This is very much a work in progress at the moment, so you’ll have to bear with me. I do know the difference between Causality and Correlation. Correlation is when two people have the same cousin, whereas Causality is a short-lived A&E drama where RoSPA would try and work out just why the victim fell off the ladder into the knife-grinding machine or whatever.
So you think about all the wars that were ever fought, and their causes. Maybe 7% or so of all conflicts historically had religious causes, and only a vanishingly small fraction of 1% were caused by women. I can’t even think of one Boudicca’s rebellion was a perfectly legitimate response to the Romans. Maggie sent a task force because Galtieri – a man, notice – had invaded the Falklands. Only Good Queen Bess arguably caused a war. But then she did claim to have the heart of a man. And the innards and quarters of a number of Catholic priests. But then, look at her parents. Ghastly. Ghastly. But the sort of spotty dawk-worshipping dorks who hang around on forums or comment on Comment is Free cheerfully blame religion for wars, without realising the common theme in all wars is the thing they learnt to type one-handed for.
And it’s easy to blame this whole “men cause nearly all wars” thing on their upbringing. After all, living as we do in a country where boys are encouraged from a young age to fill in world atlases with a pink pen, it’s no surprise if they decide to attack Iraq without any good reason. Yes, I know George W Bush said we should do it, but if George Bush said let’s all jump off a cliff, Tony Blair wouldn’t do that as well, would he? Although I hear not all the footage from Camp David was released.
No, it’s simple. Given any situation of minor stress that should be resolved by negotiation, kind words and maybe a bit of bitching about France behind their backs, military options are routinely considered because thinking and talking is too hard. Nobody ever really wins a war. And it’s got to be a good principle that’s worth dying for – and a better one to send others to die for. But rationality is an interesting thing. And a good dose of testosterone can make any number of deaths seem like a reasonable price to pay. Simplicity and glory always seem so much easier than losing face or even simply trying to find a better way
No, it’s pretty obvious. You can talk about economic stresses. You can consider your ethnic fault lines. You can blether about religion. But it’s men who cause wars, and they’re chemically wired to do it. If some of them didn’t at least have a half-dose of humanity and intelligence, we’d all be wiped out by now.
And if; by some freak, that happens – then if the last human on earth crawls out of the wreckage, looks across a blighted, lifeless post-apocalyptic landscape crawling with cockroaches, and reflects that at least we stuck to our principles – then you can bet that last survivor will be a man.