“War is the health of the State,” wrote social critic Randolph Bourne in a classic essay as America entered World War I:
“It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. … Other values such as artistic creation, knowledge, reason, beauty, the enhancement of life, are instantly and almost unanimously sacrificed, and the significant classes who have constituted themselves the amateur agents of the State are engaged not only in sacrificing these values for themselves but in coercing all other persons into sacrificing them.”
And at the service of society’s “significant classes” were the intelligentsia, “trained up in the pragmatic dispensation, immensely ready for the executive ordering of events, pitifully unprepared for the intellectual interpretation or the idealistic focusing of ends.”
They are “lined up in service of the war-technique. There seems to have been a peculiar congeniality between the war and these men. It is as if the war and they had been waiting for each other.”
The role of the technical intelligentsia in decision-making is predominant in those parts of the economy that are “in the service of the war technique” and closely linked to the government, which underwrites their security and growth.
It is little wonder, then, that the technical intelligentsia is, typically, committed to what sociologist Barrington Moore in 1968 called “the predatory solution of token reform at home and counterrevolutionary imperialism abroad.”