We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes, known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

– James Madison

32 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Nick (BTF) Gray

    I agree, but countries need to defend themselves, so I believe the best idea would be for local militias to ally with other local militias if any of them are invaded. By staying Allied, not United, we could keep centralism down. The Allies broke up after WW2, because they were allied only against the Nazies.
    Indeed, I think that adults should only be allowed to vote if they do some form of community service first, such as part-time fire fighter, or paramilitary training, in local counties or shires or cantons. Keep things decentralised, and the worst features of democracies are weakened.

  • Laird

    Fine words, but it should be remembered that Madison was the author of the War of 1812, which was largely pointless.

  • Mr Ed

    A standing judiciary is a greater threat to liberty than an standing army. It only has its own population to attack, and cannot deter an invader.

  • Paul Marks

    This may have been true when Mr Madison said it, but it is certainly not true now.

    Military spending (both as a proportion of the budget and as a proportion of the economy) has been in DECLINE in all major Western nations (including the United States) for 50 years. Just today plans were announced to reduce the size of the U.S. Army to its lowest size since 1940 – indeed as a proportion of the population it will be SMALLER than it was in 1940.

    This talk of the “warfare state” misses the basic point that what drives the growth of government has NOT been “war and armies” – it has been the WELFARE STATE.

    Only a few minutes ago I read something on advertising on the “Ludwig Von Mises” Institute website (“Galbraith was right” – which he certainly was NOT, as advertising campaigns such as that for Strand cigarettes [great ads – terrible sales] show) anyway…..

    The writer said (in passing as if it was an uncontroversial point) that American intervention World War One was for benefit of J.P. Morgan (the banker) plus shippers and arms manufacturers.

    Why is this Marxist crap (that World War One was for the benefit of Big Business) presented as libertarianism?

    Imperial German designs against Latin America (indeed against the United States itself – offering large areas of the United States to Mexico, although the Germans planned to dominate there anyway) are not a secret – indeed the real Ludwig Von Mises (not the Institute that was not even created for years after his death)often mentioned them. The designs of the German academic and political elite were well known to Ludwig Von Mises and he often referred to them (yet people who claim to speak for him present a false picture).

    Why? Why is this done?

    To appeal to the young “hip” students?

    To do the “look we hate big business as much as you do” tap dance?

    It does not work (SHOCK! spreading Marxist propaganda helps Marxism – not libertarianism) and it is off-the-chart dishonest.

    Ayn Rand had her faults – but at least Rand never engaged in this stuff.

    As for modern wars……

    Yes both Iraq (which I did not support) and Afghanistan (which I, very foolishly, did support) were a vast waste of human lives and money (perhaps as much money as the Russian Television propaganda broadcast I am currently watching claims – “could have provided a top sports car for every person in Chicago” and on and on….).

    But these wars were NOT fought for “big business” and they are NOT the driving force in the expansion of government.


    What does any of that have to do with anything, Marks? The quote makes the general point that a constant government program: war in this case, it deleterious to liberty. If you cannot accept that, you are not a libertarian.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Paul’s point is confirmed by no less an authority than Samuel Finer, in the Conceptual Preface to the History of Government from the Earliest Times. Finer claims that almost all government expenditure before very recently has been on warfare, with the possible exceptions of the Sumerian city states and the Egyptian Old Kingdom. That leaves a gap of almost 4 millennia.

    It makes sense that, when there was barely enough food for everybody, public expenditures were limited to what was strictly necessary for (a) the survival of the State and (b) the tax collection necessary to feed the army and the tax bureaucracy. In between wars, the army was presumably also helping to maintain public order.

    In short: modern governments spend more money than necessary for defense, simply because they can.

  • Snorri Godhi

    PS: ww1 has been blamed for bringing Big Government to the UK and US. However, i don’t see how one can isolate confounding variables: universal suffrage in the US, universal male suffrage in the UK (where women tend to vote more conservatively).
    Nor can ww2 be blamed for the New Deal; but perhaps it can be blamed for British socialism.

  • Paul Marks

    WWTWM – I explained what it had to do with everything.

    But I will do so again.

    Military spending is not (repeat not) the reason that government has grown in the United State (or any other Western nation).

    The whole thing is a distraction from the real problem – the real problem being the Welfare State (“Social Justice”).

    As for nations that do not go to war.

