This paper was prepared as the keynote address for one of a series of symposia celebrating the bicentennial of the Constitution, sponsored by Mount St. Mary's College, Los Angeles. The symposium was held on November 21, 1987. The author discusses what the drafters of the Constitution meant by "providing for the common defense" and then considers whether the United States has gone beyond their intentions and become a militaristic society. He suggests that the roots of contention about most security issues, including American militarism, lie deep within behavioral models that are neither explicit nor easily debated, and that the quality of the debate, and of the policy decisions we make, will be improved if we endeavor to understand and examine the underlying models that shape our perceptions.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.