Mass pandemic scares are even better than wars for keeping the populace in line. From Thomas DiLorenzo at lewrockwell.com:
One of the most remarkable articles written about the growth of government during the twentieth-century is “War is the Health of the State” by Randolph Bourne. Published in 1918, Bourne’s essay explained how it is human nature to mostly ignore the state because the state during peacetime has “almost no trappings to appeal to the common man’s emotions.” War, however, is the all-purpose tool of the state to stir up the public’s emotions in a way that motivates it to hand over to the state virtually unlimited powers, abandoning all constitutional constraints – and to subsequently relinquish most of their supposedly cherished freedoms.
But the state has other tricks up its sleeves in its never-ending quest for totalitarian control of society. And do not delude yourself: All states aspire to become totalitarian by nature – it’s only a matter of time.
Wars are very expensive; they generate antiwar movements, fierce political opposition, and sometimes assassinations. And they can go very, very badly. As both Napoleon and Hitler learned when they foolishly invaded Russia.
Other kinds of less risky (to the state) “emergencies” will often suffice as totalitarianism’s propaganda/brainwashing strategies. As the world has learned in the past year, a “public health emergency” (or the perception of a fabricated and phony one) can do the job just fine without the messiness and expenses of war. The reasons for this can be understood by reading the following passages from Randolph Bourne’s famous essay where I have substituted the words “pandemic” or “public health” (in brackets) for the word “war”:
“The republican state has almost no trappings to appeal to the common man’s emotions . . . . The moment a [pandemic] is declared, however, the mass of the people . . . with the exception of a few malcontents, proceed to allow themselves to be regimented, coerced, deranged in all the environments of their lives . . . . The citizen throws off his contempt and indifference to government, identifies himself with its purposes . . . and the state once more walks . . .”