Tuesday, December 24, 2013

How to stop the mechanism of war?


Previous sections:
1. The mechanism of war: Introduction
2. The mechanism of war: The components
3. The mechanism of war: Starting the hell's engine

It is difficult, but not impossible, to halt the mechanism of war. Here I refer to stopping the mechanism before mass conflicts commence. Once massive clashes begin, it is almost inevitable that that conflicts will last until one of the opposing sides is completely ruined. When they enter into a period of mass conflicts, people on both sides are firmly convinced that the opposing side wants to destroy them, and that belief is strengthened with each new conflict.

As politicians and marginal types see an opportunity to achieve their life goals through war, they will not be interested in stopping the mechanism in its initial phase. That’s the stage when marginal types are not held accountable for crimes committed against members of other social groups (religious, ethnic, etc.) In that initial phase the producers have not yet begun believing that the producers in other ethnic or religious groups were willing to commit such, ethnically or religiously oriented crimes.

Once the producers begin to commit crimes, and justify them as necessary defense measures, it is too late for stopping the mechanism of war because each new act of violence keeps strengthening the belief that there is no difference between the producers and the marginal types on “their” side. Therefore, the only period when the mechanism of war can be stopped is in the initial stage when the producers within each ethnic or religious group still see the difference between marginal types and a producers of other ethnic or religious groups.

How to implement this? First, it is necessary to understand the structure of the mechanism of war, that is, it is necessary that the producers understand the psychological profile of marginal types and the politicians. The producers need to be aware of the incentives that these two segments of society have for initiating and maintaining a violent conflict. Once the conditions are right, these two groups will play their roles in the mechanism of war. However, the producers should always keep in mind that, without the support of the producers, politicians and marginal types are powerless.

However, just being aware of the politicians’ and the marginal types’ incentive structure is not enough. The hard part for the producers is actually acting to withhold their support for local politicians and marginal types. People have a natural tendency to be afraid of "foreign" groups of people and that fear has an evolutionary background. It is not easy to overcome this fear, but it is not impossible. As with other human destructive fears, one should use reason to fight and overcome the fear of “others”.

We have made the first step in this fight if we understand the structure of the mechanism of war. It is clear that the producers in "other" ethnic or religious group would decide to use violence only when they believe that they will be attacked by “our” producers. We understand that the producers want violence only when they believe that this is the only way to prevent violence against them. We also realize that first crimes are committed by the marginal types, not producers. The purpose of these crimes is to confuse the producers so as to induce them to believe that the marginal types in “other” ethnic or religious group are in no way different from the producers within those groups.

The next step is that the producers calmly assess the costs and benefits of not responding to the provocations by the marginal types. This calculation should take into account the fact that, in most wars, the producers on both sides lose a lot. Many lose their entire property, and there is almost no family that doesn’t lose a member in a war. With it come all the traumas that a war brings. It is hard to describe these costs, but anyone who has experienced long-term violence and fear for his own life and the lives of his or her loved ones will understand what I am trying to describe here.

On the other hand, refusing to participate in an armed conflict brings with it the risk of being attacked by the marginal types. This option also brings fear and uncertainty. But, there are several reasons why the marginal types cannot just keep terrorizing the producers. First, if the politicians see that the producers are not taking the bait and not starting to participate in the conflict, they have to use legal means against marginal types. A politician that tolerates uncontrolled behavior of marginal types for a prolonged period of time and does not maintain the rule of law (whatever law that may be) has no political future. Politicians know this, and that’s why their goal is to get the producers involved in organized violence initiated by the marginal types as soon as possible. However, if the producers refuse to get involved, an organized conflict will not occur.

On the other hand, if politicians do not establish the rule of law, then a breakdown of the state ensues. The story of the collapse of the state is interesting, but it would take too long to deal with that issue now. Those who are interested can read more about it here.

So, to stop the mechanism of war, it is necessary that the majority of producers on both (or all, if there are more than two) sides realize early on that, by engaging in a war, they would lose more than they would gain. Since the current tendency is that the producers fail to see through the game played by the marginal types and the politicians, we need to work to ensure that at least future generations of producers are more immune to this game. This is a difficult but not an unachievable task. For starters, it is enough that those who understand how the mechanism of war works and how it can be stopped transfer their knowledge to others. The most important thing is to transfer this knowledge to children and encourage them to think critically, outside the pattern imposed by the state education system. The education system is always tailored by the politicians, and we can be sure that our children will not learn about the mechanism of war in those schools.

This series of thematically related texts is my contribution to stopping the mechanism of some future wars. I am sure that my efforts will not stop here.

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