#98 – Military Madness

State vs Government

Governments come and go with elections while the State grows stronger over time. With the growth of the State, a dehumanization effect occurs. The State views the citizens not as people they are responsible, but as obstacles. They have contempt for those citizens who stand in their way. 

The State maintains control through militaristic power and fear. It inspires awe and patriotism to which people pledge allegiance with hands placed over their hearts. Many people adore militarism and the U.S. empire. They believe that the U.S. government has to dominate and rule the world.

War is the Health of the State

In an unfinished manuscript, Randolph Bourne (1886-1918) wrote that War is the health of the State. He claims that in times of war, everything that the individual does is for the benefit of the State. He concludes, if war is the health of the State, then war is the death of individualism. 

Bourne observed, “people at war become in the most literal sense obedient, respectful, trustful children again, full of that naive faith in the all-wisdom and all-power of the adult who takes care of them.” War creates a “great herd-machine” functioned under “a most indescribable confusion of democratic pride and personal fear.” Individuals who constitute the herd “submit to the destruction of their livelihood if not their lives, in a way that would formerly have seemed to them so obnoxious as to be incredible.” 

America has been at war for over two decades. American troops have spread across the Arab world and the Middle East, leaving casualties heaped and enemies numerous. Not for me, not for you, and not for democracy but the State. 

Editor Carl Resek wrote, “In its proper place it [War is the health of the State] meant that mindless power thrived on war because war corrupted the nation’s moral fabric and especially corrupted its intellectuals.” 

Bourne wrote that in peace, ”the sense of the State almost fades out of the consciousness of men.” In times of peace, people are defined by self-interest and society, community, religion, or ethnic heritage rather than a political party; they interact casually with the government, giving little thought to the State. 

War destroys the ability of the individual to control their destiny. Bourne compares the individual to a “child on the back of a mad elephant” with no control. Only able to ride upon it until the elephant decided to halt. We have been on the backs of these elephants for much too long.

Tyranny Comes Home

Mark Twain wrote that ‘foreign intervention had real effects on the social fabric of America as the intervening country.’

According to authors Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall, war has a boomerang effect that erodes domestic liberties. Coyle and Hall claim that U.S. militarism abroad returns home to infect domestic politics and policy. With the expansion of government power, “the methods of social control, originally developed for use abroad, can be imported for domestic use.”  They call it the boomerang effect. 

A foreign policy of coercive intervention has created a monster in Washington. Reduced constraints and oversight or accountability have resulted in an expansion of government. Its broadened domestic scope, size, and power have negatively impacted liberties and freedoms that the government is supposed to protect. 

The perpetual wars have created a compliant citizenry. They have become more willing to accept these abuses in the name of security. A toxic mixture of fear and nationalism gains a stranglehold over many citizens, who are willing to pay any price to be kept safe from the hordes of fascists, communists, immigrants, terrorists, and viruses that will destroy their way of life. 

Coyne and Hall believe the U.S. government purposefully inflates fear to promote the growth of the national security state. Fear threatens the foundations of a free society. Fears push the citizens, in pursuit of security, into the arms of the State. The State obliges, offers security to unify the domestic public and the government. 

Even the separation of powers has broken down. The Judiciary defer to the State on national-security grounds. Legislators worry about seeming unpatriotic, especially when there are soldiers’ lives at stake. Anyone that questions the jingoism emanating from the White House or their colleagues in Congress is considered a traitor.

The reclamation of the United States of America begins with stopping this militarism madness. Stop foreign interventions that reinforce militarism. Stop promoting fear. Stop The Elephant!

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