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Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution

by Priya Satia,
The San Francisco Chronicle, April 12, 2018

One hundred years ago, amid armed combat around the world, Randolph Bourne, a contributing editor at the New Republic, proclaimed that “war is essentially the health of the State.” The moment a government declares war, Bourne wrote, the vast majority of its citizens identify with its purposes. The state, now “an august presence, walks through their imaginations” and becomes “the inexorable arbiter and determinant” of attitudes and opinions. As the masses allow themselves “to be regimented, coerced, deranged in all the environments of their lives, and turned into a solid manufactory of destruction,” the state maintains and augments “the prerogatives of power.”

 

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