Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Cameron’s attempt to mobilise parliament to support an attack on Syria last week powerfully reminded me of the observations of the American Anarchist intellectual Randolph Bourne. Bourne (1886-1918) was a literary scholar, writing for the journals The Dial, The Seven Arts and The New Republic. In the chapter ‘War is the Health of State’ in his unfinished book, The State, Bourne described the way the state and the ruling classes use war to advance their social and ideological control, establishing a uniformity of opinion and quelling dissenting minorities. He stated

‘War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate co-operation 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, the minorities are either intimidated into silence…

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