Searching For Reason Among The Rubble Of War

Satire: Why did Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine? And why are there wars anyway? Well, we know this about wars: They are usually fought over energy-producing resources such as oil, gas, coal, and uranium. And they always end in some kind of negotiated settlement.

Recall, the parties to the Peace of Westphalia (1648) at the end of the Thirty Years War hated each other so much they would not meet to discuss peace terms in the same German town. Using the forerunner of the Bundespost, the parties gave us the world’s first All Mail-in Peace Treaty.

But what was the origin of violence between members of early Humankind? Professor Jared Diamond recounts how roving bands of hunter/gatherers would come into violent conflict with other hunter/gathering bands. Knowing the “why” behind their violence may be the key to understanding why wars begin.

Let’s say Fred and Wilma Flintstone are in pursuit of a Woolly Mammoth. They run into Og and Ogla who are after the same entrée. By Christian-Judeo standards (which, of course, had yet to be established), the two families should enjoy a Kosher BBQ together. But maybe False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR) overcame both families and they felt the need to attack each other.

Did Fred fear that Og fancied Wilma? Or, wanted to re-gender little Pebbles? Did Og fear that Fred fancied Ogla? Who knows? For sure, they were in fear of each other.
But, as they evolved from roving hunter/gathering bands into stay-at-home agricultural tribes, Fred, Wilma, Og, and Ogla, grew weary of violence. Their solution was to appoint a Chief, an arbiter to decide when violent aggression or self-defense was justified. Or, not.

But wait. While the Chief system cut down on the violence, some Chiefs decided to become hereditary Kings, and thus, the State, complete with Police and Military, was born. Fortunately, Fred and Og forced the King to adopt a Magna Carta, including a 2d Amendment that insured their right to keep their stone axes for hunting, for self-defense, and for in case the King got too big for his loincloth.

Archeologists can ID the gravesites of Kings by how much cool stuff is buried with them. Actually, many Kings were running a profitable protection racket. In exchange for taxes, Kings provided the masses with protection from each other and with secure borders to protect them from invading Kings and illegal migrants.

Thus, Feudalism was born — a system that employed a lot of stone masons until Chinese gunpowder was imported and put the stone masons out of work. Then, even though one of the King’s sons left a Slabtop lying around revealing how the King and his family were ripping off the masses, the Police hid the Slabtop, and the Metamorphic Media refused to inform the masses.

Maybe the genesis of violence is related to “recognition.” When God recognized Cain’s gift less worthy of praise than Abel’s gift, Cain, in a fit of jealousy, slew Abel. Maybe Putin, like Rodney Dangerfield, feels he gets no respect and not enough recognition. Maybe Putin is jealous of others with whom he must share the spotlight. Putin should note that God assigned Cain the off-camera role of wandering in perpetual darkness.

Suggested reading: The World Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? by Jared Diamond, 2012. Genesis 4:11-14., RSV.

©2023. William Hamilton. All rights reserved.

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