Will War Ever End – Another View about Human Aggression

will_war_ever_end-another_view_about_human-aggression

In the former posts of this series about violence we addressed The Seville Statement on Violence and the book The Nature of Human Aggression by the anthropologist Ashley Montagu who bases many of his claims on hunter-gatherers’ allegedly non-violent lifestyle.
Our last representative of the thinkers who argue that humans are not naturally violent is Paul Chappell, a captain in the U.S. army who writes and lectures about violence, war and peace.
The following post mainly regards his book Will War Ever End? as well as some of the claims he often argues in his lectures and articles.

Like the former thinkers, he argues that humans are not naturally violent without even mentioning (not to mention considering), humans’ daily and worst expression of violence.
And like the former thinkers he also argues about violence and human nature but refers only to wars as if they are the only expression of violence, and despite that they are not even the worst expression of violence.

The thematic questions of his work are: Are human beings naturally violent? Throughout world history, why does war seem like the norm? and why does peace seem like the anomaly? Is war an inescapable part of human nature?

Insanity and Post-Trauma

One of his answers is in the form of another question – if human beings are naturally violent and warlike, why does war drive so many of them insane?

Wars drive humans insane not because they have to kill other humans but because they are a concentration of insane experiences put on humans. There are several features in wars that can drive anyone insane without them having to kill other humans – the constant fear of being killed, the constant stress, the constant hunger, the constant tiredness, the constant pain, the distance from family and friends, the noises, the smells, the heat, the cold, the boredom, the physical and mental exhaustion.

The trigger for post-traumatic stress disorder outbreak is situations which humans find themselves incapable of dealing with. It doesn’t necessarily involve violence (for example car accidents or massive landslides can also be triggers) and definitely not inflicting violence. According to the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study (NVVLS), soldiers who were injured in combat had nearly four times the risk of developing PTSD compared to those who didn’t.

Wars traumatize humans because of what happened to them during it, not because of what they have done to others. Examining PTSD in the civilian sphere showcase it, as PTSD is very common among rape victims and bully victims, but not among rapists and bullies.
It is very unlikely that there are men who the screams of the girl they have raped pursuant them at nights. Same goes for violence attacks of humans in bars, over parking spot, in sport stadiums, or since someone looked at “their” girl…

It is also very unlikely that vivisectors are suffering from a mental illness as a result of the unimaginable suffering they have caused by their own hands. Day after day after day, they see helpless defenseless sentient beings’ pain spasms in front of their very own eyes, they hear the screams caused by their actions and still no post trauma or anything near it.
If humans weren’t naturally violent then mental damages would also appear in cases of violence infliction outside of wars. Is it reasonable that post-traumatic stress disorder outside of war zones is common only among the attacked, but in wars post-traumatic stress disorder results from inflicting violence?
It is much more likely that soldiers are traumatized by violence inflicted on them or on their friends, and in some cases maybe on civilians of the other side, but less likely to be traumatized by them killing soldiers of the other side.

Anyhow, for every case of a soldier suffering from PTSD caused by the atrocities of war, there are dozens of cases of soldiers abusing and torturing other soldiers and civilians during wars.
One of the most notorious examples is the common use of rape as a military tactic and as an ethnic cleansing tactic.
Hundreds of thousands of women were systematically raped as a strategic military tactic during the ethnic conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the 90’s. Rape was considered a particularly effective way to demoralize the opposing side and force migration from the region, as well as forcing women to give birth to children of the “enemy” and so making them “their own” as part of ethnical cleansing.
It is very likely that most of those women are suffering from PTSD as a result of being raped, and it is very unlikely that even few, if any, of the rapists are suffering from similar consequences.

Not that soldiers who systematically raped women as part of a military tactic or ethnical cleansing should be excused, but most cases of rape by soldiers were not ordered but desired. They weren’t part of a military tactic but of a violent norm.

