I participated in the May 17, 2016 “Libertarian Angle,” webinar sponsored by the Future of Freedom Foundation, with the Foundation’s president, Jacob G. Hornberger, on the topic: “The Interventionism of the Two World Wars, Part II.”
In part 2, the focus of attention is the statist and collectivist trends and policies that were at work that brought about the start of the First World War in the summer of 1914, and what followed in the conflict. Imperialism, nationalism, and socialism all blended together in the European nations that soon were in cruel and deadly combat with each other.
In all the belligerent nations, wartime planning replaced competitive markets and price systems. Industries were either nationalized or placed under government control and direction. Civil liberties were abridged, and essential freedoms were lost.
America did not enter the war until April 1917, but President Woodrow Wilson was ready, willing and able to take on the mantle of savior bringing democracy and “progressivism” to the world after imposing a centralizing agenda at home that undermined the constitutional foundations of the American republic since his taking office in 1913.
And when war did come to America, even though the U.S. had been neither attacked nor even meaningfully threatened by Imperial Germany, Wilson’s administration followed a policy of central control and command in economic affairs. Critics and dissenters were arrested and imprisoned for questioning the rationale or justification for U.S. participation in the war on the side of Great Britain and France against Germany and Austria-Hungary. And the U.S. government undertook a huge propaganda campaign to indoctrinate the American people in the justice of the war effort and the need to subservient to the benevolent “progressive” state.
The era of modern statism, collectivism, and political paternalism had arrived.
The webinar runs for about 30 minutes.
Part 1 is here.