How much of the Department of Education has to do with actual education? How much of the Department of Agriculture has to do with actual agriculture? How much of the Department of Health and Human Services has to do with either actual health or human services? Most conservatives would agree that despite any arguable good they might do, these and other federal agencies epitomize the sort of inefficient, self-serving and special interest-laden mass bureaucracies characteristic of big government. Most conservatives are highly suspicious of such departments’ functions and even necessity, mocking liberals who reflexively defend them as fools whose blind faith in government knows no bounds.
But when it comes to the Department of Defense it is conservatives who are often the most foolish, exhibiting something worse than a mere blind faith in government: The Pentagon has become their church.
And apparently that department’s collection plate is never full. Today, we spend more on so-called “defense” than at any time since World War II, Pentagon spending accounts for nearly half of the entire federal budget and the United States spends more on military-related matters than every other nation on earth combined. Still, many conservatives have illogically accused President Obama of trying to “weaken” national defense. In dollar terms this is entirely false, or as the Washington Post reports: “after adjusting for inflation, the most expensive defense budget in more than 60 years belongs to President Obama.”
Like virtually every other federal department, the Department of Defense has become yet another inefficient, self-serving and special interest-laden mass bureaucracy, which not only characterizes big government–but the expense of which dwarfs almost every other department conservatives regularly target. Just like most of the Department of Education’s functions have less to do with actually educating America’s children and more to do with serving teachers unions and other special interests, most of the Defense Department’s functions have less to do with actual defense and more to do with serving special government, corporate or ideological interests. Read More…