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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Robert Higgs: What chance does peace have?


What chance does peace have when millions of well-heeled, politically connected opportunists of all stripes depend on the continuation of a state of war for their personal financial success? For members of Congress, the Department of Homeland Security has quickly become the most magnificent dispenser of pork and patronage to come along in decades. Everyone is happy here, except for the beleaguered ordinary citizens, whose pockets are being picked and whose liberties are being overridden by politicians and private-sector predators with utter contempt for the people's intelligence and rights. Yet, so long as the people continue to be consumed by fear and to fall for the age-old swindle that the government seeks only to protect them, these abuses will never end.

--from "The Song That Is Irresistible: How the State Leads People to Their Own Destruction" by Robert Higgs at http://www.mises.org/story/2749.

Here's another excerpt:

The so-called war on terror has given rise to a huge industry that has emerged almost from scratch during the past few years. According to a 2006 Forbes report, the Department of Homeland Security and is predecessor agencies paid private contractors at least $130 billion after 9/11, and other federal agencies have spent a comparable amount. Thus, besides the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC), we
now have a parallel security-industrial-congressional complex (SICC).

Between 1999 and 2006, the number of federal homeland-security contractors increased from nine companies to 33,890, and a multi-billion-dollar industry selling security-related goods and services has emerged complete with specialized newsletters, magazines, websites, consultants, trade shows, job-placement services, and a veritable army of lobbyists working around the clock to widen the river of money that flows to these opportunists. As Paul Harris wrote, "America is in the grip of a business based on fear." The last thing these vultures want, of course, is an abatement of the perceived terrorist threat, and we can count on them to hype any signs of an increase in such threats and, of course, to crowd the trough, happily slurping up the taxpayers' money.

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