No one thinks highly of war. It is destructive, costly, and murderous. The opposite of war, which everyone values, is peace; people always agree: peace is desirable. To get to peace, then, we need to look at war. If we understand what causes war, we could eliminate the cause, and then have peace.
This is one of three brief essays I am writing, on the three western political answers to the question “How do we get Peace?” My hope is to get discussion to go beyond the issue-based conversation we have on our channel, and go a bit more in depth into “what do you actually believe?” This second essay focusses on how political socialists believe we can achieve peace.
Socialism (or Marxism) was a philosophical response to the apparent success of liberalism in the early 1800s. In the wake of the Napoleonic Wars, the end of the ancient regimes (theocracy, aristocracy, and feudalism disappearing, and a new mercantile class rising to power in Europe), the spread and contraction of state-guaranteed freedoms was random, and still resulted in great dissatisfaction: and wars kept happening.
- The root of all conflict is economic inequality, and unfair distribution of resources.
- People collectivize into groups to create/protect more wealth for themselves. The groups come into conflict over resources, and war is the result.
- The liberal focus on ‘freedom’ is misguided, since liberty means nothing without security.
- The purpose of the state is to provide for the security/wealth of its citizens. States that fail to do this justly will fall apart.
- War is the quest for more resources.
- War will end when all people are united in a single collective state, providing for the wellbeing of everyone.
- The socialist prescription has been tested since the 1840s, and shown faulty.
- Collectivizing wealth doesn’t produce it nearly as quickly as the liberal free market. If the purpose of life is more resources… don’t go into a collective.
- Wealth is not a finite resource to justify fighting over it: technological innovation since the early 1800s has made us significantly more wealthy, and war is costly
What do you think? Is this an accurate synopsis of the socialist understanding of how to get peace? How does it apply to famous conflicts? What does it fail to consider?