Carroll Quigley, Civil society, Economics, Freedom, Government, Scoundrels, Security, Social turmoil, Species survival, Tragedy and Hope: A history of the World in Our Times, United States, Weapons Systems and Political Stability
Quigley on Top: Prologue from WEAPONS SYSTEMS AND POLITICAL STABILITY, Part 3.
The following is the third in the series containing excerpts from the Prologue to Quigley’s uncompleted magnum opus, WEAPONS SYSTEMS AND POLITICAL STABILITY that I began in previous posts.
“Any community of persons consists of the land on which they are, the people who make it up, the artifacts which they have made to help them in satisfying their needs, and, above all, the patterns of actions, feelings, and thoughts which exist among them in relationships among persons and between persons and artifacts. These patterns may be regarded as the organization of the people and the artifacts on the terrain. The organization, with the artifacts but without the people as physical beings, is often called the “culture” of the community. Thus, we might express it in this way:
1. Community = people + artifacts + patterns of thoughts, feelings and actions
2. Community = people + culture
3. Community = people + artifacts + organization.
The significance of these relationships will appear later, but one very important one closely related to the major purpose of this book may be mentioned here. When two communities are in conflict, each trying to impose its will on the other, this can be achieved if the organization of one can be destroyed so that it is no longer able to resist the will of the other. That means that the purpose of their conflict will be to destroy the organization but leave the people and artifacts remaining, except to the degree that these are destroyed incidentally in the process of disrupting their organization in order to reduce their capacity to resist.
In European history, with its industrialized cities, complex division of labor, and dense population, the efforts to disrupt organization have led to weapons systems of mass destruction of people and artifacts, which could, in fact, so disrupt European industrial society, that the will to resist is eventually destroyed. But these same weapons, applied to a different geographical and social context, such as the jungles of southeast Asia, may not disrupt their patterns sufficiently to lower their wills to resist to the point where the people are willing to submit their wills to those of Western communities; rather they may be 7 forced to abandon forms of organization which are susceptible to disruption by Western weapons for quite different and dispersed forms of organization on which Western weapons are relatively ineffective.
This is what seems to have happened in Vietnam, where the Viet Cong organizational patterns were so unfamiliar to American experience that we had great difficulty in recognizing their effectiveness or even their existence, except as the resistance of individual people. As a result, we killed these people as individuals, without disrupting their Viet Cong organization, which we ignored because it was not similar to what we recognized as an organization of political life in Western eyes, and, for years, we deceived ourselves that we were defeating the Viet Cong organization because we were killing people and increasing our count of dead bodies (the majority of whom certainly formed no part of the Viet Cong organization which was resisting our will).”