One of the most insidious modern memes holds that war is innate, an adaptation bred into our ancestors by natural selection. This hypothesis—let’s call it the “Deep Roots Theory of War”–has been promoted by such intellectual heavyweights as Steven Pinker, Edward Wilson, Jared Diamond, Richard Wrangham, Francis Fukuyama and David Brooks.
The Deep Roots Theory addresses not just violent human aggression in general but a particular manifestation of it, involving attacks by one group against another. Deep Rooters often contend that–as warlike as we are today–we were much more warlike before the advent of civilization.
Pinker claims in his bestseller Better Angels of Our Nature that “chronic raiding and feuding characterize life in a state of nature.” In The Social Conquest of the Earth, Wilson calls warfare “humanity’s hereditary curse.” The Deep Roots Theory has become extraordinarily popular, especially considering that the evidence for it is extraordinarily flimsy (see “Further Reading” below).
A study published today in Science, ”Lethal Aggression in Mobile Forager Bands and Implications for the Origins of War,” provides more counter-evidence to the Deep Roots Theory. The study’s authors, anthropologists Douglas Fry and Patrik Soderberg of Abo Akademi University in Finland, say their findings “contradict recent assertions that [mobile foragers] regularly engage in coalitionary war against other groups.”
ROBERT STEELE: It took me a while — the blinding flash occurred in the last few weeks as I did some thinking for NATO ACT’s Innovation Hub — but I finally realized both why the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) movement failed, and why war is the default choice of Industrial Era nations. Here is what it boils down to: secrecy is essential to prevent the public from understanding that decisions are based on special interests instead of public interests; and war is profitable for the few whereas peace is profitable for everybody BUT the dividends of peace (and prosperity) are so evenly distributed that the special interests derive no special advantage [especially not the advantage of concentrating wealth and being able to earn $3M an hour as one of the Koch Brothers does, on a criminally flawed governance system that legalizes meta-crime]. War is, as General Smedley Butler, USMC (Ret) declared, “a racket.” War — and the war economy that is dysfunctional for everything else — is a means by which those in power abuse their power to profit from engagements where the blood, the sweat, and the tears are those of the 99% and the profits are concentrated for the 1% that do not do the building or the fighting. What is happening now, slowly, but there will be a sharp upturn within a few years, is that public intelligence has tools converging — Crisis Mappers combined with OpenTopic combined with MoveOn and MeetUp, combined with Amazon authors-reviewers-readers, for example, is a hair away from BURYING the secret intelligence world, the corrupt media, and the pandering think tanks. The future is bright.
PS. We still need a secret intelligence community but the emphasis has to shift. Priority One must be ruthless pervasive counterintelligence against all those who violate their Oath to defend and support the Constitution against all enemies domestic and foreign. The 1% are not the threat. The core threat is those in the three branches of government at every level who embrace personal corruption over public duty.