Soldiers have been raping and sexually exploiting women since forever.
While rape by soldiers has been prohibited by national military codes for centuries, it has frequently been given license as a reward for soldiers’ service or as a matter of strategic policy. One of the more familiar examples is the government-run rape camps of Asian women called “comfort women” by Japanese forces during World War II.
In many cases, women were forcibly taken from their families or recruited deceptively (under the guise of performing factory work, for example). Upon arriving at the “comfort station,” women were typically forced to have sex with twenty to fifty soldiers each day, and were beaten or killed if they refused. It is estimated that at least 200,000 women were exploited under this system.

Rape was systemized by a network of militarized prostitution which was abundant during the Vietnam War. US bases officially welcomed Vietnamese women as “local national guests” and regarded them as on-base service personnel. Also, soldiers could bring in local women from outside the base. An estimated number of 300,000 to 500,000 women were sexually exploited as prostitutes in South Vietnam by 1973, although a precise number of sexually exploited  women is difficult to calculate because thousands of Vietnamese women who worked as on-base service personnel were sexually exploited and thousands more were raped by troops outside the base.
In the words of one of the soldiers:

You’ve got an M- 16. What do you need to pay for a lady for? You go down to the village and you take what you want. I saw guys who I believe had never had any kind of sex with a woman before in that kind of scene. They’d come back a double veteran.”
The term “double veteran” was common among American troops serving in Vietnam, referring to the practice of raping a woman and then killing her.

Humans sexually exploit women not only when they are the “enemy”, during wars, and by combatants, but even by humans who are on “their side”, during various emergencies other than wars, and by peace soldiers. Sexual abuse and exploitation of local women and children by peacekeeping forces, including rape and forced prostitution of women and young girls and boys (including what the UN calls “transactional sex” – sex in exchange for food or other aid), in many cases inside refugee camps, was documented in Bosnia, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, southern Sudan and Haiti.
Just about six months ago A UN report revealed that there were 69 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse made against peacekeepers in 10 UN missions around the world during 2015. Soon after the report was published additional cases of sexual abuse were discovered, including children who were forced by soldiers to perform sexual acts in exchange for water and cookies.

And sexual assaults are also very common within the same military units. Helen Benedict who interviewed many female solders for her book “The Private War of Women Soldiers” tells about female soldiers who were constantly caring a knife not because they fear insurgents, but the men on “their own side”. Another example is of three women serving in Iraq who died from dehydration since they had purposely stopped drinking water partway through the day so that they would not have to go to the bathroom at night and risk being raped by their male colleagues.

The probability of sexual assault was so high that a command was given to all women who served at Camp Arifjan (a big U.S. base in Kuwait) to always be accompanied by a female friend, presumably because a male friend could turn on a woman and rape her.

A 2003 study revealed that 79% of female veterans who served in the U.S. military from Vietnam until the Gulf War had experienced sexual harassment during their service. More than half (54%) reported unwanted sexual contact, and one third reported rape or attempted rape. A 2004 study of veterans being treated for PTSD from Vietnam onward found a shocking 71% of female vets had experienced sexual assault while in service.

This is unfortunately only a tiny glimpse of the violence inflict by soldiers. The point is to show that it goes way beyond rape by soldiers as “weapon of war”. But Chappell doesn’t even mention that one aspect of violence during war, not to mention all the rest.

History teaches us that no matter if it’s humans who were defined as the “enemy”, as sinners, demonized, witches, primitives or whatever, humans are capable of unbelievable violence. The violence magnitude is as humans’ imagination.
And of course if the “other” is a nonhuman, the violence is multiplied.

Justifications

Another argument raised by Chappell is that all the wars in history were conducted in the claim of self-defense. If humans were naturally violent why justifications are even needed? Why politicians are needed to mediate wars? If humans are naturally violent why isn’t a spontaneous gathering sufficient?

