The most succinct statement about how governments get their people to support war came from Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg trials after World War II:
Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
War, and the threat of war, are big government’s best friend. Liberals support big government social programs, and conservatives support big government war policies, thus satisfying two major special interest groups. And when push comes to shove, the two groups cooperate and support big government across the board — always at the expense of personal liberty. Both sides pay lip service to freedom, but neither stands against the welfare/warfare state and its promises of unlimited entitlements and endless war.
Source Ludwing von Mises Institute
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