Around this time every year, I have a hard time sleeping. I’ve been re-reading the Bells of Nagasaki and reflecting on the idea of nuclear warfare. The cost of nuclear arms goes beyond their immediate victims. I agree with Salvador Dali that those two bombs in Japan sent a “seismic shock through me.” It represents a new age in which Just War theory is slowly turning more and more obsolete. Can we truly have discussions about the principles of proportionality and distinction in a world where state-to-state warfare runs the possibility of ending our species?

I have always felt a special attachment to Nagasaki due to the story of Our Lady of Nagasaki, the bust of the Virgin Mary that survived the blast. Nagasaki had a significant Catholic population before the bombing, but it was mostly wiped out during the inferno. To this day, Urakami Cathedral is a rallying point for anti-nuclear activism in Japan and is the center focus of the classic book The Bells of Nagasaki. Regardless of what one thinks of religion, Catholicism, or marian veneration, it’s hard to ignore the imagery. Just as she wept for her Son on the cross, the mother of God weeps for the children of Nagasaki.


The bust


Urakami Cathedral


A memorial mass at Urakami Cathedral


The picture above is a drawing a survivor drew of his wife going to heaven. Below is her rosary.


The Journal of Libertarian Thought (1967): “The Black Revolution”

Finally back to blogging about libertarianism. The next few entries will probably be reviewing the publication Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought. I chose this journal to review for three primary reasons. First, it is one of the few libertarian publications in the 1960s and gives an insight into how libertarians at the time viewed the radical social changes of the 60s, but it’s important to take note the radical changes to the Libertarian Party itself in the early 1980s (to a more right-wing position). At this point in the 1960s, “left-deviantionists” were more open in expressing their views. Second, it’s editor was Rothbard; therefore, giving it a clear link to the structures that later evolved into the official Libertarian Party. Third, the name of the journal itself harkens to the reality that the word “libertarian” can denote multiple positions which can be categorized as left or right in ever changing contexts.

The issue I’d like to bring attention to is Vol. 3 Number 3 or the same issue Rothbard gave his eulogy to Che. Two editorials in the issue covered the topic of flag burning and the black power movement. The obvious context is the numerous riots and protests sweeping the country at the time. As I have written before, many self-described libertarians openly supported active resistance to the government during this time, including rioting. Given the public discussion over overreaching police officers, race, and the recent shootings it seemed appropriate to review these editorials for the blog. I will review the flag desecration editorial for my next entry.

black revolution

The editorial “The Black Revolution” seems to be a mixed bag. On one hand, I agree with the editors that the policy of integration was not a complete success, that African-Americans must uphold their own dignity if there is to be liberation, and that the Democratic Party will not be the means of said liberation.


The opening line of the editorial, which reflects the reality that the U.S. government drafted thousands of African-Americans to fight a war that had no relevance to them.

Interestingly, it openly praises Malcolm X. I supposed this is appropriate considering the same issue has an article dedicated to Che.

police x

In contrast, some of the language used reflects the racist bedrock that much of Anglo-Saxon stood upon in the 1960s and still stand upon. Conservative endorsements of ultra-black liberationism is often half-hearted and more along the lines of “how in the hell do we get rid of these people?”.  The author simply ditches the entire notion of integration and argues that African-Americans should simply go back to Africa or try to start their own country. I never found either of these positions workable or even attractive.

black nationalism

One myth about the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. is that it was a top-down enterprise that did not enjoy grassroot support. After reading the Parting the Water series by Branch (a must read on the topic but it’s a pretty lengthy), I personally cannot see how anyone could conclude this. Intervention by the federal government was often accomplished by strategic application of civil disobedience non-violent direct action. Yes, federal Integration of public schools and universities was accomplished by the National Guard, but they only intervened in the first place due to the strategic brilliance of grassroots organizers that forced the situation. Without agitation, the federal government would have ignored the entire situation. At the end of the day, I would say that this article is historically important  because the author acknowledges that the African-American community was being oppressed by a racist social order and had the right to use armed force against it. This seems to fly in the face of Rothbard’s later recommendation of a “right-wing populist program” in the early 1990s, in which he argues that the very notion of civil rights “tramples on the property rights of every American”.