"Throughout the history of the United States, war has been the primary impetus behind the growth and development of the central state. It has been the lever by which presidents and other national officials have bolstered the power of the state in the face of tenacious popular resistance."
Bruce D. Porter
(1952- ) Professor of political science at Brigham Young University
"War and the Rise of the State", 1994
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Reader comments about this quote:
why stop if it works - there seems to be no end to our stupidity and the dumbing down of the poor and middle class
 -- Robert, Sarasota     
  • 4
    sorry, I forgot to add a last note: - the rich are already dumb.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
  • 1
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI      
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    I suspect, as do not just a few others, that the planning for the war on Iraq was well underway long before 9-11 with precisely this idea in mind. I mean, if you’re intent on being King, there’s no time to waste – is there? We will be shamed by the current 'Reign' for a long time to come. Evidently, we need to really screw thing up in a really big way every 30-40 years or so. You know, just for the exercise. Every 30-40 years the last generation to have screwed things up badly is no longer relevant and the new generations have no recollections of the last screw-up. It's ancient history. They have no frame of reference so they're easier to manipulate.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
  • 5
    Read the best history available for war atrocity, PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE U.S., by Howard Zinn. All our wars with perhaps the exception of WWII were fought for power of the state, which has been the power of the rich businessmen. These people have become so sure of themselves and so arrogant they even prepared the Project for the New American Century before stealing the 2000 election for all to see.
     -- Dick Trice, Fort Worth     
  • 3
    Excellent Dick
     -- Kent, Sarasota     
  • 2
    This is the most disturbing quote I've ever seen from this site. I know nothing of the author, just for the record. As a view, it is subject to debate. Mostly, I reject it. I know, "54 40 or fight!" and all the "Manifest Destiny" stuff and can easily say, "Don't knock it! It worked!" That may be a sad commentary on me, but so be it. The USA is an experiment. Never forget that. Jefferson set down the charter before the world in a tone that is lost on people today. Lincoln, at Gettysburg, went right to the core with the line "...testing whether any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure." On balance the USA has been a positive force for good on the planet! The experiment goes on. It is God Almighty Who will have the last word. As to Porter, good luck with that.
     -- J. B. Wulff, Bristol, CT     
  • 5
    If You are a Good Commie Comrade YOU ARE FOR THE STATE, and Marxist Bruce D. Porter is Right (or LEFT if that makes you feel better). He did leave out the part about Genocide to Thin the Conquered Herds. GT
     -- Gary Tedder Family Protection Services, Las Vegas     
  • 2
    If Bruce D. Porter is concerned that the USA Military is used and abused to carryout Agenda's for Global Corporations... then I have to agree with Him. We have no business with our Troops scattered throughtout the World in 110+ Countries to protect WHO? WHAT? WHY? The current War on Libya is for What purpose? The $40 Billion Aid Package for North Africa is for WHAT... the Muslim Brotherhood? The $20 Million spent in Kenya for establishment of Shiria Law... is for What? The War on North Viet Nam to destroy our WWII Buddy Ho Chi Minh... 45,000+ American Lives for What? North Korea War... Where our Military Plans were submitted to UN who gave them to N. Korea and China so they knew where best to kill our Troops? What? Why? For Who? Good thing our Generals quit supplying actual Troop movements to UN. NOW THAT WE ARE BROKE... We are still waging WAR and by doing so bankrupting Our Republic and the Citizens of the united States of America. Perfect Stage for a Marxist Revolution in our Own Country with Our own Marxist Muslim President. Oh Joy. GT
     -- Gary Tedder Family Protection Services, Las Vegas     
  • 7
    One war that is destroying this nation and must be stopped, is this so-called War on Drugs. It fills our jails with non-violent citizens, makes drugs cheaper and easily available to children,increases crime in our streets,makes brutal thugs rich, and costs over 50 billion dollars per year. Check out LEAP.cc on the web to see why we have to stop this madness.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
  • 6
    terry, precisely, I have lived long enough, to see all my family pass away, your words are so true, its a cycle, then it starts over again, when those who paid the ultimate price are gone, along with what they learned, the neophytes are all that are left.Its easy to manipulate a young man, for that same reason there is an age limit in the military, they want no one to question the orders. And jim, yes sir, this war on drugs must be stopped, it is a business, and the incarceration of our people, kills the spirit, it all comes down to the one thing we all know, we are NOT free, our nation has become one big prison, with ignorant people with badges. They should pray real hard, because someday, it will reach a point where there are more people locked up than so called free, then the bloodshed will begin, and it wont be pretty.
     -- anon, anon     
  • 4
    War requires extensive cooperation among the populace which is waging it. If this cooperation is termed "big government", so be it. That the war and the required cooperative effort may be instituted solely to increase the power of government is a sad state of affairs indeed. I suggest that Mr. Porter prove his statement. As far as the United States is concerned I do not recall how it has been financially enriched by war.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
  • 1 5
    War is and has been the primary impetus behind the growth and development of the central state. Take the local standing army for an extremely terse illustration. A simple unconstitutional traffic stop is enforced under threat and duress by the occupying statist theocracy's armed thug(s) and subsequent war on 'We The People'; and then, the victim must pay for his/her own possible demise, loss of freedom, liberty, rights and natural law and expanse of despotism, tyranny and the central State. As per:Gonzales vs. Castle Rock, 545 U.S. 748; and, DeShaney vs. Winnebego County 489 U.S. 189 and dozens of other like cases, the local standing army has no responsibility to, liability for or otherwise duty respecting 'We The People. The local standing army's job description is to serve and protect alien officials and State property. The greater the war against 'We The People' by the local standing army, the greater the expanse of the central State. A face of tenacious popular resistance may be a bended knee or standing with interlocked arms?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 2
    Porter is right on, so much that we see that 'war' is the go-to solution for any problem. The War on Drugs is the primary impetus behind the growth of the Police State, and there is no denying that the drug war has claimed a high percentage of poor minorities as the victims. The 'cure' is worse than the 'disease.' Movements like Black Lives Matter have the support they do because of direct experience of being under the thumb of 'the man.' Just like the Occupy Wall Street crowd, their handlers hijack the group and distract them from the true source of oppression.

    We war on each other by claiming entitlement to the fruits of others' labor. In the medical field, war is waged against disease, aggressively attacking and killing as the preferred modus operandi, while prevention is hardly addressed.

    War is destruction pure and simple. It does not create a new or better world, it just ends this one, all of it. What makes for a good world? Doing good. How do we keep it? Maintain it. Do we tear up the whole garden to root out the weeds?

    War is stealing. War is killing. War is doing evil. Defense becomes revenge, then domination of the people.

    The 'battle' is where it has always been -- within. Hearts and minds.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 3
     -- Jim K, Austin      
    Becoming more monstrous by murdering others in other countries is not growth and development. It is degenerating into a subspecies. The conventional individual demonstrates this every single day.
     -- Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown     
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