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Wednesday, December 19, 20071198120483

World Peace

What is "world peace"? How do we get it? Is it a good thing? Is it a human thing?

Comments

I think we can attain a semblance of global stability but world peace isn't going to happen.

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Thursday, December 20, 2007

World peace will come when everyone has fallen before Great Lord Cthulhu

Or, it will never come has humanity does what it does best, kill. But I agree with Jay, if we can keep the burning at the edges and chaos at bay, perhaps that is best. It's all perception. In the media now you'd think that the last six years have been war torn, while the nineties were one of peaceful prosperity, that is unless you lived in Grozny, Kigala, or eastern Congo, or the Balkans or where ever else. In our decadence, we have a sore perception bias.

Posted by: ElamBend | Thursday, December 20, 2007

World peace is an eschatological concept, not a political or historical concept. The rise of athiestic thinking has led to attempts to immanentize the eschaton, as Eric Voegelin put it, and as Bill Buckley famously repeated.

Modern mass political movements often have become cisterns for the religious fervor which has drained out of the traditional religions of the world. This is the source of much misery, since eschatological goals cannot be humanly achievable, only frustration and worse can result by attempting to achieve them.

If world peace, some kind of imaginary ultimate worldly good, is a politcal (hench humanly achievable) end, then any opponent of world peace is an utterly malign force. Bush Derangement Syndrome is one symptom of this larger family of pneumopathological phenomena.

Posted by: Lexington Green | Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Modern mass political movements often have become cisterns for the religious fervor which has drained out of the traditional religions of the world."

Lex:

This blog...

http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/06/cryptocalvinism-slightly-tweaked.html

...calls that CryptoCalvinism (thought he may have re-branded it).

Posted by: purpleslog | Thursday, December 20, 2007

Holy cow, Lex, the first sentence of the second paragraph is a piece of art worth preserving.

It reminds me of a conversation from a few days ago between and friend of mine and I. He had just returned from the big climate conference in Bali. He expressed concerned for the mass of people who have been attracted to the climate movement who don't even understand the science behind it, but are, as he put it, "so damn fervent, that it's scary."

I've never really let on how much I disagree with my friend's beliefs regarding global warming and such, but it struck me how cynical he sounded after the Bali meeting. Between the cynicism of the Europeans, the money grab of the third-world states, to the down-right Anti-Americanism; he did not have a good opinion of it.

His comment was all the more striking to me because just two days before I saw the "Arrest Cheney-Bush for War Crimes" crowd doing one of their megaphone-on-a-street corner 'protests.' The only reason I noticed was that the verbal part of the show had only to do with America's environmental crimes, Kyoto, Bali and the like.
I thought then, now it has become the cause of the crazies. The conversation with my friend a few days later confirmed it for me.

Posted by: ElamBend | Thursday, December 20, 2007

Heh, hadda look eschaton up.

Not to take any steam out of either Lex or Elam's points regarding the catechism of gw but from what I've seen a good amount of those sign waving ardent followers are exercising their God given fallacy of "stick it to da man" that afflicts many of the young (and I wasn't immune.) In this context the dogma is much less important than the actual ritual.

That aside, Elam's friends observations are as enlightening as they are disturbing.

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Thursday, December 20, 2007

There is no monocausality. A hormonally-inspired youthful desire to raise Hell, meet attractive activist girls (they are so cute when they are panting with rage against the Man) and defy authority under nursery school conditions of safety -- sure that's part of it.

But the initial question was "what does "world peace" mean?" I stick with my Voegelinian analysis.

Posted by: Lexington Green | Thursday, December 20, 2007

War is part of human nature. No big words needed.

Posted by: Adrian | Thursday, December 20, 2007

Small words are sufficient to state the reality, as Adrian has tersely done.

Larger words are helpful to clarify why it is that some people persist in believing in a mythical alternative, and do a lot of harm as a result of their false (or misplaced) beliefs.

Posted by: Lexington Green | Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dan,

I'll see your "World Peace" and raise you one "World Without Crime".

As the extremely learned sages have already commented (yes, Adrian, I'm counting you in that group too :-), "war" is part of human nature.

So if mankind is bound to fight for something, particularly if (a) resources are scarce, (b) egos are bruised, or (c) deity "X" implores them to do it, then all bets are off.

