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The Worth of War

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This author makes some interresting points about how war changes nations. Among the ideas presented are the Hobbsian idea that governments that hold absolute power are preferred to the human natural state which is brutal and short. The alternative is the Kantian idea that democratic governments are better because they are less likely to go to war. Another historian said that war makes nations and nations make war. In this sense, perhaps the disease of war is a product of the nation state.

The last part of the book concerns the way the US and other governments spy on their own citizens and keep secret much of the operations of the state. This reverses the 4th ammendment of the US, part of the bill of rights, which was based on the premise that government should know little about the people but the people should know about how their governments are run. After all, knowledge is power.

The book points out that J Edgar Hoover regularly spied on people and used the information against them to accomplish his own political ends. What the IRS scandal and the Snowden revelations tell us is that Hoover was piker.

This book is a good read.

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