(This week, and next, On Violence and our readers will try to answer the question, “Will humans ever stop fighting wars?” Today’s entry comes from Eric C. Feel free to drop us your response in the comment section, on twitter or by email.)
In short, yes. Humans will stop fighting wars.
In long, I’m a utopian. As I argued in the “Is Progress Violent?” debate, [link] I believe mankind is actively and effectively becoming better. While there are no magic cures or technologies that will instantly make us better, and though the process isn’t smooth, over time, technology and human culture are becoming more peaceful. Though the media doesn’t make it look this way, we humans murder each other way less than we used to.
But will wars stop? Yes. As we interconnect, as we form larger and larger circles, as we barrel towards a one world government (Sorry far right conspiracy theorists, it’s a good idea.) we will become more peaceful. Though Thomas Friedman’s original "Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention"--no two countries with a McDonald’s restaurant will ever go to war--has since been disproved, the central thesis was fair: as the world’s supply lines and economies interconnect, as more people cross more borders, as the world becomes more cosmopolitan, war will occur less frequently.
Similarly, we could look at the democratic peace theory. (If you’re a stickler academic, the inter-democracy nonaggression hypothesis.) In short, democracies don’t go to war with one another because the desire for negotiation and diplomacy outweighs the desire to go to war. I don’t totally buy into this theory--the data set is too small--but it seems to a be a reasonable guide for the future of this world.
And human culture is changing. People used to believe in war. People used to think it was noble and grand. We used to not have peace protesters. But we do now. And as the last remaining, crusty old breed clings to the notion that “war is war, and it’s awesome” others will take their place and push this world forward.
Will it be a smooth process? Heck no. Will we stop wars tomorrow? Even bigger hell no. People are dumb, greedy, and fearful. But in spite of that, we’re still getting better.