Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

Make Birth Control, Not War


Make Birth Control, Not War | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. | Miller-McCune Online Magazine

Humans — human males, really — are not peaceful animals. They are in fact a spectacularly violent species, and very nearly uniquely so. Despite high-minded modern wishes and the received wisdom of three generations of anthropologists and sociologists, warfare is not an aberration in human development, nor is it a learned, culturally determined behavior. War and its ancillary behaviors — including racism, slavery, mass rape and the subjugation of women — are not cultural problems and thus do not have neat, sociological solutions. Along with terrorism, these most destructive of human behaviors derive clearly and directly from our biology, bequeathed to us by an evolutionary pathway that we share with just one other extant species, the chimpanzees.

War, simply put, is in our genes.

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Author: Bill

Stumbling down the Middle Path, one day at a time.

5 thoughts on “Make Birth Control, Not War

  1. I was thinking more like WWI or WWII; Afghanistan involves a counterinsurgency, which is very much an indirect and therefore lengthy type of war. The world wars, the American Civil War, the Gulf War and so on were all wars of annihilation, and did not drag on like the 30 Years’ War, or the 100 Years’ War, or China’s war during the Three Kingdoms era, and so on. We could find plenty of exceptions, I am sure, but if there is a general pattern of wars of annihilation getting over as quickly as possible, that might be of benefit to all concerned. (Obviously, any short war is still incalculably worse than no war at all. But if there must be a war, let’s at least get it over with quickly.)

    • Yeah. If you’re going to have cancer, you might as well get it over with quickly.

      Nice short war. Now there’s an oxymoron!

      I do understand what you’re saying. However, I find the entire discussion just a bit skewed. Our wars don’t last as long because we’ve become more efficient killers. And we’re pleased about that. What does that say about this sorry species we belong to? I’m for going back, finding the missing link, and cutting the damned thing.

  2. I am not trying to suggest that wars are not awful. But wouldn’t a short war be better than a long war?

  3. “War and its ancillary behaviors… are not cultural problems and thus do not have neat, sociological solutions.”

    Well, yes and no. War does appear to be something inherent to the human condition, unfortunately, but war can take a dazzling variety of forms, some far more destructive and inhumane than others. A pair of books which, together, explore this phenomenon pretty thoroughly are “Strategy” by Basil Liddell Hart, and “Carnage and Culture” by Victor Davis Hanson. Both men are good thinkers, neither is brilliant, but between the two of them a great deal can be learned.

    Free societies, paradoxically, are more likely to engage in wars of annihilation, because such wars get the matter over and settled quickly and decisively. The soldiers in these armies are free men, and they want to get back to their lives as quickly as possible. Societies that are not free– tyrannies and kingdoms and so on– have less intense wars that decide little and can drag on interminably. In these wars, kings may pit their armies against one another, but the soldiers in those armies have little personal incentive in any of it. Sun Tzu’s teachings apply to this kind of warfare.

    I call this paradoxical because free societies are, with scant exception, more just and enlightened than any tyranny. Their citizens are better off, and better equipped to perfect themselves spiritually. And yet, their wars are more vicious. Their wars are, however, quick and decisive, so perhaps there is less total suffering over the long-term. One hopes so.

    “perhaps there is less total suffering over the long-term. One hopes so.”

    With respect, what planet do YOU live on?

    Think: depleted Uranium, land mines, unexploded munitions, ecologies destroyed, years in Iraq and Afghanistan, with plenty of the foregoing and hundreds of thousands of people killed, millions more displaced, and stable governments destroyed to achieve Western economic purposes. It will be decades before anyone we’ve “saved” in the past 10 years has anything like a semblance of a country to live in again. Less total suffering, my ass!

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