Saturday, October 7, 2017

WWI and the American Security State

Amid an ugly mood of coarse jingoism, nativism, and racism, Wilson used the war to create America’s first national-security state, including passage of the Espionage and Sedition acts and an unsurpassed assault on civil liberties. During the last year of the war and the years immediately following, there were bloody race riots, the Red Scare and the Palmer raids, the recrudescence of the Ku Klux Klan, and the flagrantly racist immigration acts passed by Congress as postwar America withdrew into its shell. The extraordinary Randolph Bourne forewarned much of this but died in 1918, before he could see the frightening accuracy of his prediction: “War is the health of the state,” Bourne had lamented. “It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense.”

No comments:

Post a Comment