If humans would have gone to war without even feeling a need to provide a justification it would have proven that they are irrational sadists, not that they are naturally violent. Wars have a tremendous toll even on the “winning” side, so engaging in many wars would eventually hurt the warmongers. Frequently engaging in wars is reasonable only when one side is much stronger than the other. And that’s what happened all along human history. Since the beginning of time humans have used comparative advantages over other communities to benefit themselves with “their resources” and/or settle their differences with other communities using violence. The fact that wars were and still are such an integral and dominant part of human history is a very strong indication of humans’ violent tendency.

Even if every case of war needs some sort of justification, the ease with which humans are persuaded to engage in one is a strong indication of their natural violence. If humans were naturally peaceful it was the other way around. It was very hard to convince them to participate in wars and much better justifications had been required to persuade them. There would have been far less wars along history if each needed a serious justification.
Humans have shown all along history that they are ready to kill other humans for the most trivial reasons. The ease in which humans go to war and the ease in which humans inflict violence in other areas of life, indicates how violent humans are. When a cause, any cause, no matter how invalid it is, is sufficient to make humans do extremely violent things, it means they are violent. When there is not even a need for a cause to inflict violence, it is sadism, when practically any cause will do, it is natural violence.

We agree that humans need reasons to go to war but that is because they are risking themselves, not the “enemy”. They don’t need a good reason to kill others, but a good reason to take the risk and get killed themselves.

And besides, most soldiers in most cases, go to war because they want to or have to, not because they were convinced to by the justifications. Many of them weren’t convinced that some of the wars they participated in were justified in the sense of protecting the group. Most did, do and will keep fighting in wars, because they are obedient conformists who follow orders, not because they are ideologists who are filled with deep conviction in their justifications.

Chappell like many others chooses the easiest way out, blaming it all on the evil politicians who always trick the common naturally nonviolent humans into violent acts.
But if wars were merely a product of manipulations of charismatic leaders and politicians, then we would have expected that at some point many of them end and some wouldn’t even begin, as the common people would resist being manipulated into them. Meanwhile there is no sign that wars are ever going to stop. In any given moment there is a war going on somewhere in the world and there is no year that a new war wasn’t conducted.
If humans weren’t naturally violent, in the case of conflict they would look for other ways to solve it, yet history is full of wars.
There was never a pacifistic rebellion of an army that realized it was deceived and manipulated by politicians. Even if humans are not naturally violent, they are definitely naturally obedient and conformists. That’s why there are far more soldiers and war supporters than pacifists even after centuries of wars, including many that were found absolutely unnecessary and absurd, some of which in real time.

Isn’t the fact that the notion that wars are mostly a product of “evil” politicians manipulating “innocent” citizens is so widespread but still humans don’t resist wars, sufficient to consider them naturally violent?
Even if it was so, isn’t the fact that humans are so easily manipulated into violent actions sufficient to consider them as naturally violent? And isn’t the fact that so many of the atrocities of wars are done by individual humans who were making up their own mind and in many cases against the law and even against the norms of war, sufficient to consider humans naturally violent?

And finally, if the fact that humans need a reason to go to war is sufficient to consider them not naturally violent, isn’t the fact that there are many cases of violent acts inflicted outside of war zones with no need for any justification and are imposed with no politicians’ manipulations, sufficient to disprove this claim?
Rape is, foremost and first of all, an act of violence. It is an act of domination and control, not of lustfulness. There are more rape victims than war victims. And that is despite that there is no formal propaganda or an ideological excuse for rape. We are living in a rape culture but no one is convincing humans they should rape. Most rapes are not justified as wars are. If humans are not naturally violent how come rapes are routine in human society throughout history?

Dehumanization

Chappell argues that the only way for human beings to kill other human beings and not experience guilt or remorse is to imagine they are not human beings. He asks “why every war needed dehumanization of the enemy?” And answers that humans are not designed to kill other humans. Why would we cover the faces of humans before they are executed if we were naturally violent?

