Power Plays of the Grandest Scale

A reader caught me off guard with a very interesting, but unexpected, question whose answer touches upon many “deficiencies” of one who is psychopathic.

What are your thoughts on war and pacifism? More in theory than thoughts on history. Do you think war is ever justified?

War is … interesting.  It is often the result of the ultimate in “us vs. them” thinking and the history surrounding those wars are always written by the winners.  The winners always try to shine the most positive light on their victory and only the horrors of the losing side, in general, ever come to the light of day.  We live in an age of holy wars and wars of control.  People kill in the name of gods they will never see and to overthrow corrupt governments that will only be replaced by different corrupt governments.  Can such bloodshed be spared?  Are so many deaths warranted?  Do I lose sleep over it?

From my point of view, wars are merely power plays.  There may be underlying grievances that spur action, but ultimately war is about power and control.  In this sense, the power plays are no different than those of the psychopath.  The scale is simply larger.

The pacifists of wartime make more sense to me but for reasons they would fail to agree with.   As one who is most focused on their own self-preservation, the desire to avoid a loss of blood and life makes perfect sense – insofar that the blood spared is my own.  I never avoid risky or unethical behavior out of regard for others, only out of regard for myself.

War may not cause me to lose sleep at night, but that does not imply that I am for it, either.  I may lack empathy and conscience, but I still realize the merits of peace.  The psychopath does not have to exist in a state of bloodlust at all times.  If I can have success as a result of harmony, that is fine with me.  If society can do the same, that would be wonderful.  I am not concerned about the morality of such unrest, rather about the ability to move forward at all times with my life – of which peace would be better suited than bloodshed.

I cannot say whether I believe that there exist wars that are ever justified.  I have been blessed to have been a resident of countries that have always won their skirmishes during my lifetime.  My life is unaffected as a result.  Being honest, justification of war for me boils down to whether my life is better as a result.  The morality of it does not concern me and, frankly, seems highly subjective.  I think one must admit that rarely is any side in such bloodshed without sin.  Syria is a perfect example right now.  Do we root for the side with less atrocity?  Do we point at the horrors of one side and proclaim the other to be saviors?  It seems so subjective.

A few years ago a friend and I were talking about similar questions.  A remark he gave has stuck out in my mind regarding the topic ever since.

People are wrong when they say that war is never a solution.  It just may not be the best solution.

I am admittedly struggling with the question.  I’d love to hear thoughts from both psychopath and not.


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