Monday, December 12, 2011

Ten Trillion On War

       Twenty years ago, when the Cold War ended in a (fairly) good way with the (relatively) peaceful replacement of the old Soviet Union with a separation into smaller and more independent states, there was talk -- brief talk -- of a Peace Dividend. What we have gotten instead is a perpetual-war economy.

       In the last twenty odd years (no hyphen intended), the World-Wide-Warfare State has hit up the American people for at least ten trillion dollars of war spending.  (And hit up a lot of non-American people with lots of high-tech explosives.)

       If that amount of money had been spent evenly, for the benefit of every one of the three hundred million Americans, on general or personal improvements, that would have amounted to about $33,000 for each man, woman, and child in America, over and above what is now spent on our behalf for highways, medical care, free lunches, social security, welfare, subsidies, and the like.  That's over and above.

       And the current rate of spending adds about $3,000 per person per year.  I've done the math for my family.  How about yours?

       What if we, or our local governments, or even our federal government, had spent all that money, even wastefully, for the benefit of the common people?

       If you are thinking green (as in environment),  do you think we might have had more and better solar power?  Less wasteful oil consumption?  Better-cared-for national parks?  More effective transportation?  Fewer areas of urban blight?  More wildlife?  Better forests and cared-for wetlands?

       If you are thinking green (as in people), do you think we might have had better job opportunities -- things that we could have done for ourselves?  Fewer young people feeling that they have to join the military for reasons of personal economics?  Healthier farms?  Healthier cities?  Healthier people?

       If you are thinking green (as in money), do you think we might have had fewer arms industries but better local production?  Fewer billionaires (hopefully) but a lot more millionaires?  A sounder currency?  A more sustainable economy?

       Are we predestined to be stupid, or do we have a free choice?

       Or is it a government mandate?

       Come to think of it, that is a great question to ask your favorite theologian or politician, whichever you trust the most.

*       *       *

       Yes, this was just off the top of my head, and it shows.  Sorry.  Comments still welcome, pro and con.  Are we predestined to be stupid . . .?


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  2. Thanks, Anonymous.

    And thus we normalize the police state, telling ourselves that we want it, even paying for it, because it makes us feel more secure. After all, each of those inexpensive items has real security benefits, doesn't it?

  3. Americans who don't anything about foreign affairs or care will be easily fooled. I would submit that many of our military and diplomatic/intelligence corps know better. The question is, can we as Christians and as citizens stand behind these people and defend them when they take the risk of exposing the lies?

  4. wow. I could've used 33k over the past 9 years. Really used it. Hell I would've rather wasted mine than given it over to the purposes that it was used for... Thank you Bro Heid for the reminders and realizations of the condition this empire is in.
    I've recently become involved in a youth group and have been deeply concerned by the (lack of) spiritual state of its participants. They are bored to death. I wondered (thanks to some thought provocations from one of my fav writers and natinoally renowned heretics Mr. Rob Bell) how do you make children of the empire interested in Jesus the Nazerene? -The guy who seemingly and briliantly subverted the Roman empire and its cohort the religious establishment at every turn. I have some ideas that are working, but any obvious thoughts on your end? (open to all)

  5. @Kirk.

    I'm always interested in good ideas, and I'm working on a few of my own.

    I just made a painful post 'Killing The Bill Of Rights,' which I urge you to read.

    There are some ways to "practice resurrection," now that we know that something is truly dead.