What appealed to the Progressives about militarism was what William James calls this moral equivalent of war. It was that war brought out the best in society, as James put it, that it was the best tool then known for mobilization … That is what is fascistic about militarism, its utility as a mechanism for galvanizing society to join together, to drop their partisan differences, to move beyond ideology and get with the program. And liberalism today is, strictly speaking, pretty pacifistic. They’re not the ones who want to go to war all that much. But they’re still deeply enamored with this concept of the moral equivalent of war, that we should unite around common purposes. Listen to the rhetoric of Barack Obama, it’s all about unity, unity, unity, that we have to move beyond our particular differences and unite around common things, all of that kind of stuff. That remains at the heart of American liberalism, and that’s what I’m getting at.
See also, the cover of the latest edition of Time magazine, which takes Jimmy Carter’s 1977 speech that explicitly equaled the reduction of foreign energy reliance with, as Carter said in his speech, “the moral equivalent of war”, and puts the now-expected green spin on it. Sadly, it’s probably not a belated April Fools’ Edition.
(Note that Time probably doesn’t call for this particular scheme, which would no doubt save quite a bit of power and resources.)