Advance to Barbarism

"Americans like to think of themselves as a progressive people living in a progressive age. And yet the twentieth century – whatever its marvels – has been above all the century of total war. Despite the fact that technological advance has made total war increasingly absurd and grotesque in an era of nuclear warfare; despite the progress of preceding centuries in civilizing and limiting warfare, and in keeping civilians out of harm's way; war to the death has returned in full flower. Herbert Spencer brilliantly realized that the advance of mankind from barbarism to civilization could be summed up as a shift from "military" to "industrial" society. Yet, in the twentieth century, we have starkly reverted to the military way; in so doing, we have repudiated the very humanism, the very principles of peace and freedom, upon which a modern industrial system ineluctably rests. This has truly been, in the words of Harry Elmer Barnes' friend and revisionist colleague, F. J. P. Veale, an "advance to barbarism.""

- Murray N. Rothbard