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My name is Larken Rose, and you are most likely here because you have either heard about my research into the federal income tax, or you have heard about my political (or anti-political) rantings and/or books. Because the two issues are really separate, distinct issues, they are dealt with separately. So choose which path below you want.


Dying for a Lie

Today, to escape the hectic stress of life for a moment, I took a
stroll through the cemetery in the town where I grew up. I saw lots
of names I knew, but the main thing I noticed was how many American
flags were adorning grave sites, and how many gravestones mentioned
that the deceased had either died in combat or served in the
military. If I were a good, loyal, patriotic American, the sight
would have filled me with nationalistic pride, and thankfulness for
the soldiers' sacrifice. But it didn't. It filled me with sadness.
There is no greater love than that shown by someone who lays down
his life for his friends. But there is no greater tragedy than
someone laying down his life for a lie. And that is exactly what
every soldier, of every country, who dies in battle, does.

I can already feel the outrage many will have at reading that. The
last thing the flag-wavers, and especially the friends and families
of fallen soldiers, want to consider is the possibility that,
rather than being a great and noble sacrifice for the greater good--
for freedom, security, peace, whatever--those who died in battle
accomplished absolutely nothing worthwhile. Nothing. Those who
parrot the phrase, "If you love your freedom, thank a veteran," are
deluding themselves. The goal of the U.S. military has never been
freedom, for you or anyone else. It's a gang that engages in turf
wars with other gangs, and that's all it has ever been.

That's why I found the cemetery so depressing. It's a travesty that
so many courageous humans have died, acting as pawns in games
played by tyrants. What makes it worse is that, because the
nationalistic, authoritarian indoctrination has been so successful,
this is likely to continue for many years to come. And, perhaps
saddest of all, it could be prevented if the friends and families
of aspiring soldiers could set aside their blind nationalism long
enough to see reality objectively, and then do anything in their
power to stop the person from becoming a mercenary for the

Today I stood over the grave of a young man who died in Iraq. The
gravestone talks about "love" and "service." I admit, it made me
tear up, but not for the reason it would make "good Americans" tear
up. It made me tear up to know that this young man, who by all
accounts was a principled, giving, kind human being, had been duped
into giving up his life for a lie. His courage, his integrity, were
thrown away for nothing. His death accomplished nothing. The young
man's virtues were twisted and exploited, to convert him into a
tool to be used and then thrown away by some of the most evil
people on the planet.

But who wants to be the one to point this out to the friends and
family of the dead young man? I don't. But what happens if no one
ever points it out? If no one does, then the pattern will continue.
Thousands of young men and women will continue to be trained to
feel profound pride and pack mentality, to the point where they
will kill, or die, for a lie. And this is not unique to this
country. Pretty much every war consists of two large numbers of
basically decent human beings who have been twisted, corrupted,
duped and deceived, exploited and manipulated, to the point where
they will create hell on earth, engaging in prolonged, widespread
mass murder, torture and terrorism, in the name of some abstract
nothing. Sadly, both sides will do this, both believing their cause
and their "country" to be righteous, and both being dead wrong--

The comfortable, easy, feel-good response would be to "honor"
fallen soldiers, treat them as brave heroes who fought for freedom,
served their country--to be thankful for their "sacrifice," as if
by giving their lives they somehow benefitted humanity and justice.
But that is a lie, and repeating the lie will only lead to more
people dying for the same lie. I don't doubt the courage of
soldiers, but bravery without understanding, more often than not,
ends up doing more damage than good. And that is the case with
every war.

Somewhere, in others countries around the world--Korea, Vietnam,
Germany, Japan, etc.--there are other cemeteries, filled with the
graves of brave, patriotic men and women who fought and died for
the same lie. It's very likely, for example, that somewhere in
Korea is a gravestone marking where a decent, honest man lies dead,
having been killed by one of the decent, honest American men whose
grave sites I visited today.

Must we continue this insanity? Must we continue to allow those who
crave dominion to divide and conquer us, to turn man against man,
riling up millions to engage in vicious brutality and bloodshed?
Must we keep acting as pawns for tyrants of all nationalities, and
continue to be duped into exterminating each other, for the benefit
of liars and crooks?

If I had a universal rewind button, and could go back and talk to
that young man for a bit, before he joined the military, maybe give
him a book to read, maybe challenge his assumptions a bit--maybe I
wouldn't have stood over his grave today. Now it's too late. But
it's not too late for the next one. However uncomfortable it might
be, those of us who see through the lie must do whatever we can to
keep the next generation from falling for it. Trying to avoid
making waves, by repeating the lie that has cost so many millions
their lives, does not serve anyone, except tyrants and
megalomaniacs. If, by stepping out of your comfort zone, you might
have a chance to keep the next young man from needlessly dying,
scared and alone, bleeding in the dirt in some foreign country, how
could that not be worth it? And if some people condemn you for your
lack of blind loyalty and "patriotism," or get angry at you for
exposing the lethal lie that they have always believed and
repeated, is that really too big a price to pay to save a life … or
a million?

Larken Rose
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(P.S. At the risk of bankrupting myself even more than I already
am, I've decided to give a discount, down to $8, for anyone who
wants to buy a copy of "The Most Dangerous Superstition" to send to
someone in the military, or someone thinking of joining.)