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Sat Jan 11, 2020, 08:29 PM

You've Been Conditioned for War [View all]


We've been taught to accept militarism as normal.
Posted Jan 11, 2020

As tensions escalated with Iran last week, it seemed bewildering to many that the United States could once again be on the brink of war. We like to think of ourselves as a peaceful people and our country as a benevolent force in the world—so why is military conflict a constant presence in American life? The answer reveals an unsettling truth: Despite our positive soelf-image, we have been conditioned for war all of our lives.

Through a combination of cultural forces, some overt and others subtle, Americans are taught from a young age to accept their country’s militarism without question. This conditioning has numerous ingredients. Themes of nationalism and militarism are frequently injected into public life through the media and other institutions, for example, as is a sense of righteousness, a rarely challenged belief that the country is almost always a force for good.

Fear is also a major element in conditioning minds for war. Americans of all ages are often reminded, by their government and the media, that perceived enemies pose a constant danger. The Soviet threat was used to justify military spending and adventurism around the globe for much of the latter twentieth century, validating the warning given by President Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell speech of the growing influence of the "military industrial complex." More recently, through constant reminders of the “war on terror,” Americans are effectively conditioned to see evildoers as always looming.

Few would argue that these perceived threats have been wholly imaginary, but what is noteworthy from a cultural standpoint is that ramped-up militarism is consistently seen as the appropriate response, with virtually no accompanying public debate or serious critical analysis. Militarism is reflexively accepted as the answer, while little is done to encourage a public understanding of the history giving rise to the looming dangers, the grievances of the parties involved, or the complexities of the underlying issues.


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Reply You've Been Conditioned for War [View all]
G_j Jan 11 OP
Kurt V. Jan 11 #1
Snackshack Jan 11 #2
sinkingfeeling Jan 11 #3
Kaleva Jan 11 #6
blm Jan 11 #4
Kaleva Jan 11 #5
Duppers Jan 12 #7