kenneth waltz - Joby Martin POLS150 03/08/2008 Waltz, War,...

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-1Joby Martin POLS150 03/08/2008 Waltz, War, and the State of Man Kenneth Waltz's Man, the State, and War attempts to deconstruct warfare, breaking down this endlessly complex issue into its most basic element in order to see exactly what drives an individual to commit atrocities of war and political murder. In doing so, he focuses on two questions: what causes war, and what, if anything, can be done to ensure that our future is more peaceful than our past? Waltz dedicates considerable ink to the issue of whether or not man is inherently evil. This does not seem terribly relevant, in a practical sense. For whatever it's worth, I subscribe to Rousseau's "tabula rasa" school of thought, the belief that man is born a clean slate and whatever notions of "good" and "evil" he holds later in life are taught and not inherent. Justice, morality, ethics-- these are all subjective concepts, they change drastically between generations, cultures, and even from one person to the next. Evil, at least as it exists in the first image, may or may not be inherent; the more important observation is that evil is inevitable and ubiquitous in all men. To his credit, Waltz seems to arrive at this conclusion. Perhaps the best illustration of the inevitability of evil and warfare is the simple fact that war predates the state. Well before the agricultural revolution and the advent of the modern nation-state, war was still common among hunter-gatherer societies. Whether or not the evil in the first image is inherent or learned, it is limited in its
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scope. It is the State which takes that evil and magnifies it. It bestows upon imperfect men a power to influence millions. If one man commits a violent act against another, the result is a loss of one life. If one state commits an act of violence against another, the loss of life is exponentially greater. The most vicious mass murderer may kills dozens of
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This essay was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course POLS 150 taught by Professor Ckharris during the Spring '08 term at San Jose State University .

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kenneth waltz - Joby Martin POLS150 03/08/2008 Waltz, War,...

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