Politics of War Cody Blair
A. The first known war dates back nearly 5,500 years ago to the ruins of Hamoukar, which is the oldest known site of a large-scaled organized discovered in north-eastern Syria. Since this time there have been countless documented wars ranging over thousands of years, and still continues today. There have been many theories casted and debated as to why we fight wars, if it is biologically ingrained in human nature to do so, and whether it can be controlled if it is found to be true that it is.
Indications have been made that aggression is one reason that we fight. It was said that aggression became inherited from ancestors by the means of survival and evolutionary adaption. Since anthropological findings claimed that hunters and food gatherers who represented the early stage of cultural evolution were peaceful. This leads them to legitimize that prehistoric man lived in peace. (2) There are many motives to aggression such as hate, revenge, protection of self-esteem, etc. Many of those traits could stem from experiences during childhood, which could resort to violence later in life.(3) Though aggression can be one of the factors behind why humans fight, it has also been proclaimed that it is biologically imbedded in our nature to do so.
According to the Hobesian thesis “was is part of human nature and serves both the internal function of solidarity and the external function of maintaining the balance of power.”(1) Thomas Hobbes believed that men acted upon competitiveness, diffidence, and glory, these were his reasons behind why war was a state of nature for man.(1) His theory has been argued, Margret Mead writes:
“The Eskimo are not mild and meek people; many of them are turbulent and troublesome….here are men faced with hunger, men faced with loss of their wives, men threatened with extermination by other men….The personality necessary for war, the circumstances necessary to goad men to desperation are present, but there is no war.”(4)
Mead has her own theory that war is actually an invention. She uses different example of Indian tribes to give reasoning behind her theory. Tribes like the Pueblo Indians use “defensive warfare” to defend its village but never being the aggressor, or the Lepchas who have no knowledge of warfare, and would simply submit defeat. Depending on the civilization and their motive, “they will all go to war if they have the invention, just as those people who have the custom of dueling will have duels.”(4) Assuming that war is inside us the question becomes can we control the urge? According to the Seville statement, humans have a “violent brain”, but isn’t automatically activated. It needs to be triggered before a human acts on the urge to be violent.(7) The way that we act is shaped by the way we have been “conditioned and socialized”. There is nothing in our brains that makes us act in violently. The Seville statement goes on the say that there is nothing genetically programed in us to act violently as well. We are not born with the genes that make us want to act out in violence, but “while genes are involved in all levels of the nervous system functions, they provide a development potential that can be actualized only in conjunction with ecological and social environment.”(7) Meaning the genes do not cause us to be violent, it is the environment that one is raised in or the society around us that could determine why a certain person acts the way he or she does. Summarizing the Seville statement, we are not genetically programed to fight, but we are triggered by certain actions or events that make us this way basically causing a switch to flip on and off.
B. Men are commonly associated with aggression and competitiveness, these traits may help them be great leaders for politics or armies. Women on the other hand are seen to be less aggressive and be more conservative in nature. So the question is asked, “Would there be