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A Brief Excursion into War

April 16, 2011

“Christianity was the first creed in history to exterminate its adversaries in the name of love.”

         (anonymous)

Now I mention this not to point out any deficiency in Christianity. After all, for as long as humanity has existed it has always sought comfortable metaphors to justify its penchant to slaughter its own kind.  No, I only mention it as an especially apt example of humanity’s facility in the use of euphemisms to justify the murder and mayhem of members of its own species.

When humankind first dropped down from the trees like rotting fruit and stood upright to see above the grasslands of North-Central Africa, it immediately set off seeking things to kill. Now some people argue that the first steps on the road to civilization was humanity’s discovery of the use of tools (technology) or symbols (language). I do not agree.

I believe that it was its dawning awareness, that unlike most other species, it could with impunity kill members of its own species, take their land, expropriate their reproduction machines and as a side benefit reduce the number of excess testosterone producers (and potential competitors). It was this awareness that made the creature we call human beings.

As we know, this was God’s way, as He, Himself, tells us in the sacred writings of the Peoples of the Book. For example in Joshua 10:40:

“Thus Joshua struck the whole country. He left not one survivor, as Yahweh, god of Israel had commanded. “

And also in Numbers 31,17.18:

“Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him. But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

Humanity, a symbol using animal, required ever more highfalutin words to encourage this unique behavior since plunder, loot and sex grew tiresome, especially as individuals aged and because about half of the species, females specifically, never completely bought into the idea.  Eventually, this kill and conquer idea began to be seen by some as a scam to benefit a few members of one boy’s club or another. Even killing for “God” loses his savior faire after a while.  So it became necessary for humanity periodically to come up with new words of inspiration like honor, pride, patriotism, national defense, racial purity and the like to encourage enough people (almost always young underemployed men) to go out and slaughter their neighbors to make it worthwhile. And although these words were pretty good at getting people up into a killing frenzy, it seemed as though ever new words and phrases were required to keep the boys happy. No one had thought of killing people for love before the Christians came along. It worked very well for a while.

About one hundred years ago, that group of people currently occupying Northwestern Europe and North America realized  that, in general, people seemed to be getting a little tired of killing one another for love, (or patriotism which briefly supplanted love) so they came up with and even better  one word rational for slaying their adversaries, “Freedom”. Now we could happily kill people to make them free. (it should be noted that killing in the name of god appears to be a Middle-Eastern invention while killing for love Central-Mediterranean.)

Unfortunately, about a score of years ago or so, some people (another boys club most likely) realized that killing people to take their land and their reproductive machines while reducing the excess capacity of testosterone production was only a by-product of another even greater need; the need to periodically destroy the weapons and technology of destruction so that new ones can be made, thereby keeping people at work and happy and the owners of the organizations responsible for producing the ever more expensive killing machines rich and powerful.

Now it is true that the same effect could be had by tossing all the weapons and war material into a large bonfire every three years or so. But since the money to fuel the bonfire overwhelmingly comes from the pockets of individuals through taxes and the like, and while they may be happy to do so for a while for love, patriotism or freedom or whatever, it was recognized, that the people paying for the bonfire may eventually decide to want to use their money to pay for other things than weapons to throw onto the fire. In fact, in the United States of America, there arose a debate on whether the collective funds (taxes or other exactions) should be used for things besides armaments, like roads or health care. This was ok as long as there was enough money. However, when the people paying decided that they did not want to pay more, or even as much as they had been, into the collective pot, it became incumbent upon those whose livelihood depended upon the bonfire to throw their overwhelming financial and political support to those opposed to the expenditure of their contribution of collective funds to benefit any other interest than that necessary to assuage their own fear. And as usual, in the eternal battle to control the hearts and minds of humanity, those with the most to gain win.

As Machiavelli observed 500 years ago:

“Those who counsel a prince have to fear lest he should have someone near him who in time of peace desires war, because he cannot gain his living without it.”

And for those who believe that eventually humanity (often referred to as “The People”) will recognize this and rise up and throw out those who have the wherewithal to understand and use humanity’s genetic blindness for their own benefit, it is not going to happen, never has, never will. Liberalism has never prevailed by revolution or by evolution. What we experience as periods of increasing liberality and freedom are usually merely temporary. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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