Today is Armistice Day, the centennial of the end of the first World War. My thoughts about the violent nature of our species have evidently settled into my gut, because my reaction to events today is one of sadness over our futile waste of life.
World War I was particularly dehumanizing, because it was the first war fought with machine guns. 19th century combat tactics met 20th century technology, and a staggering number of people died. Was warfare improved? Was the ability of humans to settle their affairs improved? No. The cost was simply higher. Much higher. Since then, the United States has fought in many other wars.
Wars are fought over who is in charge, over political ideology, and over race. All of these things essentially belong to the same category: tribalism.
Tribalism is a natural human instinct. So is violence. Together, they cause wars.
And here we are in 2018, and the level of tribalism is at an all time high. We recognize and mostly denounce racism and bigotry, sexism, religious intolerance, etc. However, we do not recognize party affiliation as tribalism.
We’re going to war. Civil war.