War elevates the state, so of course the state supports war.

On Tuesday, as you have all no doubt heard, the GOP made something of a comeback with gubernatorial wins in New Jersey and Virginia.  However, experience shows that where many issues are concerned, which party is in power makes no difference:  it’s going to suck either way.  Foreign policy seems to be one of those issues.  Justin Raimondo of AntiWar.com writes:

Why is it that the War Party invariably wins? Although the majority of Americans are rebelling against the idea that the US must endlessly police the world, and are souring on the crusade to “liberate” Afghanistan, how is it that the only voices heard on the national political scene are those in favor of intervention?

Why, indeed?  Perhaps the simplest answer comes from Randolph Bourne (though don’t forget to finish the rest of Raimondo’s piece on the disenfranchisement of antiwar voters at the bloody hands of both major parties): “War is the health of the state.”  That’s the famous quote, which most YAL readers have probably heard before, but Bourne continues:

War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. The machinery of government sets and enforces the drastic penalties; ….in general, the nation in wartime attains a uniformity of feeling, a hierarchy of values culminating at the undisputed apex of the State ideal, which could not possibly be produced through any other agency than war. Loyalty – or mystic devotion to the State – becomes the major imagined human value….

The rulers soon learn to capitalize the reverence which the State produces in the majority, and turn it into a general resistance toward a lessening of their privileges. The sanctity of the State becomes identified with the sanctity of the ruling class, and the latter are permitted to remain in power under the impression that in obeying and serving them, we are obeying and serving society, the nation, the great collectivity of all of us….

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