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Rising Sun*
03-23-2009, 09:21 AM
..

Forget about the wars where a nation was forced, or thought it was forced, to defend itself.


In all the other wars, which by definition were wars of aggression, was there any enduring benefit to the nation which started it? Or to the target nation?

And by 'enduring', I mean up to today and for the foreseeable future.

Alexander, Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler, and countless others over the centuries all had their great victories.

So how come that the Greeks are confined pretty much to their original lands (yes, I know that classical Greece was very different, but modern Greeks don't know or won't accept that because it stuffs up their claims about Greek nationality), bitterly disputing minor border and name issues with their neighbours in a nation of no international significance; the Mongols are exactly where; the French are confined pretty much to where they started (yes, I know they started further east and are about as French as the Greeks are Greek) and are of international significance mostly as spoilers and pains in the arse; the Germans are confined to their lands (yes, I know their history too, which is about as homogenous as the Greeks and French) without attracting any of the problems and odium the Greeks and French manage to attract; and countless others still fight as do the Basques and many other small groups in various parts of the world?

In a century or two, will any of it matter to anyone who isn't locked into some obscure historical or nationalist sentimental argument of the sort which has allowed some conflicts to continue to today, and for the foreseeable future?

Apart from advancing the interests of the ruling, or merchant, or money lending, or industrial classes, what war of aggression has delivered any lasting benefit to the nation which fought it and or to the people of that nation, and which has been worth the cost on all sides?

32Bravo
03-23-2009, 10:44 AM
You seem to have covered most of the angles for arguing that the answer is no.

However,one could argue that both Japan and Germany are better off today than they were in 1939. I would argue that the Marshal Plan put Germany on a far better footing than it had ever been before and Japan as emerged as a modern industrial society. Regime change etc. Yes, of course, but both nations are arguably better off - i.e. they have greater economic and political power.

http://www.oecd.org/document/10/0,3343,en_2649_201185_1876938_1_1_1_1,00.html

Amrit
03-23-2009, 11:18 AM
Depends how you define original lands. Geography changes little over time in relation to the cultural and ethnic changes that occur on that land.

And you are defining the populations of modern states and retrospectively applying that definition on the inhabitants of that land. Yes there may be a degree of continuity for the cultures occupying a land now, and a given period in history, but that doesn't mean that they are the same people.

Take the United Kingdom for example. The Scots still ocuppy Scotland, the Irish Ireland, the Welsh Wales etc. But are the same peoples as they were when they were seperate entities?

A more glaring example would be India (and Pakistan and Bangladesh). Before the British colonised the country from the C17th, India did not exist as a country, culture or ethnicity. It still doesn't, though geo-politically it is now understood to be three countries. In that context, the wars fought by the British to slowly claw more and more of the princely states away from indigenous control, expanded both the physical area of what they started seeing as India, the ideological idea of an Indian state.

pdf27
03-23-2009, 11:39 AM
Plenty of examples of lasting change from wars of conquest - of which the United States is probably the most obvious. The other big one is China - that started out as a minor state in the middle of the modern country, which kind of morphed into a single country (arguably an empire).

32Bravo
03-23-2009, 01:02 PM
Take the United Kingdom for example. The Scots still ocuppy Scotland, the Irish Ireland, the Welsh Wales etc. But are the same peoples as they were when they were seperate entities?




No, the Scots were Irish invaders.


The Achiens of the time of Homer were most certainly not Doric Greeks of the 5th Century B.C.E. and so on.

However, if we are measuring changes over centuries, millenia even, then none of it really matters. Sooner or later the planets environment will probably collapse and rebuild itself and the human race will probably havevanished.

So, is war futile?

Uyraell
05-09-2009, 04:29 AM
No, the Scots were Irish invaders.


The Achiens of the time of Homer were most certainly not Doric Greeks of the 5th Century B.C.E. and so on.

However, if we are measuring changes over centuries, millenia even, then none of it really matters. Sooner or later the planets environment will probably collapse and rebuild itself and the human race will probably have vanished.

So, is war futile?

To be honest, my view is that war is inevitable.
It is a fundamental element in the human species, just as conflicts over various resources are fundamentally integral to the natures of most other species on earth, though most commonly among mammals.

Granted, Humanity as a species has turned war from an Artform into a fully-fledged Science, and over the millenia the bases upon which wars were/are fought have evolved inline with societal evolution, but that's about the only germaine pairing of distinctions.

Addressing the issue of futility is a fraught task.
The plain fact is that in evolutionary terms, war and warfare have been the stimulus of the bulk of humanity's technological advances, either in furthering the ability to go to war and win, or in hoping to prevent the necessity of war.
Arguably, therefore, war is a necessity, in the above context, for all that it is seen as either undesirable or futile. Hence my describing the issue as fraught.

