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Staff Face Off, Is World Peace Achievable?

Yes, Of Course

Karen Ranft

Executive Editor

How is it that society has deemed murder an unacceptable evil punishable by death, but mass murder committed on behalf of the government is considered honorable and necessary? War is neither honorable nor necessary, but rather a “get rich quick” scheme initiated by people in power, which is then propagated to civilians to make them believe it is for the greater good. War has infiltrated almost every aspect of today's life and can be seen on the news, in movies, and on social media, making it so common that the general population has deemed its existence inevitable. Not only is this pessimistic outlook false, it is the main reason war is still around today.

The first step to ending war is to stop blaming it on our genetic makeup. Many people believe that the human need for excitement and glory makes ending war an impossible fantasy. Not only does this common misconception impede efforts of peace, it also neglects the 23 countries who are thriving without an active military. Acclaimed author John Horgan believes that our “fatalistic acceptance of war” as an inevitable part of human existence has halted “efforts to achieve enduring peace.”

Another reason war is so prevalent in our society is because people are afraid to speak out against it. However as Americans it is our civic duty to speak out against government injustices. This concept has been used many times throughout history to object “necessary” evils. For instance one and a half centuries ago, slavery played a vital role in the American economy and was considered extremely necessary for society to function. However since our predecessors openly opposed its existence, today slavery is only remembered as a historical disgrace. The same thing can happen for war.

Many people believe that the destruction caused by war is a small price to pay for the economic prosperity that results from it. However the Broken Window Fallacy proves that this mindset is not only morally wrong, but also rationally flawed. In a nutshell The Broken Window Fallacy states that throwing a brick at a window is not justified because it promotes the glass industry, but rather unjust because the money that is spent on the broken window could instead be used to benefit society. The same goes for the war. For example, although the first world war raised the value of the dollar by 51%, the 32 billion dollars spent on the war could have been used to promote the economy in other ways, such as lowering the national debt, or promoting small businesses.

The big picture is that there is no magical force causing us to settle disputes with violence, but rather greedy people who don't understand infrastructure using media to brainwash the public into believing that war is inevitable.

No, Not Likely

Hunter Kotronakis

Columns Editor

Most people think of war as a horrendous setback to society. They think that if there was no war, everything would be better and peace would reign across the world, allowing it to progress without being hindered by anything from petty disagreements to total nuclear warfare. This is not true. Progress comes only from nonconformity and disagreement. War is an inevitable and necessary piece of human society, it brings people together against a common threat or injustice, it is psychologically programmed into us, and the larger picture of history as a whole shows absolutely no evidence for a decline in war, meaning it cannot be one part of an ultimate effort to eradicate itself.

All across the ages, war has been an integral part of the formation of nations. When people are oppressed or disorganized, they have shown time and time again that the way to fix it is to fight back and gain control of the situation. In China, the Zhou Dynasty gained ascendancy through battle, and the conflict of the Warring States Period was resolved when the State of Qin defeated the other states in battle, unifying China under one emperor. This proves war’s necessity because without it, the city-states that were scrambled and confused across China would have remained, no one quite being able to take power. Without power, there can be no organization, and organization is the heart of human development. War is the way we determine whose ideas get to stay and whose ideas have to go, it’s how we tell which beliefs are most effective in defending themselves. Without constant war to keep them in check, new belief systems and governments would begin to proliferate until there would be too many to keep track of. War is how beliefs are maintained, but it’s also the culmination of people’s natural tendencies to protect these beliefs.

Humans have evolved to work together as social animals. There’s no doubt that our abilities to communicate, exchange, and assist have been essential to making us the dominant species on the planet. According to psychologist Judith Fein, it’s no wonder that these abilities have caused us to be evolutionarily predisposed to conform into “tribes,” groups of people with common appearances, beliefs, interests, or even shared disdain for another tribe. When a tribe is formed, the members of it all share an urge to protect the others in their group. This can be seen on a daily basis, when people defend others for sharing common ground with them. The reason this is so important on the topic of war is that it’s a natural thing that people do, and it’s unavoidable as long as people continue to exist. War is just an extension of these tribal tendencies, people fight for what they believe in and will fight to protect others who think the same way, it’s as simple as that. Corruption is an entirely separate, unsolvable issue.

While it was discovered in a study done by economist Max Roser that the absolute number of war deaths has been declining since 1946 has decreased, this does not necessarily mean that war is eventually going to be eradicated, though. Tanisha Fazal, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, points out that improved medicine and health mean that a decline in battle deaths does not necessarily equate to a decline in violence, as wounded soldiers and civilians are more likely to survive. War deaths may have declined, but that’s no reason to assume that the world is actually becoming more peaceful. With this in mind, it might even be true that war has become even more common, and the war deaths aren’t giving a proper representation of their actual frequency. There have only been a few completely peaceful periods in human history, and they are always followed by more war. War is a cycle that feeds itself - by having it, we create more of it. War creates multiple sides of an issue where people can stand and when one triumphs over the others, the losers don’t just give up, more conflict is created until everyone is unified. And even if everyone is unified within one nation, a separate, foreign entity can challenge them and continue the process.

War is unavoidable, and it’s vital to human society because it unites populations under common ideas and it’s part of our nature. It’s here to stay whether we like it or not.

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