    A classic example is Sweden – a nation that has not been to war for two hundred centuries.

    Sweden is not a small government country.

  • A standing judiciary is a greater threat to liberty than an standing army. It only has its own population to attack, and cannot deter an invader.

    A standing judiciary is bad, but a sitting legislature is worse! If parliament only sat 4-days a year there would be less time for them to create inordinate laws to imperil the individual.

    Do you feel safer with all of these inordinate laws that are only enforced on the man in the street when the leviathan that is the bureaucratic state chooses to do so (i.e. selective prosecution)?

  • WWTWM, the quote makes a point that is manifestly not general – in fact, it singles out war apart from ‘all the enemies to public liberty’. And so factually speaking, Paul is absolutely correct to point out that while the quote may have been germane to its time and place, it no longer is.

  • PeterT

    I’m just reading ‘liberal fascism’ by Jonah Goldberg. It seems fairly clear that Woodrow Wilson and co used war as an excuse for big government. That is, the war itself was not the driving force for all the transgressions against the constitution (anti sedition laws etc).

    It is a great book by the way. The cover had put me off a bit previously, as it had suggested that it might be a pop-politics type read, rather than the serious and important (but easy to read) piece of scholarship it is.

  • Paul Marks

    I also think that J. Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” is a good book – in fact I own a copy of it.

    Nowhere in this book does it say that the First World War was for the purpose of enriching Mr J.P. Morgan (a personal and political enemy of Mr Wilson) or shipping companies and munitions companies – the paragraph implying this in the “Galbraith was right” post (on advertising – and the late J.K. Galbraith was WRONG about advertising, see the chapter “Who Protects the Worker” in Milton Friedman’s “Free To Choose) was just vulgar Marxism (nothing more).

    By the way….

    Yes, of course, Woodrow Wilson used war as a reason for statism – he also used peace.

    Indeed the “New Freedom” (Orwellian title) was launched in the 1912 election campaign – the First World War broke out in 1914 and the United States entered in 1917.

    As for how a government should respond DOMESTICALLY in response to war…….

    An interesting contrast is between France and Germany in the First World War.

    In “Nation State and Economy” Ludwig Von Mises shows that France (that was just as involved in total war as Germany) followed a less statist economic policy during the war (it did not follow German “War Socialism”) – and that the, relatively less statist, French economic policy was MORE EFFECTIVE.

    Of course Woodrow Wilson would not have accepted that – not at all.

    Just like the French intellectuals.

    There response to the French defeat of Germany in the First World War was that France should be made more like Germany.

    No, for once, I have not made a typing mistake.

    The response of the French (and Anglo-American) intellectual elite to the utter failure of German economic policy (War Socialism) during the First World War, was that it should be copied.

    The United States did not enter the First World War till it was obvious (apart from to, it appears, Rothbardians) that Imperial Germany had expansionist designs on Latin America and hostile designs on the United States itself.

  • Paul Marks

    We do not think of France as a land of freedom – because in our time it is not (like James Madison we are people of our time).

    However, there was a time when French freedom stood against Prussian statism – see (thinly disguised) Jules Verne’s novel “Steel City” (the 19th century SF novel where agents of not-France go on into a mission into not-Germany to stop the totalitarian regime firing a war rocket filled with poison gas warhead – the writer has a good grasp of what the future might be like, from the development of technology to the difficulty of running agents in a totalitarian regime – the river scene is a classic that will stir memories in many of us).

    Even in the 1780s (before the nightmare of the French Revolution – which sent France to Hell for years) France was a land of few (if any)serfs and hardly any State schools.

    Prussia in the 1780s was just the opposite.

    Of course, we British people have a trouble seeing the positive side of French history (they have been our enemies for a thousand years), but it does exist – and Americans used to be more open to it.

    It is no accident that Americans educated in France in the old days (the 19th century) tended to be more open to freedom (less statist) than those Americans educated in Germany.

  • Paul Marks

    Slightly off topic…..

    Mentioning “Steel City” has reminded me that good representations of the “shadow” war (the war that is fought without tanks, aircraft and so on) are to be found in unlikely places.

    For example, “Octopussy” is perhaps the most absurdly named James Bond film.

    However, it starts with a good representation of the Shadow War – it is no accident that the character “James Bond” (a silly character in some ways) plays no part in this representation.

    It also shows the price that people involved in the Shadow War paid.

