Upton Sinclair: Spending several times as much money to prepare for an even greater war to end war
From Boston (1928)
A beautiful show; with rolling of drums and blowing of bugles, and standing up and sitting down again, and baring heads and bowing them, while the rector of Trinity Church in the City of Boston offered an invocation to the God of Battles, and his son, the Prince of Peace. War and peace were thus mixed up in the ceremony, so that nobody could tell at any moment which was which. The orators declared that the way to insure peace was to prepare for war; upon which program the nations had just led themselves into the greatest war to end war in all history, and now were spending several times as much money to prepare for an even greater war to end war.
She watched with tears in her eyes, while her great-grand-niece, the little daughter of the dead hero. came forward to draw the veil from the bronze tablet. The bugles blew, and the audience rose and bared its head, and the bands began to play “America,” and everybody sang – a sublime moment. The lovely widow of the hero had to hide her face in her hands…Cornelia’s tears were right and proper, and she kept her traitor-thoughts to herself. No one guessed that she was weeping for other heroes who were still to die. For the little boys in the khaki uniforms, lifting their shining faces to the orators and the beautiful waving flags! For the mothers who brought them there, to be consecrated and pledged to future slaughters! For the great humble masses who packed the streets in every direction, and stood bareheaded and trusting, gazing up to the great ones, and believing every word the loud-speakers told them!
A sharp division in the audience, between the many who believed, and the few who knew. To the former the name America, and its symbol, the flag, meant liberty and justice for all mankind; while to the few it meant private property in land, machinery and credit, and the exploitation of labor based thereon. By means of this system, the knowing ones had brought the lesser nations and weaker peoples into debt to them; so America and the flag meant battleships and guns and airplanes and poison gas to collect this tribute to all eternity. That was the reason these busy gentlemen took two days off from business, and built stands and tacked up decorations, and set up loud-speakers to carry the words of politicians and priests and preachers to crowds in the public squares…