOT?

You're suffering from a terrible case of S.O.S. (Selective Outrage Syndrome).
-8 # JackB 2013-05-29 13:08
Ah, yes. The old liberal conceit - if you don't have anything true to say just make it up as you go along. No? Then where did I say that only conservatives love their country & liberals have no experience making sacrifices for it?

As a liberal you probably consider your statement to be brilliant creative writing. I call it lying.

The topic of discussion here is Memorial Day. If you want to start a rant on Bush & Cheney by all means start one - in a different thread.
+4 # Billy Bob 2013-05-29 15:55
Ah, yes. The old conservative conceit - if you pretend the past never happened you can hope no one will call you out on your own words.

YOUR WORDS: "This scumbag is trying to piggyback his personal liberal hangups on the backs of those dead - dead who should be honored not forced to become a party to dumb-ass liberal BS."

Are you too stupid to read YOUR OWN COMMENTS?
-8 # JackB 2013-05-29 22:39
YOUR WORDS: "This scumbag is trying to piggyback his personal liberal hangups on the backs of those dead - dead who should be honored not forced to become a party to dumb-ass liberal BS."

Yes, my words. I stand by them.

YOUR WORDS: "Your chief argument is that only conservatives love their country and liberals have no experience making sacrifices for it." I never said that. Never.

YOUR ACCUSATION was "Your chief argument is that only conservatives love their country and liberals have no experience making sacrifices for it." I am probably assuming too much but I would have thought you could see the difference here.
+14 # curmudgeon 2013-05-27 18:55
What a reminder!

I had forgotten about Thoreau until this.
I plan to re-read "Civil Disobedience" ASAP.

Any suggestions on how to start a campaign for reading it?

Maybe we can fill up all the Halliburton constructed "illegal Alien .Concentration Camps" now awaiting inmates in all 50 states. :-)
+13 # treadlightly 2013-05-27 22:00
Another writer who saw with his own eyes the destructiveness of imperialism was Rudyard Kipling. He could be an elitist snob at times but in his heart he sympathized with the natives who suffered mightily under the English.
I have little patience for people who refuse to examine the record for themselves and simply believe whatever they hear.
I do think honoring all the Anti War writers and supporters is an excellent idea.
+7 # Billy Bob 2013-05-28 14:59
RSN, I wrote new comments about 6 hours ago. I still don't see two of them, but one has been displayed for a few hours now. PLEASE TELL ME I didn't upset a moderator by taking on JackB.
+2 # JohnBoanerges 2013-05-31 21:54
I took my time getting to read this even though I count HDT as an inspiration. I also look to Lysander Spooner which I recommend to the author. I completely disagree that cannon fodder deserve the slightest honor when they, indeed, never, once they acceded to carrying guns for the tyrants, displayed any. Cowards all and stupid. My heros are the non-violent civil disobedient ones who placed themselves at risk for anything "The Man" might choose to throw at them. OMG, the children in Selma, how brave, sad (how they were treated) and how effective. Martyrs attract followers because of the genuine courage they display. Jim Jones attracted followers, too, so that is NOT a measure of courage. The 918 who died in Jonestown are closer to state worshipers which are the ultimate in cowardice (like 'soldiers'). A pox on all who bow to paying taxes, voting, feeding the state in any way. As my friend Anne wrote, If you've been to jail for justice, then, you're a friend of mine.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.