    “Better having to dress as a clown and dying horribly – than massive war”.

    Yes – unless, perhaps, you are the person who has to dress up as the clown and die horribly.


    WWTWM – I explained what it had to do with everything.

    No, not buying it that time either. The quote speaks of not just of war, which you seem to kinda like, but continual warfare.

    And we are seeing as we are in the longest war in US history right now, the war that brought us gems like the Patriot Act and massive civil surveillance, you really think it is not relevant to our age? Oh yeah?

  • PersonFromPorlock

    ‘War’ is maybe the original excuse for overweening state power, but ‘welfare’ works just as well. Especially once those who love power are joined by those who love profit. Madison simply hadn’t had the opportunity to find this out.

  • Laird

    The Madison quotation is simply a version of Randolph Bourne’s famous remark that “war is the health of the state”. It was ever thus. Yes, we haven’t had a major international conflict since WWII (with the possible exception of the Korean War), but that hasn’t stopped the US (especially) from using the numerous localized conflicts in which we have been engaged (Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iran, etc.) to expand the reach and power of the federal government. And when “hot” war wasn’t sufficient to the task we’ve relied on war surrogates: the “wars” on poverty, drugs, terrorism, etc. It’s no accident that these have all been characterized as “wars”, and since all have been used as vehicles for governmental growth it’s also no accident that we are in no danger of actually “winning” any of them.* They all satisfy Madison’s requirement that they be “continual”.

    In modern times we’ve expanded upon the definition of “war”, but that doesn’t make Madison’s comment any less valid today. In fact, it merely reinforces it.

    * Only the war on civil liberties is going well!

  • John K

    Is not the welfare state part of the War on Poverty?

  • Mr Ed

    Indeed John, it’s main weapon is ‘wealth’.

  • Laird

    My point precisely, John K.

  • veryretired

    While the discussion is certainly appropriate and relevant, there is a larger context that is not being mentioned.

    It is more than just the overall expenditures for war that cause the problem, nor is it the specific occasion of open warfare, but rather the relentless pressure of collectivist elements both foreign and domestic that warps and twists our conceptions of what activities are or aren’t appropriate for the state to perform.

    Warfare is a convenient focal point because it is the ultimate crisis, especially the conflicts, both hot and cold, of the last half of the 20th century. But it is a standard tactic of the collectivist program to categorize any issue that is seen as a possible avenue for the expansion of state power as a crisis requiring quick and massive action by the state.

    The imperial pretensions of the Great Powers collapsed into the carnage and destruction of WW1, and the vacuum created was filled with multiple experiments regarding the nature and functions of the state. The resulting constructs were universally collectivist, across the globe, based on the prevailing theories developed during the previous century in reaction to the heresies of the Enlightenment’s rationalism and individualism.

    The endless warfare, and internal crises that allegedly required the mobilization of society’s resources under government control to address them, resulted in a tremendous warping effect on the cultural structures of any society which had previously attempted to maintain a larger role for the individual, and minimize the power of the state.

    As Paul has pointed out, the intellectual leadership of the individualist communities defected to the collectivist theories of the statist communities, and the growth and spread of those ideas can be seen as foretelling, and paralleling, the subsequent growth and spread of the state and it’s role in society.

    We have become enmeshed in the expanding web of collectivist government because ideas have consequences, and the acceptance of the idea of the state as the final arbiter in all areas of all questions and problems occurred in the minds of the cultural elites long before it became an accepted practice in every day society.

    Even as the “free world” was winning enormous victories over fascism, militarism, and Marxism in the last 60 years of the 20th century, we were losing an intellectual war that many didn’t even realize was occurring.

    We are at the end game of that conflict now. Just as the imperial, aristocratic order collapsed in suicidal conflict a century ago, now the omnipresent collectivist state faces its own failings, and reels toward an inevitable accounting of its predations, follies, and sheer incompetence.

    We, and our children, are here at the transition from one social era to another. If that transition is to be toward more individual rights and freedoms, then we must win the intellectual and moral debates that form the basis for the succeeding social designs.

    The future lies there in the gutter, where the bankrupt fallacies of the collectivist era have thrown it. Pick it up.

  • Paul Marks

    I agree with a lot of what veryretired says here – although I hope he would agree that not all the powers were equally to blame in the First World War (the classic mistake of language that David Lloyd George made after the war by saying “we all fell into it together” – thus giving a gift to German propagandists, enabling them to snatch something from defeat).

