Here’s the most relevant passage regarding the actual demand for peace/war…
The people feeling, during the continuance of the war, the complete burden of it, would soon grow weary of it, and government, in order to humour them, would not be under the necessity of carrying it on longer than it was necessary to do so. The foresight of the heavy and unavoidable burdens of war would hinder the people from wantonly calling for it when there was no real or solid interest to fight for. — Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
This passage has been read/understood by far too few people. Here’s one of the many results…
However well balanced the general pattern of a nation’s life ought to be, there must at particular times be certain disturbances of the balance at the expense of other less vital tasks. If we do not succeed in bringing the German army as rapidly as possible to the rank of premier army in the world…then Germany will be lost! — Adolf Hitler
Cheap talk (voting) was used to choose which individual (Hitler) was able to decide the order (relative importance) of the different tasks of government.
As was noted in Chapter 3, expressions of malice and/or envy no less than expressions of altruism are cheaper in the voting booth than in the market. A German voter who in 1933 cast a ballot for Hitler was able to indulge his antisemitic sentiments at much less cost than she would have borne by organizing a pogrom. — Loren Lomasky, Geoffrey Brennan Democracy and Decision
The Soviet Union outspends us on defense by 50 percent, an amount equal to 15 percent of their gross national product. During the campaign I was asked any number of times: If I were faced with a choice of balancing the budget or restoring our national defenses, what would I do? Every time I said, “Restore our defenses.” And every time I was applauded. — Ronald Reagan
Even more recently…
What’s more important? Rebuilding our military — or bailing out insurance companies? — Donald Trump
Here’s the libertarian “solution”…
Whether our next President is the hawkish Hillary Clinton or a more unknown in Donald Trump, the next Presidents should have their constitutional bindings restored. All presidents should. The limits imposed by the Constitution were meant to be bipartisan. The Founders were very careful not to vest something as important as the decision to go to war to the whims of one person. — Rand Paul, We Must Restore Congressional Authority on Declaring War
When it comes to deciding whether or not to go to war… if you can truly understand why allowing a committee (ie congress) to decide is far superior to allowing a president or king or dictator to decide… then you can truly understand why allowing a committee to decide is incredibly inferior to allowing each and every taxpayer to decide for themselves with their own tax dollars.
Right now we don’t have a market in the public sector. Taxpayers can’t choose where their taxes go. This means that the Invisible Hand (IH) does not determine the order (relative importance) of public goods. The IH does not determine just how crucial or important or necessary or vital or essential war or peace truly is.
The reason that we don’t have a market in the public sector is because virtually nobody understands what markets are good for. Markets are good for allowing more people to substantially participate in the prioritization process. This results in priorities that are far more relevant to society.
What do you teach in Thailand? For a little while I taught English to adults in China. Mostly we sat around and discussed things like transparency.
While walking around Shanghai there were only three things that smelled good… chestnuts being roasted, sweet potatoes being baked and cumin lamb skewers being grilled.