How do we get Peace? (The Conservative Answer)

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 third essay focusses on how political conservatives believe we can achieve peace.


Conservatism developed as a philosophical response initially to Liberalism into the 1600s, and then adapted to include a response to Socialism in the 1800s and 1900s.  Conservatism is about distrusting and avoiding change, being risk averse, and protecting the status quo.

Conservatives believe:

  • The world exists in a state of chaos, with no overarching structure.
  • How different nations and people are organized, is basically random: there is no reason to it.
  • You cannot count on other people sharing values with you.
  • States exist as organizations of people within the chaos and—importantly—behave rationally to threats and opportunities.
  • This means only when it appears too dangerous to attack you, will other states leave you alone to enjoy peace.
  • As such, states should only get involved in foreign conflicts when it threatens them, or there is a direct benefit to them.
  • This means the conservative prescription for peace is to be perpetually prepared for war… but only ever getting involved in it out of necessity.


  • This is a bleak understanding of the world, with no concept of common humanity or shared values.
  • These values lead to abandons other people to grim fate… unless helping them provides an opportunity.

What do you think? Is this an accurate synopsis of the conservative understanding of how to get peace? How does it apply to famous conflicts? What does it fail to consider?