(January 25, 2017, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Exterminating human beings seems to be an unintelligent way of running a society, especially when it is considered that the main purpose humans live in society is to ensure their survival. One would think that any system of society that ceases to ensure survival would meet with the disapproval of its members. But there are a number of currently popular arguments that are intended to justify such legalised murder.
1. THE ECONOMIC ARGUMENT. War can be profitable for one or other of the sides.
Wars are not fought between the owners and non-owners of wealth, but between one set of owners and another. Every war in the history of capitalism has been fought, directly or indirectly, to secure markets and raw materials. Wars are squalid battles between capitalist countries over who owns what is in and on the Earth.
2. THE MORAL/RELIGIOUS ARGUMENT. The enemy in war is invariably immoral, valueless and ungodly and thus deserves to be killed.
One of the early members of the Socialist Party of Great Britain said that the sight of the priests blessing the guns in 1915 made him first consider becoming a socialist. In the last world war the messengers of God blessed the aeroplanes of both the British and the Nazis before they went off to carry out their respective holy missions of murder.
Most workers accept morality because they feel powerless to reject the guidance of their rulers. The church encourages this sense of impotence by telling us that not only is it sinful to kill, but it is unpatriotic and sinful not to kill when our masters so decide.
3. THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL ARGUMENT. Humans like fighting because they are naturally aggressive.
Anthropologists who have asserted that homo sapiens is essentially aggressive have been opposed by many empirical observations. Where there is harmony of interests, non-aggressive, co-operative people are found. It is not human nature for humans to wish to kill one another, and if it is why do they have to wait for a legal decree before war can commence? The anti-social conception of humans is not indicative of inherent human characteristics, but of a system that forces people to act inhumanely and, in that sense, unnaturally. The myth about the Glory of War has been somewhat exposed by the accounts that have followed all wars are not about bravery and heroism, but about the indignity of plunder and the inhumanity of slaughter.
4. THE POLITICAL ARGUMENT. Murder is right when it is in defence of the Queen/President/State/State-to-be.
This is the least convincing argument to attempt to justify war. No doubt there is a considerable number of people in Britain who would be prepared to lay down their lives for the Queen. Perhaps it would be a solution if they were simply to lay down their lives and be given honorary peerages; this would at least prevent involving those of us who do not want to die on behalf of monarchs, nations or religion. Islamic fanatics, left-wing insurrectionists and nationalists are not only claiming the right to die for their cause, but are demanding that other workers die with them. A system of society that compels workers to fight for a country that they do not own is urgently in need of being removed. If there is a nuclear war – or even a serious conventional war – millions of workers would die in defence of countries that are not and cannot be theirs.