war flower


Memorial Day is a time to recognise the sacrifices of the past which made for a better world today. Not just defeating the forces of evil, but the very process of war appears to have been a crucible for forging a stronger society according to Ian Morris’ piece “War. What is it good for? Well, it has made us safer, stronger and richer” (paywalled)…

  • “It may be one of humanity’s greatest evils but without violent conflict the large-scale societies that laid the basis for modern prosperity would never have developed. Wars killed millions in the 20th century but the proportion of violent death was far higher in the Stone Age…The way this worked was that the winners of wars incorporated the losers into larger societies. The only way to make larger societies work was for their rulers to develop stronger governments and one the first things they had to do to stay in power was to suppress violence. These governments’ leaders hardly ever pursued policies of peacemaking purely out of the goodness of their hearts. They did so because well-behaved subjects were easier to govern and tax than angry, murderous ones. The consequence was that rates of violent death fell by 90% between Stone Age times and the 20th century.”