Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cooperation Can Happen Anywhere

In “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie,” Carl Watner uses the development of the “live and let live” system that developed in the trenches of WW1 as an example of how cooperation between individuals can happen under all sorts of conditions.

Warring soldiers who were stuck in the trenches figured out that this mutual cooperation increased the chances that everyone would get what the soldiers really wanted, which was to return home. Alive.

Of course their off-scene commanders didn’t think too much of this and they used various schemes to stop this behavior. I’m sure they hated this. How dare these soldiers make their own pacts with their opponents instead of following orders. How embarrassing to see peace breaking out, right in the middle of their war.

Of course war tactics are much different nowadays because many of those doing the damage never even get close to seeing the people they are maiming and killing.

Even so, this example shows what individuals can accomplish, even under the most horrid circumstances, to cooperate with others.

Final note to Issue 12

This issue contains a short piece by H. L. Mencken, written in 1930 called “What I Believe.” He sums up his life philosophy with a string of paragraphs that begin with I believe. This is my favorite:

“I believe in complete freedom of thought and speech, alike for the humblest man and the mightest, and in the utmost freedom of conduct that is consistent with living in organized society."

4 comments:

Stateknowsbest said...

I did two tours in Iraq. The attitude of a lot of troops was very similar to the attitude that was exhibited by the troops in WWI.

We would unilaterally refuse to commit acts of aggression and further endanger ourselves. For example, when we were sent off our FOB's on patrols we would often just park in a secluded area and radio in to the TOC as if we were following our patrol route.

Not quite the same as "mutual cooperation" with opposing soldiers but very close considering today’s military is voluntary unlike the draftees of WWI.

Debbie H. said...

Stateknowsbest, that is interesting. I'm sure some who might hear of your actions would say you were not doing "your job." They might even say if this sort of thing is common, that it's a reason the war is never ending.

How would you answer such criticism? Have you changed your views on defense as it relates to nation-state war?

Stateknowsbest said...

I am sure some would even say that I was actually committing treason or sedition. The war is never ending because it makes certain figures in the government and their pet crony-capitalists lots of money. Check out the book War is a Racket by Marine Corps General, Smedley Butler.

War got us out of the Great Depression, after all. Funny thing though, if WWII got the US out of the depression then why aren't the current, much more expensive wars, pulling the US out of the 'recession'?

During my second tour in Iraq I had some very traumatizing experiences that soured me toward the war and put me onto the path that has led me to my current voluntaryist viewpoint.

By the way, I really enjoy both of your blogs.

Debbie H. said...

I'm sorry you had traumatizing experiences but I'm glad you are now of the voluntaryist viewpoint. Perhaps your personal experiences will help others you come into contact with to reach the voluntaryist insight without having to go through something like you did.

I'm glad you enjoy my blogs, thanks. :)