Our next post in this series about violence discusses the works of Steven Pinker who argues that humans are naturally violent yet there is a decline in violence for several cultural reasons which we’ll specify in the following posts. One of the foundations for his claims is how common was public violence in the past. He gives a few examples of common practices in several periods of history. All refute Chappell’s argument. Not only that humans have killed other humans without experiencing guilt or remorse, and not only that they could have easily looked at their faces while doing it, killing humans were public amusement displays.
Here are a few of them:

From The Roman Empire and Early Christendom:

“A Roman execution began with a scourging of the naked prisoner. Using a short whip made of braided leather embedded with sharpened stones, Roman soldiers would flog the man’s back, buttocks, and legs. According to the JAMA authors, “The lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh.” The prisoner’s arms would then be tied around a hundred-pound crossbar, and he would be forced to carry it to a site where a post was embedded in the ground. The man would be thrown onto his shredded back and nailed through the wrists to the crossbar. (Contrary to the familiar depictions, the flesh of the palms cannot support the weight of a man.) The victim was hoisted onto the post and his feet were nailed to it, usually without a supporting block. The man’s rib cage was distended by the weight of his body pulling on his arms, making it difficult to exhale unless he pulled his arms or pushed his legs against the nails. Death from asphyxiation and loss of blood would come after an ordeal ranging from three or four hours to three or four days. The executioners could prolong the torture by resting the man’s weight on a seat, or hasten death by breaking his legs with a club.”

And from the Middle Ages:

Medieval Christendom was a culture of cruelty. Torture was meted out by national and local governments throughout the Continent, and it was codified in laws that prescribed blinding, branding, amputation of hands, ears, noses, and tongues, and other forms of mutilation as punishments for minor crimes. Executions were orgies of sadism, climaxing with ordeals of prolonged killing such as burning at the stake, breaking on the wheel, pulling apart by horses, impalement through the rectum, disembowelment by winding a man’s intestines around a spool, and even hanging, which was a slow racking and strangulation rather than a quick breaking of the neck. Sadistic tortures were also inflicted by the Christian church during its inquisitions, witch hunts, and religious wars.
And in the book Cannibals and Kings, the anthropologist Marvin Harris writes about the horrendous public torture of prisoners of war:

Before being killed, they were made to run a gauntlet, or were beaten, stoned, burned, mutilated, or subjected to other forms of torture and abuse. Sometimes they were tied to stakes and given a club with which to defend themselves against their tormentors.
The ritual sacrifice of prisoners of war among band and village peoples was usually followed by the eating of all or part of the victim’s body.

Thanks to the eyewitness accounts provided by Hans Städen, a German sailor who was shipwrecked on the coast of Brazil early in the sixteenth century, we have a vivid idea of how one group, the Tupinamba, combined ritual sacrifice with cannibalism. On the day of the sacrifice the prisoner of war, trussed around the waist, was dragged into the plaza. He was surrounded by women who insulted and abused him, but he was allowed to give vent to his feelings by throwing fruits or broken pieces of pottery at them. Meanwhile old women painted black and red and wearing necklaces of human teeth brought out ornamented vases in which the victim’s blood and entrails would be cooked. The ceremonial club that would be used to kill him was passed back and forth among the men in order to “acquire the power to catch a prisoner in the future.” The actual executioner wore a long feather cloak and was followed by relatives singing and beating drums. The executioner and the prisoner derided each other. Enough liberty was allowed the prisoner so that he could dodge the blows, and sometimes a club was put in his hands for protecting himself without being able to strike back. When at last his skull was shattered, everyone “shouted and whistled.” If the prisoner had been given a wife during his period of captivity, she was expected to shed tears over his body before joining in the feast that followed. Now the old women “rushed to drink the warm blood,” and children dipped their hands into it. “Mothers would smear their nipples with blood so that even babies could have a taste of it.” The body was cut into quarters and barbecued while “the old women who were most eager for human flesh” licked the grease dripping from the sticks that formed the grill. “

And another horrific example from the same book:

