Wednesday, September 27, 2023

QotD: War On Whatever Edition...

Over at Bobbi's blog, she mused:
"We've been sold a war on poverty, a war on drugs, a war on the border and a war on the sources of terrorism, but in every case, the conditions for victory are unclear, the price is higher than advertised and the sincerity of the pitchman is questionable."
The whole "War on [Fill In The Blank]" is problematic as a mental construct. The concept of "war" promotes binary thinking, zero sum outlooks, and a willingness to transcend niceties and violate rights in pursuit of victory. 

If you gotta put some maybe-innocent people in camps, censor some newspapers, suspend some habeus corpus...well, can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Whose side are you on, anyway? Ours or the enemy's?

I'm reminded of P.J. O'Rourke's thoughts from All the Trouble in the World (maybe his last truly laugh-out-loud, snot-bubble-blowing hilarious book, BTW; Peej at the acme of his powers.):
"Politicians are always searching for some grave alarm which will cause individuals to abandon their separate concerns and prerogatives and act in concert so that politicians can wield the baton. Calls to mortal combat are forever being sounded (though only metaphorically– politicians don’t like real wars, too much merit is involved). The idea is that people will drop everything for a WWIII. Remember the War on Poverty? And how Jimmy Carter asked Americans to respond to a mere rise in the price of crude oil with “the moral equivalent of war”? (What were we supposed to do, shame the gas station attendant to death?) Now we’re “fighting pollution,” “battling AIDS,” “conquering racism,” et cetera."