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The Big War Debate: Can It Ever Be Justified?


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#1 Elfcat

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Posted 14 September 2022 - 12:46 PM

An unusual post I know as we are all engaged in a game based on a war story far into the future, but then as now the question remains: where is the good in this in the long term?

A pacifist group called World Without War is planning a debate next week on the question, an especially ripe one with the goings-on we all know in the current reality. Any who wish to tune in can RSVP here.

https://worldbeyondw...win-this-debate

#2 LordNothing

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Posted 15 September 2022 - 12:11 PM

war ultimately comes down to one thing. money.

war is usually profitable for the victor, regardless of the reasons for committing to it. it requires public support however, or the leaders involved will have a very hard time justifying it to their constituents and could be removed from power if things don't go as planned. one way is to blow a minor transgression way out of proportion. being subject to an attack usually is a freebie, because getting support for preserving the current "way of life" is always a win for would be war mongers.

ultimately the people who decide whether or not to go to war who tend to make the biggest profits. while it does cost money to go to war, one has to ask "who's money". politicians will gleefully send young people into battle at the expensive of the tax payer's money. money which could be used to improve their quality of life in terms of public infrastructure and services. while the leaders may also be subject to taxes, they tend to make way more income from stocks in war contractors, who also turn a profit and also provide some incentive to get involved in a war.

there usually is a post war plan as well. say to milk the defeated nation for additional funds. war reparations and such. and to re-direct their natural resources to your economy, usually for peanuts or nothing at all. this is no doubt what russia planned to do with ukraine. they fight like beasts to preserve their way of life. even for them its about money, they simply dont want russia to have their wealth.

this theory also explains the lack of nuclear war, despite some really unhinged governments having access to warheads. what good is turning a profit if there is nothing left to buy? there is no way to profit in a nuclear war unless you have a near perfect missile shield and homeland security to prevent operatives from planting warheads manually. even then you will cripple the world economy and reduce your overall quality of life greatly or even completely undermine the planet's ability to support life. there's just no money in that.

anyone who actively tries to stop war, will just find themselves very poor and without power. sure things will be better for everyone if we gave up on war today. but it just takes human nature to create one who will try and capitalize on the situation, and here we are at war again. you want to really stop war, make all nuclear weapon designs open source.

#3 ScrapIron Prime

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Posted 15 September 2022 - 01:21 PM

Ultimately, the only way to get humans to coexist nicely is for a central authority to force them to do it under threat of some penalty. Laws, basically. Short of the whole planet being under one government, I'm not sure how you would practically achieve this.

#4 LordNothing

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Posted 15 September 2022 - 04:53 PM

a big monolithic government is likely going to be its own can of worms. there might be no war as we know it. with no outside enemy to focus the frustrations of the population on, you are going to have a world beset by considerable internal strife. especially if the government is intrinsically corrupt. even if it is stable or widely popular, its going to have its fair share of malcontents who simply want to tear it down. you are going to have a lot of terrorism and assassinations of government officials. this may lead to a police state of sorts. if it goes down the path of an orwellian dystopia, you might be better off with war.

#5 ScrapIron Prime

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Posted 15 September 2022 - 06:26 PM

View PostLordNothing, on 15 September 2022 - 04:53 PM, said:

... you might be better off with war.


Most folks who have seen one up close would disagree. I dislike the idea of a dystopia same as the next guy, but the only thing worse than a starving child is a starving child who no longer has all her limbs thanks to an errant explosion. That's... not something you can get out of your brain once you've seen it. Trust me.

#6 The Basilisk

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 06:34 AM

Justification imploys a concept of right and wrong.
Since those concepts are heavily dependant on culture and the concept of acceptable price for a certain gain how ever this gain may be defined the question itself bares all logic and is pointless.

For the sake of discussion...think about how new things are created in the universe and how those powers and the natural laws guiding them can be broken down and down untill they are scaled to how society works and how humans interact.

