‘No one is my enemy
No one is a foreigner
With all I am at peace
God within us renders us
Incapable of hate and prejudice.’
The importance of non-violence and the equality of all humans is a belief that decries war while promoting the spiritual reverence of humans and their creativity that wars obviously destroy. If human beings are special because of their creative potential, then war is their enemy.
2. War is the ultimate sense of adventure to feel like an animal hunted down and at the same time a hunter doing the hunting against the other to be killed. This reveals a sense of self-hatred and self-destruction as well as a sense of daring or trying to defy death thus testing finiteness of life.
3. War affords the illusion that by killing the other under legal cover the individual transcends
4. Killing en masse indiscriminately, while enjoying legal cover under the legitimacy of the state at the individual and societal level, killing indiscriminately en masse affords the illusion of spiritual cleansing, removing evil and restoring good as though life is a myth of Barbarian tribes - Beowulf.
5. No matter what naïve pacifist claim, war stimulates economic activity because it places pressure on demand for everything from military hardware to food. Therefore, war serves the higher goal of society. Of course the price paid for carrying out war is that innocent people are killed, injured, and displaced, invariably women and children. Moreover, is war the solution every time the economy contracts?
6. War can serve as a vehicle of bringing down authoritarian or tyrannical regimes and thus deliver greater political openness and social justice in society. War can also serve to bring to power less democratic or even tyrannical regimes that play with the nationalist sentiments of the masses who identify with the sanctity of the nation-state.
7. Minorities and workers traditionally outside the institutional mainstream can be integrated because of the emergency situation of war. But does society need to endure the horrors of war in order to integrate into the mainstream women, minorities, and workers? Is the price of greater social justice more wars which is itself a grave injustice and impacts minorities and workers as the first casualties?
8. War stimulates new technologies that initially have military applications but eventually benefit the civilian sector. No doubt this is true, but it assumes human beings can be creative only in time of war. Nothing prevents the public and private sectors from engaging in research and development to serve the civilian economy in the absence of armed conflict. Furthermore, the new science and technology coming out of war situations are invariably intended to destroy and do not necessarily have civilian applications. I can see how nuclear weapons and nuclear energy are related, how bio-warfare and research bio-medical research are also related, but defense spending is a dead-end parasitic cycle, while there can easily be direct spending for science and technology projects intended solely for the civilian market.
9. Peace organizations such as the League of Nations after WWI and the United Nations arise from wars, as do other peace-oriented organizations that governments and civilian groups support. Furthermore, international aid organizations also emerge or existing ones are strengthened. Are wars necessary to create international organizations whose goal is to prevent war, and do such organizations actually prevent war or are they mere window dressing and a pretext for politicians that at least they tried the multilateral diplomatic route before engaging in unilateral and/or multilateral military action.
On Historicism and War
Regarding the issue of what we know as "the fallacy of historicism", especially as it pertains to the question I raised in my article about the inevitability of war.
Historicism is a topic that Karl Popper developed in "The Poverty of Historicism". This was mainly as a critique of Hegelian philosophy of history, and of Marxian historical determinism, although Popper included Plato along with the two modern German philosophers as the greatest enemies of liberty. You have to judge for yourselves here why Popper the darling of neo-conservatives in the 1980s wanted no trace of any philosophy embracing the "collective" good vs. the individual.
Even if one does not embrace the philosophical argument of historical determinism and dialectical materialism and Hegelian historicism, and even if one accepts the Lockean epistemology of Empiricism and rationalism with its emphasis on individualism as does Popper, this does not preclude the logical conclusion derived from empirical evidence that wars are inevitable for the near future (next two decades), given the realities of today's global power structure, and the foreign policy direction of the key players at the regional and global levels.
For example, is there any doubt whatever, that of current US foreign policy and the outcries of many militarists (Republicans and some Democrats) that greater spending on defense, tougher policy toward all "potential enemies" and greater reliance on unilateralism? The big winner of the US MID-TERM election is DoD, and the trend will be to become more interventionist and rely more on military solutions, This sends the a strong message to the rest ofthe world to militarize and to resort to US-style military solutions. Israel will have no problem with this policy, and neither would Turkey and Russia, in an overt fashion, while others will follow in more indirect manner.
This analysis is not based on Hegelian or Marxian historicism but on the realities of current policy trends. In addition, there is the ever present pressure from the defense industries but also from militarists of various types from ideologues to opportunists. I regret to inform the group that there will most definitely be more wars, but let us hope a larger one as many are hoping, using Putin as the latest pretext for their own adventuristic dreams of glory, is avoided.
Longer-term, it is not as easy to predict where the human race is headed, and here is where the fallacy of historicism that attacks teleological views both of Hegel and Marx may have some validity. My guess is that wars will always be with the human race as long as there are elites because elites are behind wars, and I have to agree with Sartre that there will always be elites.