Randolph Bourne, an anti-war progressive from the early 1900s, warned that “war is the health of the state.” But Megan McArdle of The Atlantic argues that a better statement is “crisis is the health of the state.” Like the former statement, this is definitionally true.
The state thrives on crisis and war. After the crisis of the Depression we had the second world war. Many Americans believe “War is good because it stimulates the economy.” As Bastiat’s Broken Window Fallacy neatly shows, it’s an inconvenient reality that all war stimulates is growth of government and those aspects of the economiy the government favors at the expense of everyone else.
One is left to wonder if our current wars and crises will ever correct themselves or if they are leading to something much bigger. And, if we are headed toward something much bigger, we know what it will do and what it will be: 1) It will improve the health of the state and liberty will suffer; and 2) It will either be war, another crisis, or both.Published in