Sunday, September 12, 2010


There's a long running discussion over at the League about ED Kain's contention that there are only two types of wars "Defensive wars and wars of Plunder." William Brafford, a friend of this blog, sums it up and provides the requisite links.

ED applied this dichotomy to a bunch of conflicts, and FLG agrees with Will's contention that "Jamming conflicts into a pillage/protection binary smacks of Marxist reductionism."

But if you step back for a second and think about it. There are two sides in every war. Using ED's analytical framework inevitably leaves us with one side who is plundering and another who is defensive, which is to say that one side is purely justified and the other purely unjustified. This just defies common sense.

Furthermore, he writes: "There is no just war except a war fought in self defense – not preemptive defense, not some abstract defense of freedom." So, if I'm getting all this straight, ED is pretty much arguing that the side that starts shooting is wrong and the other side, by definition, is right in EVERY WAR EVER FOUGHT.

As far as FLG can tell, when you pull back the covers, that's what you are left with, and it's by far the dumbest intellectual road ED has ever gone down.


Hilarius Bookbinder said...

I'm going to go out on a limb (without reading any of these links) and suggest these people don't know what they're talking about, FLG. The problem you identify has been a staple of political theory and philosophy for at least 400 years.

FLG said...


Yeah, I'd have boned up on some just war reading before making such a statement, if I were him.

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