Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Sociopathy Compounded by Stupidity Shows the Way Forward!

Sociopathy Compounded by Stupidity Shows the Way Forward!

By David Swanson

The Charlottesville Daily Progress has published a version of an editorial by the Richmond Times Dispatch that points the way to peace and prosperity! It begins:

“When it comes to federal defense spending, Virginia ranks No. 1. Defense dollars account for one-third of the state’s economy. That’s why the budget sequestration cuts of 2013 affected Virginia more deeply than most states. And it’s also why the budget deal the president signed is such good news.”

Eleven months ago, the Charlottesville City Council passed a resolution opposing this shifting of spending from most other projects to militarism, on the grounds that the same funding could pay for far more useful and moral things, and the same funding could have a much better economic impact — that, in fact, military spending is a drain on jobs and economic life even in comparison with tax cuts for working people,

But the corporation owning Charlottesville’s only daily newspaper declares, undeterred by either facts or morality:

“The National Defense Authorization Act includes a $700 billion budget for the Pentagon. The Greater Charlottesville region already profits from defense spending, and new military research and production projects could bring even more benefits. In 2016, defense spending poured nearly $1.8 billion into the local economy, both directly and indirectly, through more than 5,000 individual contracts, according to

“As for benefits elsewhere in Virginia, let’s just look at the Navy alone. Washington’s new budget includes $26.2 billion for 14 new warships, $5.9 billion for submarines, and $4.4 billion for aircraft carriers. Many of those ships will be built right here in Virginia.

“Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News is the nation’s largest builder of military vessels. All of the nuclear reactors that power the Navy’s submarines and aircraft carriers are built in Lynchburg.

“And every one of those new ships is going to require hundreds of sailors to man it. To meet that demand, on Feb. 12, the Pentagon unveiled a five-year plan to grow the Navy by 25,400 enlisted personnel.

“Currently, the service’s end strength stands at 319,400. That’s projected to grow to 344,800 by the end of fiscal 2019. Finding 25,400 talented, qualified people may prove difficult. The civilian economy is robust and growing. Military service isn’t as appealing to young people who have multiple employment opportunities. The Navy has asked for $90 million in enlistment bonuses and better compensation packages to retain its current force. Those enticements and the 2.6 percent pay raise authorized in the NDAA may help meet the challenge.

“All of which is good news for Virginia. Norfolk Naval Base is home to the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet and is the world’s largest naval base. That and dozens of other Navy bases throughout the state will see growth in the coming years. A robust ship-building industry and larger Navy mean more jobs in Virginia — not just for sailors but for industry contractors, suppliers, and countless others. A growing Navy benefits the entire state.”

This makes sense exactly in the way that increasing fossil fuel consumption benefits certain fossil fuel profiteers. That is, it will destroy the future of the species of homo sapiens, but in the very short term, somebody’s going to make a buck.

While military madness kills millions of innocent men, women, and children; endangers us; threatens our environment; erodes our liberties; and impoverishes us; we further advance the degradation of our culture by defending it as a “jobs program.” This is a moral mistake of such gargantuan dimensions that I hesitate to point out that it is also an economic error.

Or perhaps the editorialists are fully aware that military spending reduces jobs nationally, but intent on making sure that Virginia gets more jobs than other states.

The moral dimension is less easily circumvented. Profiteering from war was deemed shameful in the United States right up through World War II. Now it is openly and shamelessly promoted by people who may not even be directly engaged in it. Clearly war statues and fascist rallies are not all we have to regret in Charlottesville these days.


David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Help support,, and by clicking here:

Sign up for these emails at


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell On Labour’s Timidity:

What an odd post-Cabinet press conference that was yesterday, from PM Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Prevailing Media Narratives About The Govt Coalition

The media reports the facts…. but that’s not the end of it, and nor should it be. It also marshals those facts and creates a story from them, usually one with a moral that’s implied or explicit. After six months though, it is still unclear just what the dominant media narrative is of the coalition government. Is it Idealistic But Impractical? Is its Heart in the Right Place, but is it Taking On Too Much? Is the coalition proving to be Fractious And Unstable, or is it Surprisingly Adept at Keeping Its Inherent Rifts Out of the Public Eye? More>>

RNZ Explainer: Why You Should Care About Cambridge Analytica

Facebook's shares have lost billions of dollars in value after something to do with data used by Cambridge Analytica. Confused? Here's what it means, and what could come next...More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The (Looming) Nurses’ Strike

It is (almost) possible to feel a bit sorry for the DHB negotiators engaged in the current nurses pay round. Come next Monday there’s every sign that nurses will resoundingly reject the pay offer the DHBs have put on the table, as being totally inadequate...More>>

Gordon Campbell: On A Trade War With China

As things currently stand, the White House has NOT included New Zealand on its list of allies whose steel and aluminium exports to the US will be exempted from US President Donald Trump’s recent hike in tariffs. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Credibility In Politics

Credibility is always such a fickle, unstable element in politics. You know it when you see it, though. More>>

Video And Report: Cory Doctorow Talks Machine Learning And Big Data

International internet and digital technology commentator Cory Doctorow talked about machine learning and big data at the Privacy Commissioner’s PrivacyLive event on 13 March 2018 in Wellington. More>>