Finalist, 2004 Kids Philosophy Slam
Jason Popps, age 18
War is inevitable because as long as human beings exist they will
desire power. It is human nature to always desire more than what
one already has. As Nietzsche would argue, the will to power is
the fundamental human desire. As shown over the course of history,
the desires of human beings to acquire more than what they already
have frequently result in violent conflict. Such desires as acquiring
more material wealth, including land, goods, and slaves have always
fueled violent conflict over the course of history.
An examination of the period of westward expansion in American
history evidences my claim that the will to power and the desire
to acquire more power through material goods, land, and other
things will always overpower the desire for peace.
Americans at the time were in almost no way threatened by the
Native American population. It would have been easy and entirely
possible for a peaceful coexistence between the two peoples. Yet,
the Americans' will to power soundly defeated their desire for
peaceful coexistence. They saw land, natural resources, animals,
and other goods that were in their grasp to obtain, if only through
the merciless slaughter of numerous Native American tribes. However,
as has always been the case, the desire for power won over the
desire for peace.
I believe that the desire for power is so fundamentally and universally
embedded in human nature that it can in no way be circumvented.
And since the venues through which different individuals seek
to acquire power will inevitably intersect, violent conflict to
establish dominance is inevitable.
World peace is an idealistically naïve notion. It is easiest
to understand this by looking at a simple analysis of the causes
of war. When two sides fail to come to a reasonable and peaceful
conclusion, invariably the determinant of which side prevails
is the physical aspect of the conflict. If a bully steals my lunch
money at school and we fail to agree on the reasonable and peaceful
conclusion that he should return it to me, he has decided the
matter through physical and therefore either implicitly or actually
violent means. If I were to call the police and report that my
money has been stolen, it would be the overwhelming physical presence
of the police that turned the tables of the conflict. The police
would physically and violently subdue him and send him to jail.
It is a tragic yet undeniable truth that physical, or on a larger
scale military, superiority is the ultimate deciding factor in
any conflict. And, as evidenced by the history of mankind, it
is an absurd assumption to think that the entire world could ever
be in total agreement on every major issue. Therefore, the element
of physical violence that ultimately determines the outcome of
conflict will always be present.