Carnage and Culture


I've just finished reading Carnage and Culture, in which Victor Davis Hanson argues persuasively that there is a distinctively Western way of making war (decisive battle through the disciplined clash of citizen-soldiers) that is made even more deadly through the application of advanced technology and market-driven logistics, and that is intimately bound up with the distinctively Western culture of individualism, consensual government, constitutionalism, civilian oversight, unfettered scientific investigation, freedom of thought, and open dissent. Not all of these factors have been present in every period or nation of Western civilization, but they have been almost entirely absent from non-Western civilizations. There is much to absorb here, but the main outlines of Hanson's argument comport with my readings in history and culture. I might even buy the book, which from me is high praise indeed!

Peter Saint-Andre > Journal