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RIP Military Historian John Keegan, Who Saw War as Product of Culture Rather Than Biology | Cross-Check, Scientific American Blog Network

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Keegan’s book serves as a potent counterpoint to—and more, refutation of—popular claims by scientists such as Richard Wrangham and Edward O. Wilson that war stems from deep-rooted biological impulses we share with chimpanzees. Keegan weighed and rejected these theories as well as ones attributing war to environmental and economic factors, notably overpopulation and scarcity of resources.

Although he declared war to be an “entirely masculine activity,” Keegan also viewed it as cultural more than biological. As he put it, war is “always an expression of culture, often a determinant of cultural forms, in some ways the society itself.” Keegan’s view of war overlapped with that of Margaret Mead, who saw war as not a “biological necessity” but as an invention. War, Keegan proposed, stems primarily neither from “human nature” nor economic factors but from the “institution of war itself.” War, in other words, is a self-perpetuating meme.

I believe in the theory of the "military industrial complex" that Eisenhower warned about.

Because war is good for business, business has an economic incentive to goad government into making war.

If there's a way we can take out the economic incentive to make war, and also create abundance in the world so there is no scarcity of resources, then there's no reason to make war.

That's a big if. It will probably take humans a long time to work through.

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