But if we can hypothesize a world without war, can we also imagine a world without crime? Given the emergence of COIN doctrine -- and the increasing imperative of "stability ops" to our expeditionary forces -- how we discriminate between these two questions will be the hallmark of 21st century national (and international) security.

Posted by: deichmans | Thursday, December 20, 2007

We won't be able to end war. But we can end war as we have known it.

History records the increased dispersion of violence in war -- from 0GW to 1GW to 2GW to 3GW to 4GW to 5GW, each generation is less fatal (if no less aggravating to lose) than the one before it. We can assist in this transformation, and speed it up. We can make war be fought on our liking, if not to our terms.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, December 20, 2007

An excellent addition, Shane. A world without war would also have to be a world without crime. Basically a planetary equilibrium that either entails an incredibly pervasive social homogeneity (think Borg here) or a global tolerance that allows, for example, me to stride into Shane's house, snag his bottle of Johnny Walker Blue and be on my way with Shane waving cheerfully at my back.
"That's ok chum, didn't need it anyway!"

In other words the entire idea of "ownership" would have to suddenly dissolve. This is what I'm talking about when I assert the fallacy of social evolution changing or accelerating the basic cognition of human kind. You can change the environment and the environment might well influence behavior but the human blueprint will eventually hold sway. We need to physically evolve before we can even begin to entertain such a notion as "World Peace."

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Thursday, December 20, 2007

"We need to physically evolve before we can even begin to entertain such a notion as "World Peace.""

How fast might that happen?

Relatedly, how long before therapeutic abortion for propensity toward violence/criminality makes the news?

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dan,

I'm not sure I agree with the premise that (x+1)GW leads to diminished violence -- particularly with the regimental structure (and better training) that accompanied 0GW to 1GW, as well as the increased mass of firepower that marked 1GW to 2GW. Only the post-3GW modes have favored "intellectual" energy for kinetic.

Soob,

I would be delighted to have you stroll in and take my empty whiskey bottles -- I presume you're going to deposit them in an appropriate recycling bin? :-)

Posted by: deichmans | Thursday, December 20, 2007

How fast? I couldn't begin to answer that with anything beyond absolute conjecture. In that respect, very long as collective dominance bears the fruits of success now and into the future.

As for the abortion bit, I'd hope to see genetic mechanics before I'd see a mass societal lean toward abortion, personally. Though given the propensity of some to essentially lay the framework for absolute federal reliance, the prospect you lay out isn't at all fantastic. Like gun control, it will lend those that created the destructive cycle of the "welfare" subculture yet another red herring. Eliminate the instrument and you present the illusion of confronting the cause.

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Thursday, December 20, 2007

deichmans,

0GW is indistinguishable from genocide, while 5GW is indistinguishable (by design!) from no war at all. In between, each generation is caused by a scarcity of men that can be sacrificed in battle, so violence is more tactically and carefully applied as g increases. (1GW requires concentration of labor, unlike 0GW, 2GW requires concentration of firepower, unlike 1GW, etc.)

Jay,

A genetic contribution is relatively clear [1,2,3,4,5,6], though I'd imagine there'd be a good deal of self-selection.. Just as those with a genetic predisposition to support abortion are doing a good job politically weakening their next generation by acting on their beliefs, it seems that once embriotic screening is cheap enough, "therapeutic abortion" (not for designer babies, mind you -- just babies without serious flaws -- that is what they will say) will be non-trivial.

[1] http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zVXSYtzO7uYC&oi=fnd&pg=PA81&dq=heritability+of+criminality&ots=jVTWLezMfo&sig=tHY8XafO2d63KBXZKV-FD2ha2LU
[2] http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=zVXSYtzO7uYC&oi=fnd&pg=PA81&dq=heritability+of+criminality&ots=jVTWLezMfo&sig=tHY8XafO2d63KBXZKV-FD2ha2LU
[3] http://www.haworthpress.com/store/ArticleAbstract.asp?sid=MWWMTL7DQLEE9M9VU3NCKP23WCSX8EK4&ID=45271
[4] http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=298966
[5] http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-9125.1997.tb00874.x
[6] http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=n4Xd-8iZVJQC&oi=fnd&pg=PA5&dq=is+criminality+heritable&ots=eoolEthQs_&sig=nWQUjWtFE9oziZZ8bdXxZhU-qZ4

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dan, you provide a plethora of interesting sources to consider. And so Jay's "Books to Read" pile grows larger.