Anthropologically: for all that the modern world views war with as much distaste as our various ancestors: war is itself without doubt an absolute evolutionary necessity.

Respectful Regards, Uyraell.

Rising Sun*
05-09-2009, 05:45 AM
[FONT="Georgia"]The plain fact is that in evolutionary terms, war and warfare have been the stimulus of the bulk of humanity's technological advances ...

That's often said, but I don't think it withstands serious scrutiny.

For example, WWII is often credited with the development of penicillin. Its history really relates purely to scientific observation and development unrelated to and long before WWII, although its development is often said to have been accelerated by WWII because of the need to treat infection in war wounds. There is a degree of truth in that after mid-1941 when Florey went to America, which was not then involved in the war, to receive help in developing it, but he went there because the war demands in Britain actually reduced the resources available to develop penicillin.

If we look at other technological innovations, from aqueducts to surgery to vaccination to astronomy to sanitation to the internal combustion engine to powered flight and on and on, they were all developed for civilian needs or by curious scientists and others. There is no question that many of these innovations were adapted to war purposes in one way or another, but the stimulus for their development was civilian need and human / scientific curiousity, not the prospect of or desire to use them in war.

Uyraell
05-09-2009, 09:25 AM
My friend, the matters you raise are the reason I paraphrased "to negate the necessity for war", also.
Example here is the Wright Brothers. They had felt that the aeroplane would make war itself unthinkable: much as the eventuality of nuclear warheads on missiles made "Global War" in the WW1 and WW2 sense of troops in battle an almost redundant concept.

Of course, humans being what they are, wars went ahead, absent the nukes, which then became the Ultimate Big Stick, and thus morally unusable.
The Wright brothers had thought the aeroplane to be that Big Stick. As Holland, the inventor of the first truly successful submarine, had felt his machine to be the Big Stick. Holland's great rival, Lake, had designed his vessels for harbour clearance, i.e. unfouling lines from wrecks and such. Lake's purpose had been civilian in origin.

Other examples certainly exist, and your point about penicillin is a very valid one, echoed by certain other events.

Nonetheless, I hold that war is anthropologically innate to humanity, and thus as with any nature-driven behaviour, must have some valid evolutionary purpose beyond merely culling surplus populations or streamlining the gene-pool as conflict does among other mammals. Innovation and technological advance certainly do benefit greatly from the stimulus warfare often provides.

Respectful Regards, Uyraell.

Rising Sun*
05-09-2009, 10:25 AM
Nonetheless, I hold that war is anthropologically innate to humanity, and thus as with any nature-driven behaviour, must have some valid evolutionary purpose beyond merely culling surplus populations or streamlining the gene-pool as conflict does among other mammals. Innovation and technological advance certainly do benefit greatly from the stimulus warfare often provides.

Maybe.

Or is just some sort of genetically transmitted social organisation, like an ant colony, where a few at the top control the rest of the drones while human drones maintain the illusion that they are capable of independent action?

There are very few examples in history of international wars being started by average people.

I think there was a medieval one between France and England which grew out of conflicts between fishermen from each nation over fishing territory. I can't think of any others.

Most of the time it's the rich and powerful perverting things like national pride and patriotism to get the poor and powerless to sally forth in the interests of the rich and powerful. And when that doesn't work, the rich and powerful conscript them. That's why the rich and powerful remain so, because of the golden rule: Them with the gold, make the rules.


"Nazi leader Hermann Goering, interviewed by Gustave Gilbert during
the Easter recess of the Nuremberg trials, 1946 April 18, quoted in
Gilbert's book 'Nuremberg Diary.'

Goering: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some
poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that
he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece.

Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in
England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is
understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who
determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the
people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or
a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some
say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the
United States only Congress can declare wars.

Goering: Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the
bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them
they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of
patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in
any country."

Uyraell
05-09-2009, 03:28 PM
Very fair and valid points, and it is difficult to debate them.

Goering was one of the most cynical men ever to have served any nation.
From memory, the same Gilbert book illustrates Goering rather chillingly. There is a section wherein Roehm is discussed. Goering, without a blink, says of Roehm: "Quite simply, the man was in my way."
(additional reference: "Marshal without Glory". This book, in my possession, also accurately details the Roehm reference by Goering. It was IIRC, written in 1948, from notes taken during conversations with Goering in 1945, early 1946.)

I'm not certain the drone and illusion analogy applies. If one accepts the implicit premise, then both Sartre and John Stewart Mill are wrong.
And if they are, we're left with Heigel, Descartes, Jung.
Which means humanity re-creates its' own collective image from a collective consciousness, regardless of individual awareness of the collective consciousness. The drone analogy presupposes an awareness of the collective consciousness that has yet to be proven, various historic orators, demagogues and rhetoreticians notwithstanding.

