He Was Wrong: War Is Not An Extension Of Politics


Clausewitz was pretty much wrong about everything. War is not an extension of politics. Politics is a means by which we limit war. It is not politics that is the basis of human interaction, but the ever present rational choice between war, conflict, boycott, cooperation, insurance, and kin-sacrifice. Political organizations exist to defend the interests of the group from competitors, and if possible convert the group to the most successful competitor, and therefore the competitor with the greatest discounts on negotiations with other groups. Politics is the extension of cooperation, and when politics fails, we return to the prior state – whatever is in our rational self-interest. But, as we are strong when organized gainst competitors, and weak when disorganized in the face of competitors, when political solutions fail, we merely choose politically organized conflict of large numbers rather than otherwise organized conflict of smaller numbers – thus allowing us to concentrate our full resources on the conflict in question.

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