Americans love war

October 21st, 2012

Probably so does the rest of humanity.

Here in the USA, we have:

  • The War on Cancer
  • The War on Drugs
  • The War on Poverty
  • The War on Drunk Driving
  • Hoover’s “War on Crime”
  • Jimmy Carter said the 1970s energy crisis was “the moral equivalent of war”

Then we have the “Good War”, war movies (good guys vs. bad guys), war heroes, and countless¬†war metaphors.

All these wars are supposed to be good things. Necessary things.

Whatever else he was, Jimmy Carter didn’t seem like a nasty guy. But think about “the moral equivalent of war”. Was Carter saying that he thought it was OK to lie in order to deal with the energy crisis? To cheat? Steal? Kill?

Cheating, lying, destruction, theft, and murder are all allowed (indeed, acclaimed) in war.

So is groupism that would otherwise be criminal – in war, when the enemy leaders attack you, it’s OK to respond by killing innocent civilians – so long as they’re subjects of your enemy. Or, even, just in the way.

We declare war on whatever we don’t like because, in war, the normal rules of civilized society don’t apply. And people, especially people in power, don’t like to be constrained by the rules of civilized behavior.

One Response to “Americans love war”

  1. Bob Says:

    We also have football. We extol our local sports teams and local sports fans above those from other cities. Our fiction focuses on conflicts between individuals.

    We just like conflicts: us vs. them, good guys vs. bad guys. We find living in harmony to be dull.

    Of course, we prefer to watch the conflict from a distance. Living the dullness of harmony is preferable to being in a war zone.

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