Abstract

Attempts to abolish war—not a particular war but war as a social institution—are often dismissed as utopian idealism, wild fantasies far removed from the realm of real politics. War, we are told, is inevitable. Humans are territorial and predatory beings. Besides, there has always been war. Who can forget the opening pages of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, wherein the narrator says that he is writing an antiwar novel and his interlocutor replies, “You know what I say to people when I hear they're writing antiwar books? … I say, ‘Why don't you write an anti-glacier book instead?’” “What he meant, of course,” the narrator explains, “was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers. I believe that, too.” (Of course, that was before global warming.)

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