Civilization needs war

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Civilization needs war

Postby graystone2000 » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:23 am

Hi! Long time listener, first time poster and here seemed like the appropriate place...

So does civilization require war to advance?

I'm looking around the world, listening to Dans rant about our decline (very well put I'm afraid...) in the most recent second half of common sense, and just watched 'The Devil Comes on Horseback' about Darfur...

So here's my theory: war is like a wildfire in the woods. It clears out the dead and decay and brings new life. Look how after WWII we built ourselves a fine little country and infrastructure... which is now crumbling and not getting funded... yea you can keep using a bridge until it collapses (I-35?) or you can BOMB IT!!! Yea, that's what I'm saying... a nice clean blow everything up and then watch your economy boom as you rebuild in the post war years...

Our country may be the longest running non-warred upon nation (someone fact check me here). So since the civil war, nothing has just been blown up outright in mass scale. Therefore we haven't really been able to rebuild en-masse. Any IT guy with co-ax daisy chains still in service can attest to this idea!! War also shakes up a country and refreshes its values (for good or bad, wasn't there a good history episode comparing germany to america and the ill effects of 'hard times'?)

Anyhow, without writing a dissertation, I think you have the basics to ponder and post a reply...

Thanks!!
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby Historyontherun » Wed Aug 13, 2008 12:12 pm

There is a little problem with your theory in my opinion. In WW2 our economy did boom, and our country did go to the top. However, we were not the ones being invaded, nor did we suffer all that may casualties. War does clean the slate, but it often brings things down to where they started. Instead of fixing that bridge you now have to build a whole new bridge which is arguably harder. Just ask the Romans. After the barbarian hordes swept upon the Romans they were put back to the start, and Italy never again became a major power.

Ok heres my theory.
War has two primary effects. There is the group who just got invaded, and the group doing the invading. The group bing invaded gets the short straw in this case and is usually very well close to destroyed. Different things can happen from this point. You might get a new makeover and get a great new start. like the Germans and Japanese after WW2. You could never get over the invasion and sit on your haunches like Italy. And last you could get thrown into chaos, like Iraq, the Philippines, or most of Africa. The conquering country usually gets production boosts, much more national pride, and it is overall good for the country. Examples of conquerers are the US, Napoleon's France, and Germany before the invasion in WW2. You can be a country that gets both sides of the war. Like the USSR, and Germany in WW2.



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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby graystone2000 » Wed Aug 13, 2008 12:55 pm

Ok, see your point.. I guess I'm thinking more in terms of financially, diplomatically, etc.. is it easier to fund the rebuilding effort or the maintenance effort? Watching our sewers, roads, bridges, et al crumble slowly is kinda difficult as we throw up new suburbias all over. It seems like since people 'won't vote for anything but cake' to refer to another podcast, blowing it up seems the only real way to 'freshen the place up a bit'... Or do we need another New Deal? is that the alternative?
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby Historyontherun » Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:05 pm

I personally think it is easier to try to maintain, and keep the stuff. If it really is junk we can always have a demo team take care of it with the same grand explosion, but not so many people dying. And we do blow things up when they get old. The important thing to me is that we have good maintenance. I live in Minnesota and I hate Tim Pawlenty (our governor). He has sapped the schools, and roads of all of their funding passing it off as being "fiscally conservative". This has caused the infrastructure of Minnesota to be horrible, and was a reason the bridge in Minneapolis collapsed. What I think we need in America is a strong infrastructure. The next president should try to emulated Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Roosevelt, Not Bush, Pawlenty, or Reagen. The Federal government also has to do some pork barrel politics for certain things that states just don't have the capitol to do. Presidential Candidate John Mcain proudly boasts that he has not taken a single pork barrel project for Arizona. Tragically we overlook the fact that his state has probably the worst infrastructure in the US. It would sicken me if he and Pawlenty ran together. So yeah in conclusion I think that maintaining your infrastructure is better that rebuilding it most of the time, and often times maintaining calls for rebuilding, but you do have to maintain it.

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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby mario001 » Wed Aug 13, 2008 4:05 pm

I must say this is a very provocative post and it splits me almost right down the middle. On one hand I see the thoery as plausible and almost common sense. It is war more than any other event which makes man dig deeper into their courage, intelligence and savvy in the purpose of survival and victory. The effect that a mass conflict can have on a population at that point is obvious; nationalism increases tenfold pushing up production, which improves technology needed for production, and the technology brings us up to a new plateau in a "post war society". That is where the theory stops being correct.
First of all (and I cannot believe I have to say this) you do not want to be on the losing end of a war in any circumstance. The possibillities for eventual recovery and ultimately becoming stronger are not high percentage. In my opinion, America is not in danger of economic recession/collapse because the infrastructure has grown stagnant it is in danger because of bad policy in so many aspects they are almost innumerable. This country makes a crapload of money PERIOD. Spending is the problem and if our money was spent wisely we could do whatever the hell we choose as far as rebuilding cities and generally improving our country. However peacetime does not provide a good atmosphere for displacing mass amounts of people in order to rebuild "en-masse". My point is that war isn't the great advancer of civilization, it is just the easiest way to get a bunch of people out of the way so whoever is running the show can come in and profit in many ways. My point in case is New Orleans. When an American city is destroyed unpredictably by a natural disaster our govt. dropped the ball on reconstuction of it flat out. Therefore when we were given the opportunity to rebuild we did nothing to "advance" the society in New Orleans. so no shit getting blown up doesn't lay the groundwork for anything. However when we are going to destroy cities in Iraq the contracts for reconstruction are done in advance :altwink: War is intentional, practiced, and engineered for conditions of victory which profit the winner if that in turn helps the people that got their ass kicked that is just a by-product because there was money to be made there in the first place. And it does not always work out like that.
The theory is outdated, today the stakes are too high to have another mass war which will "advance" culture and humanity. It is up to us now; war has advanced us as far as it should, considering that we can now end the world many times over at the touch of a button. The question is how do we advance society without destroying it and, who is responsible for the advancement, us or them?
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby Cid » Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:21 am

War is only appealing to those who have no other recourse, and whose sons will not be fighting in the war.