Ten thousand miles to the north, about two centuries later, Jesuit missionaries witnessed a similar ritual among the Hurons of Canada. The victim was an Iroquois man who had been captured along with several other companions while they were fishing on Lake Ontario. The Huron chief in charge of the ritual explained that the Sun and the God of War would be pleased by what they were about to do. It was important not to kill the victim before daybreak, so at first they should only burn his legs. Also, they ought not to have sexual intercourse during the night. The prisoner, his hands bound, alternately shrieking with pain and singing a song of defiance learned as a child for just this occasion, was brought indoors, where he was set upon by a crowd armed with brands of burning bark. As he reeled from one end of the room to the other, some people seized his hands, “breaking the bones thereof by sheer force; others pierced his ears with sticks they left in them.” Whenever he seemed ready to expire, the chief intervened “and ordered them to cease tormenting him, saying it was important that he should see daylight.” At dawn he was taken outside and forced to climb onto a platform built on a wooden scaffold so that the entire village could watch what was happening to him—the scaffold making do as a sacrificial platform in the absence of flat-topped pyramids reared for such purposes by the Mesoamerican states. Four men now took over the task of tormenting the captive. They burned his eyes, applied red-hot hatchets to his shoulders, and thrust burning brands down his throat and into his rectum. When it was apparent that he was about to die, one of the executioners “cut off a foot, another a hand, and almost at the same time a third severed the head from the shoulders, throwing it into the crowd where someone caught it” to carry to the chief, who later made “a feast therewith.” The same day a feast was also made of the victim’s trunk, and on their way home the missionaries encountered a man “who was carrying upon a skewer one of his half-roasted hands.”

Unconditional Love

Not only does Chappell argue that humans are not naturally violent, he also argues that they are capable of unconditional love.
This is basically how he explains this:
The human baby is totally helpless and totally depended on other humans.
Since human beings more than all other mammals, require corporation to survive, our reliance upon our community is even more important for us. To survive, we have a bond powerful enough to hold a community together and encourage selfless services, sacrifice and corporation among its members.
Humans’ genuine concern for the well-being of others, also known as unconditional love, is a crucial survival instinct that makes cooperation possible
.“

Unconditional love builds an indestructible bond between people, because it encourages us to care about the well-being of others with no concern for what we will receive in return. The plains of Africa were so dangerous for our earliest human ancestors that this indestructible bond was necessary to keep communities together despite the harshest circumstances. This indestructible bond is just as crucial for the survival of communities today, because it allows us to help each other and remain united as a team when overcoming any significant obstacle.“

“Other mammals display incredible acts of selflessness, but since humans beings must rely on cooperation far more than any other mammals to survive, we have a unique human ability that makes us different from every other mammal. Because we can strengthen our unconditional love to a limitless degree, we have the capacity for universal love, which is the ability to love all of humanity, even all life.“

Chappell seriously argues that humans fight and kill not out of violence but out of love and compassion. According to him the main problem in battle zones is to make soldiers stay and fight and not run for their lives. The Greeks were the first to realize that the best way to motivate soldiers is to convince them that they are protecting their wives and children. Therefore according to Chappell only by love and compassion we can make humans fight.
It takes an extremely acrobatic euphemism ability to take the pacifist phrase “Make love not war” and argue that making war is already making love.

But humans, especially nowadays, know that wars rarely break over protecting of loved ones. Wouldn’t you expect them to oppose wars that are obviously about entirely different things than protecting their loved ones?

And even if we agree for the sake of the argument that humans fight out of love and compassion, it is love and compassion for their own group, and usually it comes with hate and mercilessness to the other group.

Steven Pinker, author of the book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” (which is the topic of our next post in this series about violence), wrote about the horrible indispensability of tribalism:
“The dark side of our communal feelings is a desire for our own group to dominate another group, no matter how we feel about its members as individuals.
The psychologists Jim Sidanius and Felicia Pratto have proposed that people, to varying degrees, harbor a motive they call social dominance, though a more intuitive term is tribalism: the desire that social groups be organized into a hierarchy, generally with one’s own group dominant over the others. A social dominance orientation, they show, inclines people to a sweeping array of opinions and values, including patriotism, racism, fate, karma, caste, national destiny, militarism, toughness on crime, and defensiveness of existing arrangements of authority and inequality.”

