IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

More on “war is inevitable”

I don’t have much new information to add about this idea, but I am more and more impressed by how widespread it is and how problematic.   Even more importantly, to me it is increasingly clear that the idea is simply false, at least as it is usually expressed.  Many people seem to be of the “pessimistic inevitability” school of thought in this regard.  They shake their heads and smile sadly at those of us who are so naive as to think that war is not a permanent feature of the human condition (in fact, they seem to see us as “childlike  in our ways”).   As I’ve mentioned before, they invoke the old saws about “well, you can’t uninvent weapons systems”, “you know, violence is part of human nature”” or “there have always been wars and  there will always be wars”.  The fact that none of these are supported by hard evidence is somehow not enough to shake them loose from their dominant place in human consciousness.  But wait you say, how does one refute the last one?  That is probably the easiest:  there are many things that were part of human life for millenia and which now are gone or disappearing.  For instance, public executions.  There are still a few, but only just a few.  They are on the way out.  Or dueling:  again it happens but not like it used to.  So, obviously, because something has existed does not mean it will  always exist (Duh!).

War is not inevitable.  It results from choices.  There may be strong group dynamics which have an impact on these choices, and those who make the choices may well feel (and want us to feel) that they had no choice…but they always do.  It comes down to priorities (as I’ve said before, and will probably say again):  what is most important in a given situation:  preserving/creating peace and social cohesion, or something else (like riches or power).

So what is probably inevitable in regard to peace is sacrifice, at least in most situations.  You are going to have to give up things that seem to have at least short term, self-regarding value to promote peace.  I would also speculate that the more serious the conflict (serious in terms of stakes, duration and intensity on all levels) the more sacrifice, of various kinds, is going to be necessary.  That is a problem, certainly; but what is the alternative?

IGbarb says:  “War inevitable?  Say it ain’t so!”


November 17, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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