Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wargaming and Anarchy

There has long been the theory that warring is in our nature. That it’s inevitable that humans will go to war from time to time. I dispute the accuracy of the claim, but see some merit to the argument. We are an aggressive race. If we weren’t, we would be extinct.
Does this, however, inevitably mean we will organize to kill one another over resources, religions, resources, philosophies, and resources?

I think not. I think it’s one of the things we can and will overcome. But not by denying it’s existence, but rather by constructively embracing it. For instance the qualities that make a great war leader also make a great businessman. Many of the flaws are the same, as well.

Even so, that has been the trend, and it’s been a fairly quick one, since Business started being organized and global. As it began, there were some of the most horrible wars in the history of humanity. The 20th century, in particular, stands out as one of the most bloody periods… no strike that. THE most bloody period in verifiable human history. Yet the seeds of peaceable interaction were growing at the same time. They had to. The crux of the decision of war vs. voluntaryism is whether or not we continue as a race. The war side of the equation has the ability to destroy everyone.

And we HAVE adapted to our needs as a growing, trading, and technologically adolescent species. Not uniformly or even well, overall, but we are adapting. When I was a kid, the internet was a far off dream. The current generation that’s becoming adult right now never knew a world without it. Most of us, I think, would prefer not to be at war with anybody. But the ‘warriors’, using the term loosely, are still in charge. And there is something in us that’s stirred by martial images.

Which brings me to what I think could solve both sides of the equation. And I’m only joking a little bit. War Games. Not "real world" with the lives of soldiers, civilians, and pet fish on the line, but things like World of Warcraft, The excellent Warhammer 40,000 from Games workshop, and many others. They allow us to simulate war in all it’s bloody glory without losing anything but time. They are vastly stimulating. I think one of the reasons that war is so popular among the "elite" is exactly that. War planning is among the most difficult things there is, and the plans have to be dynamic enough to contain a developing situation that you DIDN’T expect the other guy to do. It’s exhilarating.

Now, think about what we could do if we could persuade our alleged leaders to get together over the internet and blow each other to bits on a LAN instead of in reality? They could divvy up their virtual world amongst themselves, play stupid economic games, and generally do all the fucked up things that rulers do without actually ruling anyone. The hell of it is, it would probably work to sooth their egos. I can’t see it ever happening like that, but it’s amusing to think about.
But nevertheless, as we evolve to a voluntary society, I would guess that wargames will GAIN popularity rather than losing it. Much like various other games throughout history have become commonplace and harmless, when they started out as deadly serious religious affairs. We adapt. And if we adapt well enough that our needs for conquest can be played out on a tabletop or a LAN? What’s wrong with that? I suspect that the people who flip their wig over kids playing war games are the same people who have "support the troops" magnets on their cars. Sheep who do not think things through. They ought to play more wargames and learn how to think strategically.