War, as the liberal intellectual Randolph Bourne famously explained, is the health of the state. That is, it benefits state officials and their dependents, clients, and assorted sycophants at the expense of the rest of us. Many are impoverished by our policies, but a few are enriched. The beneficiaries are the growing administrative, corporate, and military bureaucracies that oversee our ever expanding global presence, in effect a colonial class. This class pursues and secures its economic and social interests by means of directly influencing government policy, operating as an organized force on behalf of the policy of imperialism, so far with remarkable success.
When John McCain sneered at Mitt Romney's business experience as lacking in honor and the spirit of self-sacrifice, he was expressing the "noble" and highly stagy sentiments of this rising class. Forget the free market fervor of the Reagan era, when entrepreneurs were valorized. The new Republican hero is the swaggering caesar.
Is the Iraq war good for the economy?
Well, whose economy? Who benefits from this war, and who loses? Once the American people realize that they're among this war's biggest losers – aside from the Iraqi people, and perhaps the Iranians, too – they'll turn on the beneficiaries with a vengeance. As their savings are eaten up by inflation, and the equity they labored to preserve and increase evaporates into thin air, ordinary Americans are likely to be quite interested in the question: who's responsible?
As the Federal Reserve pumps more funny money into circulation, in a desperate and vain attempt to postpone the crisis of the Warfare State, the single biggest winners are the banks, the most government-protected industry of all, who are the first to be bailed out of any crisis. Oh, perhaps a few will be allowed to go under, but the big ones will be too big to fall, like Bear Stearns. The economic elite will golden parachute its way out of the crisis.
The main beneficiaries of the present system – what Murray Rothbard, the late libertarian theorist and polemicist, called the Welfare-Warfare State – are the new plutocrats. Think of what Ayn Rand referred to as "the aristocracy of pull," the principal villains of her famous novel Atlas Shrugged, i.e., corrupt businessmen who succeeded on account of their political connections rather than their entrepreneurial skill.
Today's aristocracy of pull is the militarized sector of the economy, which is completely dependent on government contracts. Their political Praetorian Guard is represented in Washington by both parties, and, what's more, their partisans dominate think-tanks of the ostensible Left as well as the Right.
The task of those who oppose the new colonialism, which masquerades as global altruism of one sort or another, is to unmask the real motives and connections of a self-interested colonial class, which, in spite of its claim to the mantle of honor and duty to country, is supremely successful at promoting its own interests over and above those of the nation.~ Justin Raimondo