Even given my lack of the curriculum, I'm going to have to endeavor to imagine a future when genetic alteration holds sway over the convenience of "therapeutic abortion." Alteration seems much more socially acceptable than elevating abortion to that of beneficial selection. Maybe I'm being too optimistic.

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Thursday, December 20, 2007

World Peace is something that bimbos at the Miss America Pagent wish for.

Only the dead have seen the end of war.

Posted by: Mark in Texas | Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jay,

"Even given my lack of the curriculum, I'm going to have to endeavor to imagine a future when genetic alteration holds sway over the convenience of "therapeutic abortion."

Ultimately, both are a form of distributed eugenics, and both will create an even more artificial [1], even faster evolving [2] world -- at least in those countries that can afford it and tolerate it.

[1] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/12/16/an-artificial-world.html
[2] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/12/14/what-if-evolution-works-15-000-times-faster-than-we-imagined.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, December 21, 2007

Damn this thread moves fast.

War might be 'deselected' through evolution, but I don't think it will be a conscious effort of genetic alteration or therapeutic abortion. xGW provides the framework to understand how war evolves in an international system of states as these states struggle to survive. Ideas about war change when the usefulness of those ideas change. It's more of cultural selection given a specific structural context, or conditions in the system that make certain ideas about war most successful in ensuring survival. People and states learn from that context, and that might be how they 'choose' a form of war to wage, if they had to at all.

So I think I would disagree with Jay on the possibilities of change without physical evolution. Margaret Mead would say war is simply a human invention, a social activity that can be learned and unlearned. If conditions are right, then we can 'unlearn' war if there is no stimulus to using it as a tool of survival for in the world.

Posted by: Steve Pampinella | Friday, December 21, 2007

Margaret Mead can say a lot of things, because she made up her data.

Chimpanzees engage in war, both in field exercises and terrorist attacks (involving stealth insertions, ambush attacks, and disabling while not killing the victims). Wolves do the same, as do dogs (because wolves do it) and humans (because chimps do it).

http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/09/08/where-does-war-come-from.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, December 21, 2007

Dan,

While I don't know of Mead inventing data, there is evidence of external environments conditioning an animal's propensity to engage in physical conflict. In the Foreign Affairs article below, Sapolsky reports that even baboon 'troops' have their own cultural milieus that do not necessitate warfare among males, even males that are transferred from other, more warlike troops into the peace-loving Forest Troop (of course, Sapolsky notes that much of this has to do with females who make themselves available to all of the males in the troop) In the end, the piece speaks to how the practice of warfare itself is vulnerable to socialization. If chimps can socialize themselves not to make war, why can't humans?

-Robert Sapolsky, "A Natural History of Peace." Foreign Affairs, Jan/Feb 2006
http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060101faessay85110/robert-m-sapolsky/a-natural-history-of-peace.html?mode=print

Posted by: Steve Pampinella | Saturday, December 22, 2007

"While I don't know of Mead inventing data"

Certainly there is debate on the details of how a Meadian view of the Soamoans (a peaceful society of free love) got so wrong. Freeman attributes it to slipsho resource bordering on fraud, and lays the blame at Mead's feet [1]. Orans, considerably more sympathetic to Mead, instead denies that Mead every claimed such a thing at all [2].

"Sapolsky reports that even baboon 'troops' have their own cultural milieus that do not necessitate warfare among males"

I like the Sapolsky piece -- which is why I blogged about it last year [3]. I think you're misunderstanding him. In particular, note that in-group peace is a very different concept than out-group peace. I especially liked this line:

'In-group cooperation can thus usher in not peace and tranquility, but rather more efficient extermination'

Why conflate in-group violence and out-group violence? Indeed, the presense of one mitigates against the other (a mafia-riven society is not able to unite against an outside foe, while a warlike government will naturally tend towards law-and-order policies at home).