“In a set of famous experiments, the psychologist Henri Tajfel told participants that they belonged to one of two groups defined by some trivial difference, such as whether they preferred the paintings of Paul Klee or Wassily Kandinsky. He then gave them an opportunity to distribute money between a member of their group and a member of the other group; the members were identified only by number, and the participants themselves had nothing to gain or lose from their choice. Not only did they allocate more money to their instant groupmates, but they preferred to penalize a member of the other group (for example, seven cents for a fellow Klee fan, one cent for a Kandinsky fan) than to benefit both individuals at the expense of the experimenter (nineteen cents for a fellow Klee fan, twenty-five cents for a Kandinsky fan). A preference for one’s group emerges early in life and seems to be something that must be unlearned, not learned. Developmental psychologists have shown that preschoolers profess racist attitudes that would appall their liberal parents, and that even babies prefer to interact with people of the same race and accent.”

Chappell argues that the fact most of the Medal of Honor recipients were given it not for acts of killing but of their willingness to sacrifice for their friends is another indication that humans are not naturally violent. But this example strengthens the tribalism argument, not the peaceful argument. If soldiers would get the Medal of Honor for avoiding violence we would say he is got a point. But they are often given to soldiers who were ready to sacrifice themselves for the group. They were ready to take chances so their group would win the war, not that it would end.

Human culture is abundant with war glorification and war icons. There are much more bridges and statues of wars and war heroes than of peace treaties and peacemakers. There is plenty of war literature, poetry and film. There is much ritualism around war such as flags, figures, battle cries, body paints, weapon glorification, battle reenactments and etc.
In addition, veterans are usually admired while peace activists are usually hated.  No one suggests to budget peace organizations while every election, politicians promise to support the veterans. And during wars, peace activists’ public image is escalating rapidly. From “just” being hated they become traitors and fifth column.
Stating that “In times of war, the law falls silent” is not a cliché made by peaceful beings.

Unconditional love is not even performed within the tribe, let alone outside it, and certainly not when it comes to the ultimate “other” – nonhuman animals.

Will War Ever End?

Chappell argues that ending wars is possible since human beings are not naturally violent and all it takes is a few devoted people who would convince all the others at that.

History has shown that because unconditional love and oppression are so powerful, when just a few people are willing to wage peace, what seemed impossible can happen on an immense scale.“

Not just a few people but millions of them, all over the world, protested against the war on Iraq.  Everybody knew that everything about this war was a lie from day one. Millions of people knew that the invasion of Iraq was an economic move as well as a political move of repositioning the United States as the most powerful country in the world, and not defending Americans from Al-Qaeda, or liberating the Iraqi people from Sadam Hussein. And despite the massive opposition to the war, and that its justifications were bogus, it broke 13 and half years ago, and didn’t really end until now.

Chappell quotes Margaret Mead’s famous phrase about the power of individuals to change the world, but on the same breath releases from responsibility every individual who ever takes part in an atrocity since they are insignificant pawns who were manipulated by politicians. If individuals are meaningful, they are so for better or worse. For every Elbert Schweitzer there are millions of humans who raped, plundered and tortured other humans since they wanted to and were able to.
If it is in the power of the simple human to change reality, there is no reason to automatically release every human from taking responsibility over the atrocities they personally took part in.

And even if there were direct and specific orders for each and every atrocity that ever happened during all the wars, if humans are so lacking of conscience, reason, criticism and independent thinking, and are capable of the atrocities that happened all along history, where is the optimism coming from?

