War and the Progressive Mind

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. James 4:1-2
The enormous social, economic and spiritual toll that war takes upon humanity should give sufficient pause for anybody -- despite personal ideological inclinations -- to see war as a most undesirable state of affairs. Yet even our Founding Fathers recognized the reality that we are all bedeviled by a fiercely selfish nature that is constantly immersed in earnest pursuit of the fulfillment of its own desires, the consummation of which tend to invariably override any cautionary reflection against harm to others and sometimes even self.

This principle is presciently alluded to in the Federalist Papers  when Alexander Hamilton summons his readers to a bit of honest introspection by rhetorically asking if any of them can honestly claim to be unacquainted with the notion that

"momentary passions, and immediate interest, have a more active and imperious control over human conduct than general or remote considerations of policy, utility or justice...."  
This selfish impulse indiscriminately charges ahead of any other impulse in life. It is politely referred to in discreet company as the primal instinct of self-preservation, but is sometimes more aptly described -- in the nether regions of society where the contrived civility officially sanctioned by political correctness is seldom enforced -- as the sinful nature.

We seem to be pre-programmed to feed this impulse of self-interest as a first order of business, to the point that even feats that boast of being rooted in purely altruistic motives are covertly governed by this impulse; hence the prompting and subsequent necessity of war.  

The prompting of war because, in spite of our most cherished -- but fundamentally unsound -- convictions about the innate benevolence of humanity, evil lurks in the hearts of men who are devoid of any inhibitions and will seek to take what they want, not by asking but by brute force. The necessity of war because the aggression of such men must be confronted defensively (or preemptively if need be) with equal or greater aggression, in order to discourage any future provocation and mitigate further destruction and unnecessary loss of life.

This is -- judging from past and present experience -- a concept that glides undisturbed, outside of the range of most liberal's moral radar screens.

Liberals felicitously ignore this principle, and prefer to be guided by an unshakable faith in the notion that any despot, no matter what his crimes,  can be engaged in the arena of civilized discourse through that wondrous and unfailing interlocutory apparatus bequeathed to us by earlier, more enlightened societies, that we unctuously refer to as diplomacy. This is the kind of stunning naiveté that has facilitated the prolonged massacres of blood thirsty despots for longer times than it is arguably necessary.

History should have put an end to such illusions a long time ago, but for whatever reason liberals continue to be deluded by the notion that human beings, deep inside, are inherently good.  

It is the same mindset which presumes it is morally acceptable for people in a freedom loving country to invite the ruler of a terrorist regime to speak at a prestigious university, and tenaciously maintains that rogue nations with a past history of open hostility toward neighboring countries can be restrained by mere force of principle rather than force of arms.

Thus it would appear that the so called progressive mind is loath to come to terms with the fact that people are naturally inclined to prioritize the gratification of the self, and that there will rise at any given juncture in history, unstable leaders who believe that the only way to achieve their goals is through violent means, and who will purpose to augment whatever power they may wield - driven primarily by fear of losing it - to achieve such ends.

This divergence of worldviews is at the core of the present Iraq debate; hence the marked difference between the Republicans' cautious ambivalence about the progress of the current war, and the Democrats' benighted calls for precipitous withdrawal no matter the consequences.

And such calls are bound to continue unabated, but likely robed in less offensive garb, as long as liberals continue to believe that perhaps some day, after the tantrums of despots have subsided, and all the tyrants of the world have finally tired of oppressing innocent people, we can all sit down and talk our way into a more peaceful world; or so they would have us believe.
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. James 4:1-2
The enormous social, economic and spiritual toll that war takes upon humanity should give sufficient pause for anybody -- despite personal ideological inclinations -- to see war as a most undesirable state of affairs. Yet even our Founding Fathers recognized the reality that we are all bedeviled by a fiercely selfish nature that is constantly immersed in earnest pursuit of the fulfillment of its own desires, the consummation of which tend to invariably override any cautionary reflection against harm to others and sometimes even self.

This principle is presciently alluded to in the Federalist Papers  when Alexander Hamilton summons his readers to a bit of honest introspection by rhetorically asking if any of them can honestly claim to be unacquainted with the notion that

"momentary passions, and immediate interest, have a more active and imperious control over human conduct than general or remote considerations of policy, utility or justice...."  
This selfish impulse indiscriminately charges ahead of any other impulse in life. It is politely referred to in discreet company as the primal instinct of self-preservation, but is sometimes more aptly described -- in the nether regions of society where the contrived civility officially sanctioned by political correctness is seldom enforced -- as the sinful nature.

We seem to be pre-programmed to feed this impulse of self-interest as a first order of business, to the point that even feats that boast of being rooted in purely altruistic motives are covertly governed by this impulse; hence the prompting and subsequent necessity of war.  

The prompting of war because, in spite of our most cherished -- but fundamentally unsound -- convictions about the innate benevolence of humanity, evil lurks in the hearts of men who are devoid of any inhibitions and will seek to take what they want, not by asking but by brute force. The necessity of war because the aggression of such men must be confronted defensively (or preemptively if need be) with equal or greater aggression, in order to discourage any future provocation and mitigate further destruction and unnecessary loss of life.

This is -- judging from past and present experience -- a concept that glides undisturbed, outside of the range of most liberal's moral radar screens.

Liberals felicitously ignore this principle, and prefer to be guided by an unshakable faith in the notion that any despot, no matter what his crimes,  can be engaged in the arena of civilized discourse through that wondrous and unfailing interlocutory apparatus bequeathed to us by earlier, more enlightened societies, that we unctuously refer to as diplomacy. This is the kind of stunning naiveté that has facilitated the prolonged massacres of blood thirsty despots for longer times than it is arguably necessary.

History should have put an end to such illusions a long time ago, but for whatever reason liberals continue to be deluded by the notion that human beings, deep inside, are inherently good.  

It is the same mindset which presumes it is morally acceptable for people in a freedom loving country to invite the ruler of a terrorist regime to speak at a prestigious university, and tenaciously maintains that rogue nations with a past history of open hostility toward neighboring countries can be restrained by mere force of principle rather than force of arms.

Thus it would appear that the so called progressive mind is loath to come to terms with the fact that people are naturally inclined to prioritize the gratification of the self, and that there will rise at any given juncture in history, unstable leaders who believe that the only way to achieve their goals is through violent means, and who will purpose to augment whatever power they may wield - driven primarily by fear of losing it - to achieve such ends.

This divergence of worldviews is at the core of the present Iraq debate; hence the marked difference between the Republicans' cautious ambivalence about the progress of the current war, and the Democrats' benighted calls for precipitous withdrawal no matter the consequences.

And such calls are bound to continue unabated, but likely robed in less offensive garb, as long as liberals continue to believe that perhaps some day, after the tantrums of despots have subsided, and all the tyrants of the world have finally tired of oppressing innocent people, we can all sit down and talk our way into a more peaceful world; or so they would have us believe.