On that point, I rest my consideration of societal dronehood, for the time being.;)

Which brings me back to war and it's anciliary activities as being innate to not only humanity, but mammals in general.

Respectful Regards RS*, Uyraell.

Rising Sun*
05-10-2009, 09:27 AM
I'm not certain the drone and illusion analogy applies. If one accepts the implicit premise, then both Sartre and John Stuart Mill are wrong.

I don't have any difficulty with any proposition that Sartre was wrong about anything, but that's only because I don't understand him. He seems to me to be guilty of laying the foundations for the even more obscure philosophy of Derrida and the deconstructionists who have managed to deprive everything of meaning, sense, coherence, purpose and, most of all, intelligibility. Their convoluted ramblings make Wittgenstein seem almost lucid.


And if they are, we're left with Heigel, Descartes, Jung.

Much so-called philosophy is one or more of intellectual self-indulgence using big words; or informed common sense using big words; or rampant bullshit using big words; or just big words masquerading as something important. The Bible and Shakespeare reduced to a few words or lines most of the important concepts in human and social behaviour. Philosophers tend to say the same thing in a few hundred thousand words, and lose the concept and clarity in the process.

Here is all anyone needs to know about philosophers and philosophy. ;) :D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQycQ8DABvc

Which came out of the deep consideration of the history of human thought by the assembled philosophers of the of the world renowned Department of Philosophy at the University of Woolloomooloo in Australia. ;) :D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f_p0CgPeyA



Which means humanity re-creates its' own collective image from a collective consciousness, regardless of individual awareness of the collective consciousness. The drone analogy presupposes an awareness of the collective consciousness that has yet to be proven, various historic orators, demagogues and rhetoreticians notwithstanding.

Why would a drone, whose function is to perform certain tasks for the colony, be aware of anything as abstruse as a collective consciousness or of other things above its station? Any more than the proles were in medieval societies and, to varying degrees in varying nations, right up to the end of WWII? And even now in a fair part of the world based on class, clan, tribe and religion. They were just parts of the collective consciousness with no awareness of any other consciousness, as illustrated by the lemming-like (yes, I know lemmings donít really do it, but itís a useful expression) rush to the colours in so many wars.

The tiny proportion of people who were conscientious objectors were the ones who exercised free will. They were also the ones who were put under duress by the collective consciousness to conform with, in the West, the demands for conformity with the collective consciousness by enlisting to fight in a war to ensure that authoritarian regimes were defeated to preserve the greatest value of Western democratic societies, being freedom of the individual. As long, apparently, as the exercise of that freedom didnít offend the prevailing collective consciousness as represented by society and government pursuing interests against which the individual was not permitted to object, even when it came down to deciding whether or not he wanted to offer and sacrifice his life for the interests supported by the collective consciousness.



Which brings me back to war and it's anciliary activities as being innate to not only humanity, but mammals in general.

Which mammals?

Some apes engage in a form of war.

I canít think of any other mammals which do, as distinct from pack behaviour in some species.

Iíve always thought that humans are the only mammal which routinely engages in warfare, or even mass violence, against its own species. Most other species hunt other species. Humans do both.

Uyraell
05-12-2009, 05:09 AM
An extremely well reasoned post, my friend.

I'll deal with the Philosophy as portrayed by Cleese and Co. first. :mrgreen:
While in college (HighSchool, in American) a few friends and I memorised that skit .. .. .. There were we, one dull afternoon, awaiting the double period of post-lunch English we were soon to endure/suffer/pray to avoid.
So, as was the wont of my friends and I we did an impromptu of that skit, amidst which arrives our teacher, who has us complete it! :mrgreen: We're then informed it was one of the best improv's she'd ever seen.:lol:

Ok, so, to deeper matters.
A certain level of awareness in the drone is necessary, even if not articulated/communicated. This allows it to function. I do however, ponder the level of conscious awareness of the collective consciousness said drone may have: more likely the level of said awareness is more instinctual than conscious.

Warlike mammals: You are correct, various species of apes do engage in activites which are very warlike. Similarly, horses and other quadrupeds will and do engage in combative activities to secure grazing and breeding rights. By logical extension, that is warlike. Included in this is the behaviour of seeking one's rival/enemy in order to engage in combat, and the behaviour of driving said rival from the grazing lands or region occupied.
Taken in sum, I view those as resource-driven, and thus little if at all different in principle from the human activity of warfare.

Regarding hunting, humans incorporate that element into warfare, yes, and few other mammals similarly incorporate hunting as part of warfare, with the exception I cite above of seeking out the rival.

However: I'd say warlike activity is certainly not unique to human beings, and is one factor common to all mammals.

I'll have to think further on the other matters you raise, and post again.

Respectful Regards RS*, Uyraell.