Now, there is a problem when you're spending billions on the ability to make war, without having any good reason to go to war over. I actually felt a little bad when I found out Cheney had tried to nix orders for the B2 bomber and the Osprey, because I thought he would have supported those whole heartedly. However those companies sued and kept their contracts (while reducing the numbers to be delivered and increasing the cost). Hell, I might just have been so pissed off by that I'd have tried to use them if I ever got the chance to keep them from collecting dust. America never got off the guns, and we didn't have a reason to after WWII because after that guns were way better than butter. SO much better that we could just make both and make a ton of money. However now we have some incredibly sophisticated manufacturing dedicated to making guns. How depressing is that? Want to shoot someone? Buy American? Want to surf the net? Buy Chinese!
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby Gegner » Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:32 am

War is NEVER the answer. A strong case could be made that our infrastructure is crumbling BECAUSE of our misguided focus on maintaining a huge military presence around the world.

That said, there is no shortage of 'creative destruction' taking place within our (as well as many other) nations.

Old buildings are being torn down at a steady clip...and now we have whole neighborhoods being 'bulldozed' back into the farmland they originated from, thanks to (ethanol subsidies and) the spreading 'economic desert' that was once the 'rustbelt'.

Um, our civil engineers have done an excellent job of devising ways to keep traffic flowing while existing infrastructure is being repaired or reworked...'The Big Dig' is an excellent example of how the engineers prevented the city from being 'paralyzed' over the twenty years it took to install a new central artery. (Disclosure, I live greater in Boston and worked in 'ground transportation' during the final phases of the Dig. The Dig was a PITA, but you could still 'get around'.)

Wars all start and end with words...and most wars can be prevented with words...if the would be combatants have a care for their citizens. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Most wars are fought for economic advantage...not of the combatant nations but for an individual or enterprise within one of the nations.

The US has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to go to war to protect its 'national interests'...but these are just words, words that really mean some corporation's interests, not the interests of those who fight and die in these conflicts.

Millions have died fighting to 'protect' someone else's 'economic interests'.

There should be no irony lost on the fact that the only 'justification' for war is to overthrow tyranny...yet it is the tyrant who 'starts wars'.
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby larry1617 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:48 am

You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way. ~Will Rogers
War is a thing that happens when the heads of power get bored of peace and trade, and decide to send thousands of young men to their uncertain future in the line of fire.
"So let us regard this as settled: what is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious." ~Marcus Tullius Cicero
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby Henchman » Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:09 am

Cid wrote:War is only appealing to those who have no other recourse, and whose sons will not be fighting in the war.!

Exactly, well put!

The way I see it, human civilization have been riddled with warfare for so long that it would appear that we have indeed developed some sort of sick twisted social economic system around it. I think its all an illusion though - Rather than being a necessity (or some sort of "world hygene") war and the industry that flourishes around it is simply business opportunism and will only continue as long as there is a supply and demand.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if peace was allowed to reign for an extended period of time. I seriously doubt we'd see any less technological advances or economic hardships... Quite the opposite probably. Just imagine the wealth of knowledge and individual talent and ambition that goes wasted on the battlefield - this waste far outweighs any reckless technological advances gained through war.
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby Historyontherun » Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:00 am

That is well put. However there is a historical example to what you are saying. Europe right before WW1 had not had many major wars (apart from the Boer war) and was very well off until a certain Franz Ferdinand was killed.............
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby General Buttnekked » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:20 am

Historyontherun wrote:That is well put. However there is a historical example to what you are saying. Europe right before WW1 had not had many major wars (apart from the Boer war) and was very well off until a certain Franz Ferdinand was killed.............

but wasn't the world before WWI primarily governed by monarchies and the Nation-State, democratic ideology wasn't yet established in the world's global economy? The Nation-state modality thrives with global markets (inter-dependence / inter-competition), as trade remains consistent, and ultimately, isn't that what war is about, money?
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby Historyontherun » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:08 pm

I don't think world war one was undertaken for money, but for nationalism, and militarism. A culture similar to the EU is what the world needs.
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby Brennan » Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:34 pm

"Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself"
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby thedude » Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:48 pm

was life really that bad as a agrarian society, that we had to march off to war to become industrialized , is punching a time clock that much better than just waking up and going out to the fields that you own

now i agree food supplys have stabilized with industrialization in america, and electricity is nice

but getting on the grid brings new problems with it , like the need to pay that new bill
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Re: Civilization needs war

Postby bigred » Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:11 pm

War is just us telling to ourselves that we are going to inbrace natural selection...the problem is like most things in human civilization we have become to good at doing things.

The tools of war are to good at killing, like the modern tractor to to good at cultivating pastors...

I do not agree with imperialism, but war is inevitable.
“I have nothing to ask but that you would remove to the other side, that you may not, by intercepting the sunshine, take from me what you cannot give”- Diogenes response to Alexander the Great when offered anything he wished.
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