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Fateful-Hoaxing-Margaret-Mead-Historical/dp/0813336937/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198375025&sr=1-1
[2] http://www.amazon.com/Not-Even-Wrong-Publications-Anthropology/dp/0883165643
[3] http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/09/06/don-t-get-suckered.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Why conflate in-group violence and out-group violence? Indeed, the presense of one mitigates against the other (a mafia-riven society is not able to unite against an outside foe, while a warlike government will naturally tend towards law-and-order policies at home)."

I agree with the idea that socialization of an in-group is congruent with increasing violence and engaging in war against an out-group. In fact, it is an old strategy of state-building; elites solidify the corporate identity of the state by drawing social boundaries between those who are included and excluded from state protection (Rae, 2005). However, achieving internal unity at the expense of external peace isn't the only way to establish authority. War is only one form of competition in the international system, and if states are socialized not to wage war against each other (as in, if informal norms of cooperation and shared identities presuppose the possibility of conflict), they might find alternative ways of justifying their rule beyond the spectre of an external enemy.

I thought the paraphrased quote below the one you chose in the 'Don't Get Suckered' thread better captured the gist of the article:

"At present, I think the most plausible explanation is that this troop's special culture is not passed on actively but simply emerges, facilitated by the actions of the resident members"

These actions (or interactions) can take place across social boundaries given favorable structural conditions, and lead to a more peaceful outcome rather than inevitable war. War is only inevitable if the relevant actors think it is inevitable, and if they can develop cooperative interactions, over time, war will simply be eliminated from their repetoire of conceivable actions.

-Heather Rae, State Identities and the Homogenization of Peoples, Cambridge U Press, 2005

Posted by: Steve Pampinella | Monday, December 24, 2007

Steve,

In general I agree with your latest post. What I was disagreeing with is not the concept that environment informs behavior, but rather this:

"Margaret Mead would say war is simply a human invention, a social activity that can be learned and unlearned. If conditions are right, then we can 'unlearn' war if there is no stimulus to using it as a tool of survival for in the world."

(I assume you are agreeing with Mead here, and not just posting her thoughts fyi.)

This is wrong on numerous points, including

1. war is not a human invention
2. it is not so much learned as "emerges' (as you mentioned in your 2/24 post)
3. war is not exclusively caused by survival-threatening conditions

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Isn't war, in a general sense, a macrocosm of the inherent human endeavor to survive?
Imagine the base instinct for survival (both genetically and personally) and now imagine layering on the various social structures that human kind has entailed from it's inception in a concentric fashion starting with the most rudimentary social structure, the self. Now add, again in a concentric fashion: family, tribe, ethnicity, nationality, etc.

Human beings collect for the simple means of survival. The bigger the collection the better the chance for survival. I'm certainly not a psychologist or anthropologist but if these concentric social evolutions have a common theme and general catalyst, it's survival. The only difference between each successive circle is the graduating ease of survival from self through tribe into nation and maybe beyond to hegemony for all I know.

I don't see how this can be "unlearned." To me the social structures we have had and enjoy today are an evolution toward the greatest potential for survival and conflict has merely evolved from the fisticuffs of the primeval individual to the mass warfare of the nation in an according fashion.

Posted by: Jay@Soob | Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Jay,

I mostly agree with you, but if the argument you make is taken one step further, I think it becomes possible for war to be unnecessary for survival. You said,

"To me the social structures we have had and enjoy today are an evolution toward the greatest potential for survival and conflict has merely evolved from the fisticuffs of the primeval individual to the mass warfare of the nation in an according fashion."

If we think about the social structures that are emerging now, the assumption that war is timeless may be compromised. We know already that interstate war is becoming obsolete, so what's left are intrastate wars, which generally have occurred in the Gap. This has occurred in the systemic context of the incomplete development of the international state system. Some parts of the system have states (and peace reigns, like in the Core), but other parts do not, and this is where war is confined. The real question I'm getting at is, What happens when the Gap is completely shrunk? What happens when the structure of the system no longer allows groups of different identities to perceive each other as hostile? (If there existed a functioning global executive, as Barnett desceribes in BFA, in would theoretically be working towards these goals. The monopoly on violence established by states within their borders would then be established by this new global executive, which would then claim a monopoly on violence between states and non-states). Today's global social structures are evolving away from nation-states to what you called 'hegemony'. Once hegemony is achieved, I don't think there will be anyone left to fight against.

