A friend in school was assigned to write an essay on the origins and history of war. I’d begin such an essay by defining war as a group endeavor by individuals united in some way, to dominate, enslave, or eliminate another definable group. It began before humanity existed. Different species of ants brought into contact will fight to the death. It’s a survival mechanism; to the victors belong the spoils, which is life itself.
Killer bees are a hybrid species now spreading and trying to replace ordinary bees all over the world. Angrier and more aggressive that our own friendly American bees, not only are they a danger to bee keepers and passers by, but they invade thriving domestic hives, sting the queen to death and replace her with their own queen, who thereupon produces thousands and thousands of killer progeny. It’s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, only it’s not fiction. Talk about a survival mechanism!
Human evolution drives powerfully toward survival, and since war is a survival mechanism, why do people deplore it? Civilians in a country at war hate it. Soldiers fighting wars, returning wounded in body and soul, hate it.
“I hate war,” said President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, even as he was preparing the nation for World War II.
Hating war is one thing, actively opposing it is another. I could no more have opposed WWII than sent flowers to Hitler. In Italy, coming out of mess, an issue of Stars and Stripes had a bold headline; ATOM BOMB. It had gone off over Japan. I joined every soldier in cheers.
Now, with thousands of atomic bombs scattered around the planet. has the survival mechanism become the mechanism of human extinction?
“War is Peace! Freedom is Slavery!” scream the heads of The Party, in George Orwell’s novel, 1984. These days, when some deem the Prince of Peace a cause to kill for, Orwell’s words don’t even seem contradictory.