Thursday, 4 November 2010

Socialist Heroes No. 1: The US Military

I mean it. The US armed forces are the world's greatest and most powerful examples of socialism in action.

I realised this when I sat in front of the TV watching Tea Party lunatics calling for small government and an end to government spending, while expressing a desire for more soldiers, bigger guns, and more wars.

But armies are paid for by taxpayers. The government takes your money and spends almost 5% of GDP and 44% of US Government tax income ($663.8 billion) on war. Massive standing armies, a huge navy, enormous Marine Corps, gigantic air force, the National Guard, covert operations, missile silos, satellites, research and development, propaganda, accommodation, vehicles, educational programs: the list is endless, and it costs a lot of money.


Eh? Surely that's not a very Vole thing to say. But I do. The US is a military state. It spends almost half the tax it collects on the military. This is genius. The government knows that Americans hate taxes and distrust governments. They also know that the more you hate taxes and governments, the more likely you are to like guns and massive military force. So someone sat down and thought about how to support the US economy while keeping these loons happy, and hit on the idea of a mighty military.

Think of it like this: if you manufacture enough enemies, you can usually be at war with a couple of no-mark sandpits at any one time, while keeping a massive enemy in reserve - once the USSR, now China. Your voters therefore demand that you hugely outgun and outspend them.

This leads to massive recruitment, taking young men and women off the dole queue caused by your decline as a manufacturing economy. They serve their country, learn to be docile and obedient citizens and view the armed services as the epitome of American-ness, and they get an excellent education paid for by the state after they leave. So you're fiddling the employment market and contributing to the education system. You also employ a lot of people to teach and train these recruits while in service. Then there's the housing for your forces, and the military bases. You scatter these throughout the country until every small town has a military outpost. That keeps them patriotic and ensures that they (and their local politicians) will never object to the military expenditure because it's keeping their town alive.

You also invest massively in university and industrial research and development, providing more jobs and tying everyone into a state-regulated economy without ever mentioning the dread word 'socialism'. But that's what it is. Shhh. Don't mention it to the Americans.


Benjamin Judge said...

And it has been working for a very long time. Remember Roosevelt's New Deal? Three words: World War Two.

If they didn't have those pesky nukes it would be a perfect system.

Though having said that I saw Cloverfield last night and am now coming round to the idea of having one or two nuclear weapons in reserve. Monsters are bad news.

The Plashing Vole said...

Wise words, and good historical lesson.