Monday, February 18, 2008

lessons from fish jaws

I just found this in an amusing NYT science story:

Spurring the evolution of the vertebrate body plan, Dr. Shubin said, was a benefit of being an active predator. The origin of jaws and teeth “was a great equalizer,” he said, adding, “It allowed smaller fish to eat bigger fish.”

whenever I hear people speaking in favor of non-violence, or anti-militarism, I cannot help but ask where we would be without conflict as a force for change.

here are somethings to which we can thank war:

modern aircraft
space exploration
nuclear power
the cures to diseases such as yellow fever

and, of course...
the internet

I don't mean to promote war in any of this. but I do mean to recognize the importance of conflict as a source of change and improvement. murderous fish invented teeth and skulls, and now used by herbivores above and below the sea.

wars and milititary organization produced the modern state. I don't have time to go on now, but war was the earliest function of the state. once it accomplished real authority with force, it grew. in their earliest days, england, italy, egypt, and the fertile crescent were awash in warring tribes and groups. individidual men, lusting for violence and conquest, expanded power and build states. they pacified large areas of land, freeing people from fear of attack. this allowed them to focus on more productive sedentary lives.

on the individual level, conflict is an inevitable part of human existence. on the macro level, wars are universal and serve as milestones on the road of history. they are the vanguard of change.

it is time to stop speaking so negatively towards war and violence and to accept it as a normal part of history and the experience not just of humans, but of all life. it is time for the whining liberals to stop complaining about war. just as we were told to accept that homosexuality and adultery will always exist, so just get over it -- now it's time for conflict to be accepted as an inate part of life. it's time to stop repressing it and casting a dark pall over war in the public culture.

the change may, in fact, already be starting...

UNL Reacts to Marine Recruiting Protests in Berkeley
by Kristin Limoges, Zach Oliva and Calli Lounsbury, NewsNetNebraska
February 13, 2008

Efforts to ban Marine recruiting in Berkeley, Calif. are in retreat after a change in heart by the Berkeley City Council.
At a meeting Tuesday night that ran into Wednesday morning, council members changed their mind on an issue concerning a Marines recruiting center....

The council decided not to send the letter, saying they understood the Marines right to recruit. They said they were in opposition of the war, but supported the troops.

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