    Take France – although large areas of France were occupied by Germany before 1914, it was not (as one sometimes sees in television shows) France that declared war on Germany – it was Germany that declared war on France.

    I have seen large books on the First World War that do not even include the text of the German Declaration of War on France – why not? It is because the German Declaration of War was a tissue of lies, it even has the French bombing Bavaria (in 1914).

    We can not grasp the future if we are deceived about where we are – and how we got here.

    For example if we believe the Vulgar Marxist account of the reason the United States entered World War One (given on the “Ludwig Von Mises” Institute post about “Galbraith was right” about advertising) that America went to war to benefit the banker J.P. Morgan and the shipping and munitions companies – then we are trapped in a Marxist way of thinking.

    And the future is poisoned by this false understanding of the past and of the present.

    Yes – we must free ourselves of the doctrines of the collectivists, and that must include their account of the past (and present).

    As for war.

    The American thinks of war as a temporary condition – it occurs till the Indian nomads are defeated.

    To a traditional European war was not seen in this way.

    In AD 455 the Roman Empire finally gave up trying to ban the private ownership military weapons or training with them (with barbarians all over the place arresting someone from the “crime” of defending themselves was a bit much).

    From the time of Charles the Bald (ninth century) private armies and private fortresses were accepted as the norm (perfectly legal) in France – war was not the “health of the state” the endless wars (against Vikings, Muslim raiders, Magyars and so on) had ended the State (even as Charles the Great would have understood it – let alone the Romans) and given birth to “Feudalism” (with its doctrine that even the King could not steal land – and that people had the right, indeed the duty, to kill him if he tried).

    It is no accident that the first centuries after Rome fell were ones of economic (as well as political) collapse (indeed such things as pottery, tile making and the size of cattle is worse, for centuries, after Rome than it was BEFORE the Roman Empire). As any ruler(any barbarian warlord)could take land (could take anything) so there was little reason for long term investment (why bother – you could lose everything tomorrow). It is only when a different system started to emerge (ironically because of the WEAKNESS of rulers such as Charles the Bald – who desperately needed the support of both Church and secular landholders – who became hereditary landowners) that the long term economic conditions could improve.

    A thousand years of Islamic attacks (going even into the 19th century) and landed warriors deciding who they would swear INDIVIDUAL loyalty to (Price Eugene was disgusted by Louis XIV of France, among other things the first King of France to live permanently in a palace not a castle, so he offered his sword to Charles of Austria – no one regarded this as illegal) shaped European civilisation.

    Why the history lesson?

    Because our own version of the Roman Empire (with its unlimited state and belief in perfect, internal, peace) may be coming to an end.

    Who knows what will emerge to take its place?

    But I hope it does not take centuries of chaos and retrogression to emerge.

    And I hope that people do not see war (armed conflict) as something freakish or the result of some weird dark plotting.

    People must be ready for war – it must not come as a total shock to them (they must be armed and trained).

    War is too important to be left entirely to the state.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Paul Marks @ February 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm:

    However, there was a time when French freedom stood against Prussian statism – see (thinly disguised) Jules Verne’s novel “Steel City” (the 19th century SF novel where agents of not-France go on into a mission into not-Germany to stop the totalitarian regime firing a war rocket filled with poison gas warhead…

    This appears to be a reference to Verne’s novel The Begum’s Fortune. The eponymous bequest of an Indian queen is divided between rival heirs, a German and French professor. Each uses his share to build an “ideal city” in what Verne seemed to think was an uninhabited area of Oregon. The German is a proto-Nazi, who rants about the necessary extinction of inferior and degenerate peoples, and constructs an authoritarian industrial dystopia: Stahlstadt, the world’s largest armaments factory. The Frenchman builds a ideal Ville-France. The German seeks to destroy Ville-France with a rocket carrying a warhead loaded with liquid carbon dioxide, which will quick-freeze the target area, but is thwarted by the French professor’s daring agent.

    While the French professor is not a tyrant like the German, his ideal city is also centrally planned. Neither is an “enemy of the state”.

  • Paul Marks

    Rich – I never used the words “enemy of the state”.

    But you have still got me, as I was thinking of the French television series “Steel City” – not the original novel (which I have never read).

