The U.S. government's prime enemy in the War on Terror is not a shadowy mastermind dispatching suicide bombers. It is the informed American citizen.
With Manufacturing Militarism, Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall detail how military propaganda has targeted Americans since 9/11. From the darkened cinema to the football field to the airport screening line, the U.S. government has purposefully inflated the actual threat of terrorism and the necessity of a proactive military response. This biased, incomplete, and misleading information contributes to a broader culture of fear and militarism that, far from keeping Americans safe, ultimately threatens the foundations of a free society.
Applying a political economic approach to the incentives created by a democratic system with a massive national security state, Coyne and Hall delve into case studies from the War on Terror to show how propaganda operates in a democracy. As they vigilantly watch their carry-ons scanned at the airport despite nonexistent threats, or absorb glowing representations of the military from films, Americans are subject to propaganda that, Coyne and Hall argue, erodes government by citizen consent.
About the authors
Christopher J. Coyne is Professor of Economics at George Mason University.
Abigail R. Hall is Associate Professor of Economics at Bellarmine University.
They are the authors of Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism (Stanford, 2018).
"Immersed in militarism since birth, Americans have a choice: the blue pill of aggression and self-righteousness disguised as fostering democracy and freedom, or the red pill of truth. Coyne and Hall offer us the red pill and a path to freeing ourselves from the military machine. Take it, America, and put a stop to military glorification and endless war."
—William J. Astore, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Ret.)
"Rich with maddening examples, Manufacturing Militarism demonstrates that the US government constantly emits lies and half-truths meant to shore up public support for endless wars against an endless stream of enemies, real and imaginary. And Coyne and Hall show us what to do about it. Read this book: Democracy is hanging in the balance."
—Roger Koppl, Syracuse University
"This book brilliantly analyzes one of the deepest problems of American democracy: the role of mass media in reinforcing government propaganda that promotes war, intervention and militarism. From Washington to Hollywood, from Iraq to American sports stadiums, the order of the day is inflating threats, inventing enemies, and fanning the flames of fear and xenophobia. Manufacturing Militarism explains why the world that Americans see is so different from the world that actually exists."
—Stephen Kinzer, Watson Institute, Brown University, author of Poisoner in Chief
"In Manufacturing Militarism Christopher Coyne and Abigail Hall offer both a vital rejoinder to uncritical American exceptionalism and this dirty secret: democracies, too, peddle in propaganda. Blending analyses of recent history, politics, and culture, they chronicle a narrative game long rigged—the U.S. government's ceaseless post-9/11 campaign to sell wars we don't need, that people don't otherwise want. Their disturbing conclusions ring as collective alarm-bells for a republic in its long night of peril."
—Maj. (Ret.) Danny Sjursen, Center for International Policy, author of Patriotic Dissent and Ghostriders of Baghdad
"Manufacturing Militarism is a timely and far-reaching study of the role state-sponsored propaganda has played and continues to play in 21st-century American life. Coyne and Hall show how, since 9/11, successive administrations held back relevant information and deliberately misled journalists and the public, damaging America's democracy, national security and international reputation."
—David C. Unger, Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe, author of The Emergency State
"You can't handle the truth! At least that's what your government thinks. Manufacturing Militarism shows how democratic governments utilize their monopoly on classified information to propagandize their citizens in order to enable government actions that benefit the politically elite at the expense of average citizens. Coyne and Hall superbly illustrate how we have been propagandized by the U.S. government throughout the war."
—Benjamin Powell, Free Market Institute, Texas Tech University
"In Manufacturing Militarism, Christopher Coyne and Abigail Hall document the pernicious effects of the government's control and dissemination of information. They describe the 'threat inflation' that characterizes government propaganda, facilitating citizen compliance and shifting power away from citizens and to the political elite who control public policy. More than just a tool that enables government policymakers to enact policies they prefer, Coyne and Hall make a persuasive case that government propaganda is a real threat to a free society."
—Randall Holcombe, Professor of Economics, Florida State University