chapter  7
Man, Aggression, and Men
Pages 38

Perhaps the most gruesome of all commonplaces is that human beings have always killed each other. Faced by this, people have contrived a number of theories and displayed a variety of responses. O f the theories, the two most simple and most pervasive ones are : humans k i l l each other because i t is in their nature to k i l l ; and, humans k i l l because circumstances force them to — when social and psychic conditions improve, kill ing w i l l stop. Whatever theory predominates in any community, virtually all nations - weak and powerful — fear that kill ing wull continue. To forestall the victimiza­ tion of their own citizens, all nations expend money on arms and the bearers of arms. Not only money, but remarkably enormous sums of money. During wars what appears to be limitless wrealth is destroyed and the careers, bodies, and sensibilities of legions of soldiers are afflicted by conflict. The essential nature of peacetime communities may be altered to suit warlike purposes. For some luckless nations arms, violence, and destruction have marked the rhythm of life for years. For more fortunate nations, the manufacture and management of armed power is a critical function of government, and the symbolic violence inherent in standing armies or ready striking forces takes the place of actual conflict.