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Resurgence of the Warfare State: The Crisis Since 9/11 Paperback – October 28, 2005
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by Karen Kwiatkowski
Resurgence of the Warfare State delivers a ferocious punch to those who prefer their states massive and their wars, as Mr. Bush might say, catastrophically successful.
The rest of us, preferring our state small, our leviathan caged, and our wars as a last resort rather than feel-good fixes, will savor Dr. Robert Higgs' latest contribution to modern history and politics. Resurgence is a carefully selected set of powerful essays, organized into eight parts, each focusing on a unique aspect of the modern, post 9-11 American warfare state.
The book begins with an important post-9/11 interview conducted by Michael Lynch of Reason. Dr. Higgs, an economic historian who is Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and editor of their superb journal, The Independent Review, briefly explains the themes of his earlier books, Crisis and Leviathan (1987) and Against Leviathan (2004). What we know, thanks to Higgs' lucid presentation and analysis, is that national crises in American lead to bigger, more invasive, and more hubristic government, the kind that doesn't go away after the crisis fades.
In Resurgence, it becomes clear that some national crises are more equal than others in delivering the government goods of more centralization, more spending, more interference in and control over the private life of American citizens. 9/11 was invaluable and has shown itself to be an unsurpassed opportunity for government growth. Just as after the Japanese attack on the sleepy naval base at Pearl Harbor, America is again a super-animated warfare state.
Shortly after 9-11, Dr. Higgs predicted "an overwhelming public demand for government to act.Read more ›
The articles here are uniformly brief, pungent, and incisive, occasionally rising to an eloquence, as in Chapter 20, on America's War Party. There's also an informative chapter on the hidden true size of the Defense budget, showing how deeply our economy is mired in imperial expenditures. The biggest drawback lies with the format which works against the kind of analytic depth some readers may prefer. The book really works best as a collection of op-ed pieces. So, if you're looking for an anti-empire perspective in short, sweet doses that doesn't mirror the Chomskyite left, then this may be your ticket.
Higgs's chronicles of American-powered British empire range from political commentary to unorthodox kinds of prose such as poetry. He says in his Introduction that "At every step, of course, the perpetrators have boldy proclaimed that black is white; that the road to peace must be paved with gravestones; that the 'reconstruction' of a city or even an entire country begins by obliterating it with bombs, rockets, shells, and bullets; that 'liberation' takes the form of heavily armed soldiers bursting into homes and mosques and dragging people off to torture them in hideous prisons, then blaming everything on "terrorists" who include, it turns out, little children now with their eyes blinded, their skin burned, or their limbs blown off by U.S. bombs and bullets."
The first essay is titled "Glory Days for Government: an economic historian talks about national security crises and the growth of government", which was originally an interview with the author by Reason magazine writer Michael Lynch in which Higgs warned that "historically a large proportion of all government expansion has taken place as an emergency or crisis action".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This small book from Robert Higgs is a collection of articles,blogs,interviews from the time of 9/11 and shortly after. Read morePublished on December 8, 2013 by groundhog
I'm sure this one will get snagged on a certain "Guideline" - paint-by-numbers and all that - but I'm going to submit it anyway - if for no other reason than fyi. Read morePublished on December 30, 2005 by David Tucker