How Does the War Party Get Away with It?

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Robert Higgs analyzes how it is we keep getting into these pointless wars. I particularly appreciated his raising the point about popular love of war, something I’ve observed with dismay for many years:
“Presidents decide to go to war in the context of a favorably disposed mass culture. Painful as it is for members of the Peace Party to admit, many Americans take pleasure in ‘kicking ass,’ and they do not much care whose ass is being kicked or why. So long as Americans are dishing out death and destruction to a plausible foreign enemy, the red-white-and-blue jingos are happy. If you think I’m engaging in hyperbole, you need to get out more. Visit a barbershop, stand in line at the post office, or have a drink at your neighborhood tavern and listen to the conversations going on around you. The sheer bellicosity of many ordinary people’s views is as undeniable as it is shocking. Something in their diet seems to be causing a remarkable volume of murderous, barely suppressed rage.”

3:24 pm on August 26, 2003