Authored by Dan Sanchez, via TheAntiMedia.org,
Democracy is war by other means. Superficially, it is waged with ballots instead of bullets. At the end of the day, those ballots become bullets. Elections load real guns and aim them at real people. If you disobey the commandments handed down by elected officials, beefy men with shaved heads and Ray-Ban sunglasses will come to take you away. If you resist them, hot lead will fly. Elections are scrambles for control over the service weapons that propel those rounds. In such contests, every faction is trying to point the gun barrels at someone else.
One faction democratically seizes power and influences policy. Members of vanquished factions are shot, caged, or looted at a higher rate. Some of this loot becomes the spoils of war for the victorious: government checks and freebies of various kinds. But then a coalition of aggrieved factions wins the next election, and the tables turn. The expropriators are expropriated until power changes hands again. All take turns as victims and victimizers in an endless round of reciprocal violence.
In this war, all sides are net losers, save one: the government.
That is because “war is the health of the State.” When Randolph Bourne coined that phrase, he was referring to military warfare, and World War I in particular. But the reasoning behind his maxim also applies to the formalized civil war that is democracy.
The State and WarFor Bourne, the State and the government are two different things. The government is a ruling organization that is distinct from the populace it rules. The State is much more than that, and much less.