Brushfires

Apropos of nothing at all, here is a statement by Shouting Thomas, a regular commenter at Althouse. I focused on this, not because of any relation to the post he commented on, but it struck me that ST had a particularly wise wife-

My late wife, Myrna, hailed from a culture that never seems to entirely be at peace, the Philippines.

Her take on war reminded me of the environmental outlook on brushfires in the wilderness.

Myrna viewed blood lust as an innate, essential part of the human condition. Efforts to completely suppress that blood lust are doomed to failure, and ultimately produce a far worse result.

If you accept that brushfires are a part of nature’s scheme in the wilderness, the mammoth conflagration occurs less frequently. If you try to eradicate the brushfires completely, you only increase the severity and frequency of the mammoth conflagrations.

Violence and war have a purpose, else they wouldn’t exist. If you suppress your sanctimonious response for a moment and think about this, you’ll see that this is a Buddhist outlook.

I found that I have been in essential agreement with this for longer than maybe I realized. Though I am essentially a right-wing libertarian (small-l) with a large dash of social liberalism (seasoned by experience I hope) I’ve never had a problem with sublimating violence so that the real beast isn’t released. A lot of my fellow-travelers have railed against things like hyper-violent first-person-shooter games – I well remember the huge controversy about Postal when it was released- but I always felt it was better to release these impulses with fake blood in a fantasy world than to act them out for real. Hence football, hockey, and the Call of Duty franchise. Am I wrong?

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