Tag Archives: political philosophy

Education in the Context of War

People form States in order to protect their rights. The most important of these rights is the right to life. The most important reason people form governments is to protect the lives of the people. In some way, a Government forms to rule the State. A good Government is one in which the State uses its resources to protect the lives of the people, and the other rights of the people.

States have many tools available to protect human life and other rights. One of these tools is war. There are many types of war, some of such are genocidal and have a lot of unfocused violence, others of which are very careful and have so little violence that the object of the war may never realize that there was a war! When people think of wars in this way, they separate wars into gradients, with one extreme called the 0 Gradient of War or “0GW,” implying a holocaust, and the other extreme called the 5th Gradient of War or “5GW,” implying very subtle maneuvers.

Wars change different types of things, depending on their gradient. The sort of “war” we think about when we think of Napoleon Bonaparte, or Kaiser Wilhelm, or Emperor Hirohito, focus on military reality. These types of war are relatively low on the gradients of warfare, but fall short of genocide. These types of war fall between the first and third gradient of warfare. The sort of “war” we think about when we think of Algeria, or Vietnam, or Afghanistan focus on political reality. Instead of defeating armies in the field, insurgents in the 4th Gradient of Warfare or “4GW” try to collapse the political legitimacy of their enemy. Very subtle wars, or 5GWs, focus on altering the economic reality of the object. Both 5GW, by changing economics and 0Gw, by killing entire societies, also focus on changing the cultural geographic reality of the objects.

People use States to wage Wars to protect life and human rights. A short-term and inefficient way of not losing wars is to win wars. But even winning wars has costs. It is better to never have to fight wars in the first place. The short-term way not to fight wars is to be able to intimidate other States into peace. Of all the gradients of war, 5GW is the one most focused on the long-term. As 5GW is the type of war that is focused on changing economics and societies, it follows that we should wage a 5GW to create a long-term future in which other countries do not want to go to war, either.

Different thinkers call the time and place where war becomes unthinkable by different terms. Tom Barnett calls it the “Core,” and other researchers call it the Cartel of States or even globalization.” Marxists use terms like “State Monopoly Capitalism” and “Ultra-Imperialism,” and the global bourgeoisie.” Whatever you call it, extending extending this core of peace around the world has functioned as the grand strategic objective of the United States since at least 1942. While not all wars are fight wisely, to the extent there appears to be a consistent objective to United States warfare, it appears to be “shrinking the gap” that is outside our global system.

While the United States focuses on building peace around the world, it should not loose sight of single disasters that could delay things by a century or more. A Chinese invasion of Taiwan is probably the single most dangerous thing that could happen to the world. Even though it is short-term thinking to focus primarily on deterring a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, it would be foolish not to do nothing to prevent it. Other tricky spots of the world also exist.

Unfortunately, our broken education system means that our critical infrastructure is run by Chinese (and Indians, and Russians, and other foreign nationals). A globally integrated work force of course is a natural part of the peace, and is a good thing. But it is a bad thing that our educational system is so awful that foreign governments might try to take advantage of the fact that we have no choice but to have their nationals supervising our infrastructure in a time of crisis.

Education reform is important. Both teachers and publishers seek to profiteer from the need for education reform at the expense of our nation.

Our country deserves better than that.

Should there be a religious test for office?

Broadly, questions fall into two types: natural or theological. Natural questions are those open to scientific investigation. Example of natural questions are:

  • Is global climate change caused by human activity?
  • Would al Qaeda cease attacking us if we ceased supporting Isreal and Saudi Arabia?
  • Should the United States military include both blitzkrieg and COIN capacity

Theological questions, on the other hand, question the nature of God and His relationship to other things. Examples of theological questions are:

  • Is there Hypostatic Union of Human and Divine Nature in the Second Person of the Trinity?
  • Do all non-Missouri-Lutherans go to Hell?
  • Can Allah destroy the Koran?

In general, one might say that deciding who to vote for on account of natural questions is applying a “natural test.” Likewise, deciding who to vote for on account of theological questions would be applying a “religious test.”

Certainly, some people use religious reasons to answer natural questions. Thus, Paul argued that Christians should support the State, while Martin Luther King, Jr. agitated for civil rights for American blacks. Though some people are uncomfortable with religious motives for natural tests, there exists a broad consensus that religious beliefs can meaningfully inform political and economic structure, among both Catholics and Protestants.

However, fewer people support the idea of Religious Tests for office. Left-leaning Salon snickered at evangelicals who refused to vote for Mitt Romney. Even right-wing commentators limited their concern over a Muslim congressman to how he would answer natural questions.

Thus, I was surprised that Eddie of Hidden Unities argued in favor of a religious test for President. Specifically, Eddie appeared to argue for a cordon sanitaire against ministers who give incorrect answers to the theological question of who will go to Heaven or Hell, among other things.

I was taken aback by Eddie’s assertion. So far my friend has neither supported nor renounced his claim, though it has made me think about a question that previously I took to be a no-brainer. So

Should there be a religious test for government office?

If so, which theological questions must candidates and their associates answer correctly?