Is War Inseparable from the Human Condition?


Last week military historian Victor Davis Hanson appeared on Uncommon Knowledge on National Review Online. Hanson discussed his new book The Father of Us All, and in the segment below claims that war is inseparable from the human condition.

Peter Robinson starts off by quoting Hanson next to his ideological opposite John Mueller. The quotes are as follows:

Hanson: “War seems to be inseparable from the human condition.” (from The Father of Us All)

Mueller: “War is merely an idea — an institution like dueling or slavery that has been grafted onto human existence…Unlike breathing, eating, or sex, war is not something that is somehow required by the human condition.” (from The Remnants of War)

Hanson’s argument rests, as he says, on empirical evidence. Even in mankind’s most peaceful and just societies we have always had war; therefore, we always will.

Do you agree or disagree?

Either way, what does this mean for the Remnant Culture? If war intrudes on individual liberty but is also inseparable from the human condition, how do we maximize the individual liberty of that human condition without promoting war?

What are your thoughts?

This video is part of a five-part series. See the remaining segments here.

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  • http://A.C.Sunde/ A.C.Sunde

    War is endemic to the human condition because SIN is endemic to the human condition. Evil men will always seek to sin against their fellow men, and when this sin becomes a “culture”, or organized effort, war will be the end result. (An organized “culture” of sin would be an army organized for the purpose of robbing, destroying, and killing another “culture”. Ghengis Khan, Adolph Hitler, etc.) When the level of the sin reaches a certain point, the peaceful and the just must choose: To take up arms themselves to resist the evil? Or to acquiesce to the evil, allow it to do its worst, and hope that some good may perhaps survive? I have heard a teacher say that when Evil reaches a certain point, God Himself will anoint certain individuals to “bear the sword”, in order to put an end to the suffering and destruction. These are not acting out of violent or selfish motives, but are fulfilling an unpleasant calling, to use violent means as a last recourse to end villainy. This calls to mind my own uncle Paul, a gentle 19-year old youth who ended up in Europe in 1945, and was there to liberate the death camp at Buchenwald. He and others of his generation did not choose to be the ones to put an end to Hitler's killing machine, but their “culture” was anointed to respond to the culture of death with the only means effective at putting an end to it. Because Jesus Christ is the only answer to Sin, He is the only answer for war. Until His Kingdom comes on earth as it is Heaven, and takes up residence in the hearts of men, sin will continue, and so will war.

  • http://www.remnantculture.com/ Remnant Culture

    I agree that war is endemic to the human condition, and I agree that those who you call “the peaceful and the just” must respond at times (e.g. as the Allies did against Hitler). Where this gets tricky for me is defining the moment when war becomes justified, even from the perspective of the peaceful and the just. So many people disagree, for example, on the Iraq War and whether the U.S. was really responding when they needed to, or whether they should have waited or not responded at all.

    I think there are two extremes on this side of the spectrum. Some go so far in their interpretations of history in saying that Churchill & Co. were really the aggravators of World War II and Hitler was just a poor innocent soul set on establishing a “real” German state. Such beliefs are ridiculous in my view and are examples of how blinded we can become by being peace-and-love purists. The other perspective can be TOO aggressive, but I frankly don't find this anywhere in American society.

    With some situations it's easier to distinguish who was in the right and who was in the wrong. A situation like Iraq seems a bit more complex than, say, WWII. Even if we didn't do it for our own national security (which I think is debatable), is advocacy for the weak not justified when it is on behalf of someone other than yourself (or your country?). This a question I'm constantly torn on.

    I'm rambling a bit, but for me it boils down to this question: “When is the correct moment for reaction?” In some cases I think reaction can be both preemptive and just, but we as humans cannot always predict aggressors accurately, which is why I also agree that only until His Kingdom comes will we have no war. In the meantime, we must continue to make sure our society is responding to such aggressors justly. Again, that's the tricky part.

  • http://anchorbuoy.blogspot.com/ Anchor Watch

    Jimmy, bro of Jesus, (James ch. 4) has something to say on the issue. Below's the Message translation, but read the others as well to understand unregenerate man is self-oriented to the point of waging war across the full spectrum of human relationships [from the individual others in their lives magnified to the grand schema of the nation's that they lead]. I'm on to you now {RC – tight blog} and will post this link to my blog at http://anchorbuoy.blogspot.com

    ~ Anchor Watch ~

    Js. 4:1-2Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. 2-3You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way.

  • http://anchorbuoy.blogspot.com/ Anchor Watch

    Jimmy, bro of Jesus, (James ch. 4) has something to say on the issue. Below's the Message translation, but read the others as well to understand unregenerate man is self-oriented to the point of waging war across the full spectrum of human relationships [from the individual others in their lives magnified to the grand schema of the nation's that they lead]. I'm on to you now {RC – tight blog} and will post this link to my blog at http://anchorbuoy.blogspot.com

    ~ Anchor Watch ~

    Js. 4:1-2Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. 2-3You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way.