War is necessary as a survival mechanism only if states perceive the need to use it to survive. If the structure of the system does not constitute states with the perception that their survival is threatened, then I would argue that they would not resort to war.

Dan,

On your three points, you are right that war is not solely a human invention. In discussing war as being learned/unlearned or emergent, I think these are two congruent ways of making the point that as a form of behavior, war changes over time as structural factors change as well. And on the third point, I would add a caveat about the perception of threats mentioned above. No survival-threatening condition can be said to objectively exist in any social system, its all about how actors in the system perceive that condition that determines whether or not it is a threat. Are there other conditions that would lead to war if survival were not threatened?

The desired outcome of war today depends on your perspective: if you're a state, the goal is not the conquest of an enemy, but the replication of institutions that make further war unnecessary and can sustainably self-govern territory. For insurgents, war is about destroying institutions and replicating conditions of war, uncertainty, and threatened survival. If states institutions were able to spread across the globe- when the Gap is finally closed - war might become extinct.

Posted by: Steve Pampinella | Thursday, December 27, 2007

Jay,

"Isn't war, in a general sense, a macrocosm of the inherent human endeavor to survive? "

To survive on one's own terms, combined with a general discounting of the lives of those in an out-group compared to one's self/ideals/group/family.

Steve,

"The monopoly on violence established by states within their borders"

The monopoly of violence is an artificial, unrealistic, totalitarian, European, and completely unworkable idea that has no utility in the United States, or indeed in any state.

"war changes over time as structural factors change as well"

Agreed. Hence the rise in the generational quality of war over time, from 0GW to 5GW.

"No survival-threatening condition can be said to objectively exist in any social system"

?

"Are there other conditions that would lead to war if survival were not threatened? "

Of course. For instance, aesthetic or economic sensibilities.

"if you're a state, the goal is not the conquest of an enemy, but the replication of institutions that make further war unnecessary and can sustainably self-govern territory."

Maybe. Or it can be conquest.

"For insurgents, war is about destroying institutions and replicating conditions of war, uncertainty, and threatened survival."

Maybe. Or it can be about taking over those institutions.

"If states institutions were able to spread across the globe- when the Gap is finally closed - war might become extinct."

There is no war within the core? (Or do you limit "war" to declared, state-on-state, field-army struggles?)

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dan,

There is no more war (state-v-state) in the Core, and Old Core states can't even muster the will or material to sustain any form of war outside the Core (think of France and Germany who won't even let their troops get their hands dirty in Afghanistan). Culturally, they have learned to abhor war and have adopted normative regimes that deny legitimacy to any form of war for conquest, economic or aesthetic goals, not to mention the economic interdependence and shared identity that has war unthinkable. Because the rules of the state system have become culturally hegemonic, war is no longer necessary for survival, therefore it is unnecessary for the continued existence of those states.

As for the utility of the 'monopoly of violence,' I agree it doesn't exist concretely, but is useful in terms of demarcating which actors in society can legitimately use violence. It is artificial, true, but so are states. In fact, a Marxist account would root the monopoly of violence (in terms of someone possessing legitimate authority to use violence) in the division of labor.

I also thought about the Boydian understanding of survival you mentioned in the last comment.

"To survive on one's own terms, combined with a general discounting of the lives of those in an out-group compared to one's self/ideals/group/family"

I think this points to how we must survive on our own terms with reference to an out-group . Within the in-group, our survival becomes more dependent upon the survival of friendly Others. We forego survival on our own, individual terms in favor of survival on the collectively agreed to terms of the in-group. Again, I think the international system is moving towards a point where the idea of an out-group will be harder and harder to sustain.

I should mention that I see ways in which war might be completely extinct. Certainly, 5GW within-state conspiracies are possible, as well as lawfare. Maybe there are other forms of war that may survive, but at least the two mentioned above do not take place in conditions to true anarchy: instead they are mediated through institutions, which are the 'battlegrounds' for those forms of war. Again, these are social structures themselves.

But I acknowledge terrorism could survive as a form of war. Terrorism itself negates any institution's claim to legitimate violence. But if global/national institutions are strong, and they are seen as legitimate in the eyes of their people, true stability and peace may follow and terrorism may be minimal.

Posted by: Steve Pampinella | Friday, December 28, 2007

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