Evolution and the Pacifist

I see that Chancellor Olaf Scholz is being criticized  in Germany for not going far enough in supporting Ukraine with arms and by others for providing any help at all.

What I find interesting about the large number of German pacifists proposing no assistance for Ukraine at all is that they have proposed no alternative plans. In response to the Russian invasion they simply want the Ukrainians to step aside without a fight. There would then be no war. Simple. There would then also be no Ukraine, a repeat of the previous Russian occupation when millions of Ukrainians starved to death while Mother Russia ‘redistributed’ almost all of the large Ukrainian harvests and other natural resources. A small price to pay, apparently, for having no war. Not a peace exactly, just no war. And I assume they would like Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Germany to do the same. For as sure as night follows day Russia will come knocking at all of those doors to plunder their national wealth too before this year is out.

Now I know all this sounds like I am anti-pacifist, I am not. I would very much like to be one, and live in a world where wars do not happen. But since there are always evil, power hungry, greedy, violent people sharing the world with us aggression will always be  a problem. And I would really like to know of a better answer than war when one state attempts to subjugate another. The brightest and best minds in the entire world have failed to come up with that answer so far. So I will not be holding out much hope that it will happen anytime soon.

Sadly, I do realise that it has to be this way. Aggression, power and dominance is part of human nature. In the dim and distant past primitive cavemen needed to defend their small patch of hunting and gathering grounds to ensure their offspring’s survival. But we also have the ability to cooperate and so many families gathered together to protect themselves from more powerful aggressors and became villages, towns, cities, states, and then countries. This was the birth of civilisation. A similar evolution in weapons has gone on in parallel with this process. Once the first caveman picked up a stick to defend himself from a stronger foe then the slow march to nuclear weapons, and whatever succeeds them, became inevitable. But our ability to deal with them has not progressed at all.

But still the biggest, boldest and most aggressive prospered at the expense of the weak. Put simply the benefits of aggression outweigh any advantage gained from cooperation. That’s evolution in action, and in this version, for it is not the first evolutionary experiment on this planet, cooperation almost always comes second to competition. Maybe the next experiment will have a different balance.


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