W. J. Astore: The United States of Militarism

Vox Populi

A century ago, the USA was a dynamic, forward-looking, freedom-espousing country that was focused on science and technology and its practical applications, as represented by Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. We were about to reelect a president, Woodrow Wilson, precisely because he had kept the country out of World War I. With the exception of the Navy, the U.S. military was small, and few Americans (Teddy Roosevelt comes to mind) boasted about the “manly” virtues of military service and war.

Here we are, a century later, in a country that has taken up militarism, a country which is increasingly reactionary, authoritarian, and backward-leaning, a country that leads the world not in innovation for ordinary people as in the days of Edison and Ford, but in weapons exports to the world’s trouble spots.

Anyone with a sense of history — indeed, anyone with common sense — should recognize that militaries are…

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