John Locke, Civ 3, and Preemptive War
Aside from the fact that it's one of the longest sentences I've ever read, I wanted to open today's post with the following quote from John Locke because in it he expresses (better than I could) the reasons why I disagree with Preemptive War:
"THE state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a sedate settled design upon another man's life, puts him in a state of war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other's power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such men are not under the ties of the commonlaw of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power."
- John Locke, (the philosopher not the LOST character)
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IN 2001, my brother brought home a new edition of the game Civilization, by Sid Meier. We were both entranced by the original Civilization game, and this new one, Civ 3, turned out to be even better than anything that had come before. The basic gist of the game is this:
One of the advantages of playing in the video game world is that immediately, one can tell what the intentions and actions of an opposing nation will be. After playing the game a few times, I understand that those "militaristic" nations WILL attack me and anyone else on the map if they have an opportunity. It's not a matter of chance or whether or not I get on their good side. If they have a bigger military or if they see a city that's not very well defended they will swarm to it and destroy it. It's in their programming. They're designed to do so by the people who created the game. If they didn't attack and went along with the trading, learning, peaceful tribes, we'd say there was a flaw in the game- that the programmers made some sort of mistake.
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But let's step back into the real world for a moment. When we think about our recent involvement in the middle east- especially Iraq (and Afghanistan to some degree)- I imagine that the Bush Doctrine of Preventative War is based on the idea that these people in other countries are programmed or born with an intent toward evil, destruction, and military oppression.
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I'll leave you with this frame from a Civ 3 dialogue box. I think it pretty much sums up how most people in the world see American "Preventative War" ideology (otherwise known as the Bush Doctrine):
** Just for fun, I've added two "fake comments" from D.H. Rumsfeld and GW Bush. **
2/27/2009 12:10:28 am
If I were rating, I would say we probably deserve a D or D+ as a country as how well we're doing in the battle of ideas that's taking place. I'm not going to suggest that it's easy, but we have not found the formula as a country.
2/27/2009 01:40:32 am
I heard a friend say once in a newsroom that peace can only exist with the constant presence of a force. That deeply saddens me. Good thoughts Nate.
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Nathan Key likes to think about faith and philosophy and talk about it with others. He lives with his family in New Hampshire. He doesn't always refer to himself in the third person.