from Kevin Williamson at National Review An Enemies List Is Not a Philosophy :
“The moral equivalent of war” (which is really the political equivalent of war) is more useful as rhetoric than as an actual model for organizing domestic reforms, as evidenced by the failed war on drugs and the failed war on poverty. It is a way to move one’s pet issue, whatever it may be, to the front of the line, and perhaps to suspend ordinary legal and constitutional constraints in the pursuit of one’s most pressing political agenda items. Wilson desired to see the presidency invested with autocratic power giving the executive (under expert guidance of course; progressives treat government as a branch of science) the power to command the domestic resources of the United States the way a general commands those of an army. Modern progressivism, with its “moral equivalent of war” mentality, is Wilsonian war socialism on the installment plan: one emergency at a time. That’s how you get people who think of themselves as good ACLU liberals arguing that we should suspend the constitutional rights of American citizens based on their being on a secret government list, without due process or appeal, as many of our well-intentioned progressive friends seek to do in forbidding firearms purchases by those on various terrorism watch-lists. (In the case of the no-fly list, that would include many people who simply share a name with someone suspected of being connected to terrorism.) There’s no time for due-process considerations in an emergency, when you’re under the gun, when you’re at war, when it’s the moral equivalent of war.
The two world wars of the 20th century required of an expansionist central government that facilitated progressive goals. Peace reduces the need for this central power, thus they seek the “equivalence of war” to sustain progressive central power. We now face the reality that unlimited government is ill suited to solve all of our local, social, and personal problems. The bigger the government gets the more visible its failures become.
Peace has become a headwind to the expansion of progressivism.