Nothing encourages patriotism like war. Governments like war because patriotism leads people to sacrifice for the imagined collective and tolerate more oppression. Patriotism reinforces the essential myth that governments act on behalf of the people, and the language of war often confuses the government itself with the people. When two countries are at war, we often say that one country attacked another, but that is a misrepresentation of one government attacking another government’s territory. Or more precisely, a group of people wearing uniforms of one color from one place, killing people wearing uniforms of a different color from a different place. Countries don’t attack other countries. Governments use violence to expand their power.
Governments also like war because it is extremely profitable for a few special interests. Just the constant threat of war is enough to make the arms industry very profitable. Other than politicians, no one is more eager to buy bombs than a frightened population willing to give up everything to be safe. When a population is frightened enough to support a war, it will support increased taxation and buy war bonds. It will support a massive increase in the money supply, supposedly to pay for soldiers’ salaries and equipment, even though it will only enrich the bankers by devaluing everyone’s savings. Although war spending is clearly a way of diverting productive resources to destructive purposes, governments always count this spending in positive economic measurements to perpetuate the most dangerous myth that war is good for the economy.
War gives governments the excuses necessary to do the things they always want to, but usually can’t in peacetime. During war, governments claim to need new powers, supposedly necessary to protect from a new threat. Those who stand to profit from such wartime policies will attack opponents as unpatriotic. They always say these powers are temporary, but they’re often permanent. War has been used as an excuse to raise taxes, destroy privacy, enslave through conscription, and demand greater loyalty to the collective.
We might think a protection racket would not want to kill too many of its subjects, if only because of the loss of productivity, but governments don’t always behave rationally. They are always seeking more efficient means of exploiting us, but if they have to kill large numbers of people to maintain their oppression of the rest, they will. Sometimes they get carried away and kill so many that some of the oppressors are affected. Sometimes, governments and their beneficiaries truly lose out in the struggles between competing protection rackets, but war is still a very effective tool. Even with the loss of productivity, wars make governments more powerful.
Chapter 3 Section III From FREEDOM! by Adam Kokesh
I am the author of FREEDOM!, a book endorsed (I mean banned) by the US Department of “Justice.” You can get a copy here. I’m running for Not-President in 2020 on the platform of the peaceful, orderly, and responsible dissolution of the United States federal government. You can find out more here. I am currently on my #TaxationIsTheft tour! You can find an event near you here. Whoever has the top comment on this post after 24 hours can claim a free signed copy of FREEDOM! by sending me a message with their address.