Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Do Men Cause Wars?

My posted reply to the Inside Man article titled 'Do Men Start Wars'

You use the word 'start', by which you must mean either 'cause' or 'declare'.

We all know that some men have declared war and that some women have also done so. The question of whether men cause wars is a more interesting one.

Every claim about causation entails a corresponding counterfactual claim.
“An arsonist caused my house to burn down.” (Claim)
“If there had been no arsonist, my house would not have burned down.” (Counterfactual)

So to answer whether “Men cause wars”, we can ask the counterfactual question “If there had never been men, would there have been wars?” However the answer is, of course, no; there would not be any humans if only one gender existed.

So we should ask something else.
“Does male leadership cause wars?” (Claim)
“If there were no male leadership, would there have been (as many) wars?” (Counterfactual)

Ignoring the possibility of no leadership at all; hence assuming female leadership. From history, it seems like female leadership would cause at least as many wars as male leadership does.

Margaret Thatcher: Falklands War
Indira Gandhi: Indo-Pakistan War
Golda Mier: Yom Kippur War
Elizabeth I of England: Nine Year’s War, Irish War, Elizabethan War
Anna of Russia: War of Polish Succession, Russo-Turkish War
Elizabeth of Russia: War of Austrian Succession, Seven-Year’s War
Catherine the Great: Russo-Persian War

A look through English and Russian history confirms that most female leaders have declared war. I don’t know about the history of other nations. More recently, Hillary Clinton voted for war.

It seems that men do not “cause” wars anymore than women do.

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