Finalist, 2004 Kids Philosophy Slam
Jason Popps, age 18
McLean, VA

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.

Kids Philosophy Slam Home Page