Its always a sort of conflict and even if we sometimes do not notice it those micro conflicts always destroy something to create something else.

Wars happen when there builds too much potential or when there are factions with a too large bias meet each other so there is no other way to unload this potential than with raw force.

The Question is not how it can be justified but rather how anybody could be stupid enough to think they would be able to opose basic natural forces.

The more you try to opose them the more violent the resulting discharge will be.

#7 LordNothing

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Posted 23 September 2022 - 03:01 PM

sometimes i think that life's ultimate purpose is to create entropy in the local energy gradients in which we occupy. war is a very good source of entropy.

#8 Meep Meep

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Posted 24 September 2022 - 07:05 PM

Humanity is warlike, has always been warlike and will continue to be warlike even after we reach the stars. It's our nature to be combative and competitive and our emotions are wild enough to abandon logic to pursue pride. We LOVE warfare just look at what we do for entertainment and sports? Everything is competition and combat even if its sometimes in the mental realm and not physical. A more passive species would probably be generally peaceful but then its doubtful that species would ever have discovered tools and the pressure cooker of conflict to advance them. Every major advance the human race has done was always due to conflict. Everything we enjoy today was created out of the pressure cooker of ww2 then on to the cold war. World peace and harmony have always been a song the pacifists sing but can you show me a single pacifist culture that survives to this day?

I know this is from a movie but they pulled this almost verbatim from the books and I agree 100%



#9 Void Angel

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Posted 28 September 2022 - 01:44 PM

It's from a terrible travesty of a movie - though I do like the book. But Heinlein isn't advocating warfare as a way of life, or military service as the epitome of civic virtue. The point of this scene in the book is that military service (which in their society is required to vote, but not to exercise the other rights we may associate with citizenship) is that someone who has completed a term of government service (not necessarily the "traditional" military) has demonstrated a basic willingness to sacrifice their own interests for the good of the nation, if only in a token way - which Heinlein proposes as the bare, rock-bottom minimum for suffrage. Heinlein doesn't think that warfare is the font of all human progress; he thinks that in a world where armed conflict happens, force is the ultimate trump card, and any society which tries to do without that force is doomed.

But Heinlein doesn't posit warfare as a way of life. During Rico's childhood, Earth is at peace; there are specific explanations about how the government has to find room for anyone who enlists, no matter what their aptitudes are - even if the only thing available is manual labor or medical testing. Competition and conflict does not have to devolve to violence; nor is conflict the only driving force that advances human knowledge. Cooperation is more central to human interactions than competition, especially at a community level - but of course conflict does occur. And in a world where the immoral use of force is a fact, the moral use of force is the only counter. In a world where evil men go armed, only a fool tries disarmament.

The problem with pacifism is the same problem with communism - I would love to live in either dream world, but they are dream worlds. Their success requires that humanity as a whole behave in ways it never has in all of recorded history - even prehistoric paleo-archaeological records indicate warfare. So while I would love to live in a world where no nation harries another with bombs and bayonets, I have to ask what happens when a non-pacificistic culture comes over the hill armed with guns, germs, and steel. An overwhelmingly powerful central state may seem like a possible solution, but it comes with its own set of evils - and they are not necessarily less than war. Between the last Russian census before the Bolsheviks took power, until the start of Russian involvement in World War 2, an estimated 12.7 and 16 million people were murdered by the Stalinist government via outright murder, social scapegoating, and neglect. That's more civilian casualties in Russia than during World War II.

So to achieve pacifism, you have to get all of mankind's groups to act in a way they have never acted; or else you need a government equipped with both a power and an enduring incurruptibility never before seen on earth. I have no problem with anyone who wants a less violent world, and works toward that end - it's a worthwhile work, but I have my doubts that we'll ever fully get there. I'll only oppose them in one thing; don't try to take away people's weapons. A truly pacifistic society cannot be obtained by banning violence - it will only come about when the tools of violence are still available, but have become unwanted through disuse.

Edited by Void Angel, 28 September 2022 - 05:21 PM.






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