    I also used to watch “The Flashing Blade” (in English translation) – in fact I have got the theme song running in my head (as you have reminded me of French television).

  • Mr Ed


    A standing judiciary is bad, but a sitting legislature is worse! If parliament only sat 4-days a year there would be less time for them to create inordinate laws to imperil the individual.

    Indeed, but here in the UK the Parliament passes, some say, 30% of the new laws ‘made’ each year, the vast bulk are made be secondary legislation (ministerial diktats called Statutory Instruments) which are either made on the basis of a delegated authority under an Enabling Act passed by Parliament, or to implement European Union directives) where the legislature has a system of negative resolution and it often requires a resolution to positively block a new Statutory Instrument, some require to be passed by a positive resolution. So sitting or sh*tting, Parliament makes little difference as they have delegated the power to make law to others, and then there is the political problem of the whipping of MPs so that they seem afraid to reject government legislation.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed.

    I have enough problems with “statutes” – and I would indeed like Parliament to be sit only a few days a year (enough time to pass – or not pass) a budget.

    However, as you point out, the actual situation is even worse than Parliament passing any “law” it feels like.

    The actual position is that Parliament (and the U.S. Congress and….) pass vague “Enabling Statutes” which allow ministers and officials to pass “laws” they want. Vast numbers of regulations (with the force of law0 that Parliament does not debate and does not vote upon.

    It is just astonishingly bad.

    “But the modern state depends on delegated legislation”.

    Then the modern state is no good.

    As for the courts……

    Before the very late 18th century (the Mansfield reforms) and the 19th century, the government courts in England and Wales were the last resort (when everything else had failed).

    Now they are the first port-of-call – I do not think that is healthy.

  • Pardone

    Given that the Pentagon spends taxpayer’s money on NASCAR sponsorship, and “lost” trillions “accidentally” (why Paul Marks fails to mention Pentagon fiscal incompetence and corruption is a matter of him being selective and excusing the incompetence of “his kind of people”) its clearly a corrupt and incompetent state body, one which, I might add, seeks to expand the STATE across the ENTIRE PLANET. This is, in essence, what the US Millitary and Intelligence Industrial Complex does; it expands the power of the state across the globe. The Pentagon is a Communist machine, behaving in much the same way as its Soviet equivalents, wasteful, inefficient, and utterly corrupt (why do you think it has failed to audit itself?)

    The US defence budget is a giant corporate welfare scheme; many defence contractors cannot be seriously called private companies, given they sponge off the taxpayer and certainly don’t pay their own way, lazily living off the taxpayer. Politicians feed of this, via the “jobs” in their states, which are not economically of any value because the taxpayer is paying for all of them. This Mickey Mouse economy is bleeding America dry.

    Also, when you refer to the welfare state what you really mean is the pensioner’s welfare state, because the vast majority of the welfare budget is spent on old folk.

    What it is, in effect, is the young (who don’t vote) being forced to subsidize the old (who do vote). Thus it is a system where the wealth of the young is stolen and transferred to the politically connected old.

    That’s why taxpayer’s money being spent on Viagra, mobility scooters, and penis pumps is a matter of curious silence among so-called conservatives, who decide to pick on the young instead.
    In my view it is criminal the way the young are expected to pay for the old, an appalling Communist edict supported, depressingly, by alot of conservatives, because they kneel and suck before the old voters. The shameless pandering toward the Boomers (Help to Buy is basically Boomer Welfare) is particularly vomit-inducing. Pensioners are the most craven and zealous in taking other people’s money (the unemployed, by contrast, in fact claim very little).

    If you want to cut the welfare budget, you need to slash pensions and other elderly perks, otherwise you are just tinkering round the edges.

  • Mr Ed

    Pardone, just because Mr Marks failed to mention something, it does not logically follow that he approves of it or that they might be ‘his kind of people’, there is no logical basis for your deductions. As for comparing the Pentagon to the Soviets, there is a vast difference, but it is not always apparent, as the links below to a former Defence Minister and Marshal of the Soviet Union and the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

  • Paul Marks

    Pardone – ending the NASCAR sponsorship would save very little, but YES I support ending it.

    And YES I support getting out of Afghanistan (and so on) also. Because it is pointless to be in Islamic countries.

    “Corruption and waste” – everyone always says they are going to cut “corruption and waste” and front line effectiveness (especially in logistics) is always what is actually cut.

