Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I've been feeling a political despair. How can there be mainstream discussion about significant cuts on spending on the poor and in need, but discussion of cutting a massive military budget is still left to the lefty, antiwar fringes? How is reducing the social safety net a matter of serious discussion, but reducing the world's largest military budget is barely talked about? And whatever I could convince myself in the past, it is now abundantly clear that Democrats in general are barely less interested in military solutions than Republicans, as we now have a Democratic president proposing and maintaining a massive military budget and continuing to use violent military solutions around the world. So who among the politically powerful is actually going to call for reduced military spending?

But this Gallup Poll (via Kevin Drum) reminds me that it is not strictly a political problem, but a cultural problem. Only 14% of Americans think the military has too much power, 53% think its about right, and 28% think it doesn't have enough power. Twice as many people want the military to have more power than want it to have less, and a strong majority of the country thinks the military's power is what it should be. Put another way, 81% of Americans support the military's current power or want it to be greater.

It is not so much that we have elites ignoring the needs of struggling people to maintain military spending and warfare against our own wishes. It is that, evidently, Americans are devoted to militarism.

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