Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Perpetual War and American Foreign Policy

Apparently, President Bush had a luncheon on February 28th. A number of historians and political thinkers attended this luncheon who have held publically that life is perpetual war.

The same day I read this news, I picked up Plato's Laws. Much to my surprise, the Laws begins with a discussion the Island of Crete (the cradle of Greek culture) and the speaker representing Crete, Kleinias, praises Cretan society because it was organized for perpetual war. Life, he tells us, is perpetual stuggle of man against himself, man against man, neighborhood against neighborhood, city against city, and nationa against nation.

Socrates begins to critique this view by suggesting that, while a certain kind of struggle as well as war may be a part of life, we do not live life for the purpose of fighing perpetual wars. Ultimately, if we fight wars we fight them so that we can return to a peaceful life in which people can pursue happiness. He also indicates that the purpose of war should not be to pursue unlimited freedom, or to spread freedom everywhere. This, he suggests, is the formula for a bloodthirsty empire. While complete limitations on freedom are unsatisfactory, the just society harmonizes the concern for peace, the desire for freedom, and the limits necessary so that these desires do not lead the society to become unjust towards others and unjust towards itself.

Some things never change.

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Blogger Tortoise(notHare) said...

You, sadly, are 100% correct: some things never change.

"And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him." Gn.4:8b.

11:49 AM  

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