A flaw in Kant’s democratic peace theory

I have been saying for sometime now that wealth has destroyed the idea of democratic peace theory (you can read about that here). basically the idea, in the original context, was that the spread of democracy would decrease the chance of war. the theory being that since the people are the ones to make the decisions and pay for the costs of war (both physically and economically) they would be naturally disinclined to throw themselves in the fire.

some people have more recently interpreted the theory as pertaining to wars between democracies. in this case, the theory is pretty solid. democracies rarely wage war on one another. this however, says nothing about democracies waging war on non-democracies.

but that is not my point here. my point has been that part of the deterrence to democracies waging war would be the cost of the conflict in both human life and money expenditure. I have been pointing out to my cohorts that both of these deterrents are now moot points.

The evidence?

1. advances in our military technology now allow the USA to wage war from hundreds of miles away. the usa is so far advanced in military tech that we can enter a battlefield at anytime of day and slaughter the enemy. to witness, the UN estimates iraqi deaths at over 54,000 (here); the usa death toll is now just over 3,100. though there are some complaints out there, these numbers are not significant enough to spur Vietnam like protests.

2. war hardly costs the usa anything. i know, i know, billions of dollars over the last 3 and a half years. but this is nothing compared to the actual size of our economy. are we hurting because of the war? no. is social security, or the FDA in trouble? no. Is wall street  in decline?  no.  great article in newsweek magazine (you can see it here) about exactly how cheap the war is to usa taxpayers. he echoes what i have told several of my friends in the past year or two: “we ‘can wage war almost with pocket change’ (Samuelson, quoting himself in 2002)”.

the bottom line? with such a large economy and technological advantage, a democracy like our own can wage war with almost impunity: human costs are minimal and we can piss the money away without care. i do not wish to minimize the loss of usa soldiers, quite the contrary. the real point to be made here is that if we continue to not pay attention to what our government does it will continue to throw our money and our very lives out the window with the bathwater.

2 Responses to “A flaw in Kant’s democratic peace theory”

  1. nix Says:

    Sick but true

  2. Administrator Says:

    thank you nix!

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