Harry Patch: The Third Section of the World War passes into history now


Harry Patch has died. I will be honoured to be one of his pall-bearers, although I am sure I will not be asked.

David Davis

Yep, we can all play games about which war is inside which section of the Ongoing World War….but I think that 1914-1919 is the third bit of the main modern section of it. The fourth bit started in about 1935,  and the fifth bit on 1st Sept 1939. Other bits have been intermittently conflagrating on, here and there, for decades since then. 1950, 1956, 1967, 1973, Lebanon, 1991, 2003 and so on.

The point about Harry Patch is not that he represented War-Statism, even though people like Prince Charles tried to take him over as an icon. What we as libertarians ought to celebrate is that individuals can go through this torment, made for them by States, come out the other side, and survive.

In a world in which there is a Libertarian Civilisation, and also some others that are not this thing, there will be wars, for a time. They will be defensive wars waged by the libertarian polity: sorry, I know it, this is what will be. The other States will not want to allow such a thing to be, for it will expose traumatically their dangerous isolation and total lack of underlying strategic support from their own slaves peoples.

I could not begin to tell you authoritatively what Harry Patch thought he was fighting for. For I did not know him, and I would also have been reticent about asking him that question since he was (a) very old, and (b) probably quite sensitive about what he’d give as an answer. But we can probably agree that what he thought he was fighting for was something not very akin to big-statism, which is to say, fascism as practised by the government today in the UK.

And so the Great War now passes into true history as defined by there being nobody who remembered it. We ought to be careful that libertarianism does not go the same way, as there are actually now too few proper ideological libertarians to do what Chris Tame said “make a difference”.

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3 responses to “Harry Patch: The Third Section of the World War passes into history now

  1. I don’t know.

    When I was a child, my neighbour, told me tales of that war. He was an old man and had been gassed. He had many medals too. I suspect he was a very brave man. I saved his wife’s life at one point (she’d fallen, and I could climb a drainpipe and use phone – nothing much) and he was very open with me.

    He thought he was fighting the Bosch, whom he hated. He also hated the colonials. And the wogs. He was thought Hitler was a good or great man and was sad we fought him in a later war. I don’t think he was fighting for freedom but rather the flag. I’d not go so far as to say that’s a bad thing.

    He worked for the council as a minor functionary and it’s his views in that role that lead me to this extraordianry statement: I’d have put a round in his head without blinking in some war for freedom. Because he was on the wrong side.

    Old warriors are just old.

  2. deirdre thompson

    well said.

  3. It seems to me, with the luxury of hindsight, distance, etc, that the wars have been part of a profoundly powerful and comprehensive con. Actors tricked into playing within that con have been brave, heroic and should be honoured as such. Others have not. Okay.
    The con continues and we are sucked into it to a greater or lesser degree.
    Think twice before you shoot. No one has got it sussed.
    In temporal terms the best hope lies in diversity. The free market of thought.