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Entries by Scott Atran from 03/2011

Why War Is Never Really Rational

| Posted 03.29.2011 | Politics

The inconsistency between war as a moral imperative versus political policy runs way wider and deeper than the Libya conflict. It goes to the heart of human nature and the character of society. For despite the popular delusion that war is primarily a matter of political strategy and pragmatic execution, it almost never is. Squaring the circle of war and politics, morality and material interests, is not just Obama's or America's quandary, it is a species-wide dilemma that results from wanting to believe that we humans are fundamentally rational beings, when in fact David Hume was right to say that "Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions."