I’m starting to see this one bumper sticker around town quite frequently, and perhaps you’ve seen it too.
It reads, “Except for ending slavery, fascism, Nazism and communism, war has never solved anything.”
The assumed connotation is that war has gotten a pretty bad, and unfair, reputation despite all the terrible evils it’s managed to eradicate. I beg to differ.
Is it a serious statement — maybe it’s satirical? Sadly it always seems to be coupled with “Marines rule, you drool” type stickers, so I’d be inclined to take it seriously.
Ask yourself, did war end slavery? Of course it did. But only the legal kind of slavery in America, as any third grader can tell you.
The Civil War was fought to end slavery — it’s true — but since then slavery has never been more prominent.
A study conducted by the University of Berkeley estimates that around 10,000 persons (mostly women and children) are “forced laborers” in the U.S.
According to the U.S. State Department, between 600,000 to 800,000 humans are smuggled across international borders annually for the purpose of being sold into prostitution or labor.
In fact, many sociologists claim that slavery is much more prevalent now that it ever was by the time the Civil War began in 1861.
Fascism and Nazism
Did war end fascism? On a very large scale it could be argued it did. But what’s also true is that the root cause of fascism was in fact World War I.
Though not necessarily true of Spain, fascism erupted in Germany due to the heavy reparations it suffered from the Treaty of Paris, which ended WWI. Maybe if Germany hadn’t been burdened with an enormous war debt, disparaged by war guilt and driven to extreme desperation, it wouldn’t have become the hotbed for the Nazi party to fester in. In a way, the Allies of WWI caused fascism.
Nazism and fascism — pretty much the same thing — have by no means ended though.
In the post WWII world, anti-Semitic, “National Socialist” fascist parties have sprung up in nearly every country — most especially the U.S.
The Nazis even exploited our First Amendment in 1977 during something called the Skokie Affair.
Under the freedom to assemble, the National Socialist Party of America — the neo-Nazis — planned to march through the heavily Jewish suburb of Skokie, Ill., which was home to many holocaust survivors as well as other ethnic minorities and outspoken homosexuals.
While the NSPA never rallied in Skokie, they did so in three other locations outside of Chicago a year later.
Cleary, war did not destroy Nazism.
With that, we sail the rocky shores of history books on over to communism.
Again, it was the direct result of WWI, a very brutal and horrific war. There are so many counterfactuals — “if’s” — that I feel I really shouldn’t write this, but if Russia had not been dragged into the war and if the Russian Tsar had rescinded his commitment to it, and if the fabric of Russian society had not been shredded by the war, then perhaps communism would never have surfaced there.
Although many wars were fought to end or contain communism — Vietnam being the most significant — more success was actually made by not fighting.
Russian/European communism imploded on itself due to the unbearable economic and social stress exerted by the West, but Chinese communism is still alive and kicking. In fact, America is pretty much “best friends forever” with China ever since they brokered some of our financial debt.
Enough with the history lesson; you probably get the point by now.
This irksome bumper sticker is an affront to reason and only brandished by the brainless warmonger.
If you ever feel the urge to support the Marines, or any military institution, with bold-worded adhesive statements, choose your message wisely — unless, of course, you’re aiming for that adorably patriotic, yet amusingly childish, method of endorsing propaganda.
Alex Stephens is a senior political science major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.