When social psychologists studied the elements of human psychology hoping to better understand Nazism and Fascism while obviously rejecting the ridiculous supernatural claims that the Nazis were simply demoniac, they were shocked by what they discovered. They revealed how easily they managed to cause humans to electrify other humans (Stanley Milgram’s obedience to authority experiments), how easy it is to create strict hierarchies and humiliating discriminations of other classmates which a moment ago were totally equal (Blue eyes – brown eyes exercise), how easy it is to choose a random element which a moment ago was meaningless and make it the root of all the problems (The Wave exercise), and how easy it is to cause humans to tyrannize and brutalize other humans (Stanford’s prison experiment).

It is highly unlikely that it would be so easy to cause humans to act so violently haven’t they had some violent parts. But even if we go with Chappell, then humans are still totally unreliable morally for the ease with which they can be manipulated.
If it is not a natural part of their characters yet they choose it again and again it makes them even worse.

Naturally violent, or naturally peaceful that is being manipulated to be violent, the victims couldn’t care less. The bottom line is that humans inflict unprecedented violence compared with other species, humans’ wars are becoming more violent and the violence they inflict on other animals is unprecedented and getting worse all the time. And even if there were improvements, giving humans more and more chances is condemning humans’ victims to keep suffering. Why are humans worth all this suffering? One must be extremely speciesist to think that humans should be getting more and more chances to change on the expense of trillions of nonhumans.

So the way we see it whether humans are naturally violent or naturally conformist, obedient and lack any sense of criticism and morality (as Chappell unintentionally presents them), the conclusion and moral implication are the same. Violent, indifferent and cruel nature, or violent, indifferent and cruel culture, it doesn’t matter for the victims and therefore it doesn’t matter to us. They want their suffering to stop and so do we. They want it to stop now with all means necessary and so do we. And the only way to ensure that is destroying this world.

There is a famous saying that only the dead can see the end of war. Chappell paraphrase it:
We can journey toward a global civilization of peace and prosperity, and begin a revolution of ideas that will show us all how the living can also see the end of war. “

Exploitation, violence and suffering are inherent part of life so the living can never see the end of them. Only the dead can see the end of suffering.

only_the_dead
Like many Animal Liberation activists Chappell draws inspiration from the “abolition” of slavery.
“Slavery exited on a global scale for thousands of years, but due to the courageous actions of our ancestors who fought this injustice, no country today sanctions slavery.“
For centuries, many people believed that it was in the nature of some races and ethnicities to live as salves.

No country today allows slavery and most humans don’t believe that it is in the nature of some races and ethnicities to live as salves anymore, yet not only that slavery wasn’t really ended, there are more salves today than ever before. This fact goes to show how naturally apathetic humans are.

It also goes to show how little part big ideas play in humans’ actions and behaviors. It didn’t play a big part in the lawfully and officially abolition of slavery and it doesn’t play a big part in its continuation. Humans live small lives, not big ideas. They purchase products of slavery without thinking twice because they are cheap and available.
The psychological phenomenon of ‘not being left out’ is much stronger than ethics. That’s why so many of them “got” to have the new version of a product they don’t really need, and disregard its real price.

Slavery wasn’t abolished and even if it was, it is a false equivalency.
In the ending post of the series about slavery, we argued that there are at least 10 reasons why human slavery and animal institutionalized exploitation are incomparable. Wars too are not exactly similar to slavery, but for different reasons. One of them is that it is seems that they are much less complex and are much easier to end.

So far, humanity is extremely far from ending wars which are practically the easiest to end. Given that some wars (like the war to end all suffering) are not even theoretically endable, the answer to the books’ question is that wars can end but only if sentient life ends.
So the important question is will sentient life ever end? And the answer is not as long as you keep wasting your time on never-ending wars instead of their root cause.

One thing we completely agree on with Chappell is that:We don’t have to convince everyone to cause change. One out of 999 who think something is a good idea, does something about it. Opinion without action has no impact.”

Most activists would push a button that would destroy this world.
But opinion without action has no impact. Would you be a one who does something about it?

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