    “Seeks to expand the state across the entire planet” – total and absolute crap Pardone. The United States had a nuclear monopoly for years – if it wanted to conquer-the-world it would have done so then.

    While you are spreading your paranoid fantasies about the United States military wanting to conquer “the entire planet” President Putin just put his forces on alert.

    I repeat.

    The military forces of every major Western nation (including the United States) have been in DECLINE for 50 years. So this is all a DISTRACTION from the real issue – the Welfare States.

    “It is just the old people”.

    Oh yes?

    What about the vast numbers of people of working age on Food Stamps?

    There were none at all in 1961 (the scheme did not exist) – check how many people (of working age) are on it now.

    And what about the explosion of people (of working age) on “disability benefits” in the United States.

    Why are there vastly more cripples than there used to be? Of course there are NOT – there is your “corruption and waste”.

    And there is the EDUCATION SCAM.

    Such as the one TRILLION Dollar student “loan” bubble – are that bunch all “old”?

    And the bottomless pit of the “Public Schools”.

    The United States spends more on government schools than any other nation on the planet – yet educational results are terrible.

    Why not end all Federal funding for education (which is unconstitutional anyway) and turn away from State funding also.

    Local schools used to be funded locally – if you really want “control by local people” the local people have to be the ones PAYING FOR IT (he who pays the piper calls the tune).

    Indeed why not go back to the church schools and voluntary schools in the United States – this whole Progressive education experiment has been a failure.

  • Julie near Chicago

    I would like to note another thing to go along with Paul’s remarks above (which are quite right of course):

    This business about the old folks’ living off the backs of the young frightens the *s* out of me. It’s another trumped-up excuse for class warfare. My parents’ generation saw Social Security enacted, largely against their will, and even then the program was sold through deception. By the time I went to work full-time, SS was the law of the land. And I and my generation and our elders were mostly not in favor of Medicare either, but Johnson and his bunch rammed it through anyway.

    Now. It’s not my fault, nor the fault of my parents’ generation (as such–of course there were progressivists and Big Spenders among them) that the Gov is so bad at handling fiscal affairs, and so in love with Phantasy, that we’re in this mess.

    I wish people on our side would quit helping to whip up this kind of generational Class War. It’s just obediently hawking the Collectivists’/Communists’/Statists’/Progressives’ line. I’m sure they chortle with glee every time they hear this stuff being tossed around by the allegedly sensible bunch (us).

    It would be far more healthy, and beneficial I hope, to educate younger people as to how we really got where we are.

  • gongcult

    I forgot the author but I seem to remember ” War is the health of the state…”

  • Paul Marks

    “war is the health of the state” if one confuses health with SIZE.

    I am a lot fatter than I used to be – but that does not make me “healthy” (quite the contrary).

    The French state was a lot bigger after the First World War than it was before the First World War (with all the debt payments to make and so on – government spending and taxes were much higher), but that does not mean the French state was more “healthy” – on the contrary it lurched from crises to crises till it collapsed to renewed German attack (and internal subversion by the French Communist Party – which was in alliance with the Germans from 1939 to 1941) in 1940.

    There is an assumption that war is somehow “optional” – which is often (indeed normally) not true.

    For example Europe came under Islamic attacks from the 7th to the 19th century – so “give peace a chance” was not really an option.

    And take France in 1914 – the First World War.

    The Germans attacked totally unjustly (France did not occupy German lands – actually Germany was already in occupation of French lands). The German Declaration of War was a TISSUE OF LIES (it even pretended that the French were bombing Bavaria – in 1914) and the German war aim was to take over northern France.

    The Germans robbed (and murdered) French and Belgium civilians without mercy – and for the purpose of conquest.

    Americans smother their enemies with AID – Germany had a rather different way of war (they stole everything in sight – even the PEOPLE whom they used as slave labour, and this was in the FIRST World War, not just the Second World War).

    So France had to fight.

    As the President of France said – in the name of the “universal principles” of “Reason, Justice and Liberty”. Who in German academia in 1914 even believed there were “universal principles” of “Reason, Justice and Liberty”? Historicism had dominated German academia (and the German political elite) for decades.

    So to say “war is the health of the state” may sound very clever (very smart, very slick) but, in real life, it just ignores reality.

    Lost wars often ruin the health of a state – and sometimes even winning a war (an unavoidable war) may ruin the health a the state.