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“War is the Health of the State” (even at Christmas)

That was the title to a Randolph Bourne essay found uncompleted after his death in 1918. It arose out of WWI, and Mendy McElroy penned a 1999 essay on the core meaning of the phrase. Essential reading; essential link in your collection. The thrust of Bourne's essays is to attack the sanctity of war by showing how it leads to the moral collapse of society by kicking out the props (the principles) of peaceful interaction upon which society rests. In essence, Bourne addressed the moral consequences of war upon a post-war society which had abandoned individualism in favor of "the herd-machinery." He eloquently argued that post-war America would be morally, intellectually, and psychologically impoverished. By this observation, Bourne did not mean that peace time America would struggle under the increased bureaucracy that never seems to roll-back to pre-war levels. Many historians have made this point. Bourne addressed the less tangible, though arguably more significant, costs of war. For example, post-1918 America would be burdened by intellectuals who had "forgotten that the real enemy is War rather than imperial Germany." In converting World War I into a holy war, the intellectual and psychological groundwork was being laid for future instances of...

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Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2022, contains over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More
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