In a year-end summary, one of our nation’s major weekly news publications recently tweeted that one of its most-read articles featured former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev saying that it appeared that the world is preparing for war. This apparently came as a shock to the man who once controlled about half of the world’s nuclear arsenal, but of course it shouldn’t be a shock. Entropy, the gradual decline into disorder, is the natural state of both man and universes. Every nation, as part of its daily life, spends some portion of its time preparing to shore up order within its boundaries while defending itself from external entropy and existential threats. The only reason that it seems odd that the topic of war is so much in the news is that we have gone through such an abnormally long period of stability and international peace.
“What ‘peace’?” some might say, pointing at Iraq and Afghanistan or even Yemen and Syria. Surely there has been no “peace” in the world for some time. Such observations are both true and false.
True that peace has not reigned throughout the world for some time, but false in that the broader international environment has been largely at peace since the end of World War II, the last worldwide conflagration, the last civilizational war. Both world wars, and many other wars before them, brought about the extinction of nations and empires and the deaths of thousands or millions, depending on the time in which they were waged. In each of these historic cases, the cause of civilization was set back, with literacy, per capita income, and life expectancies dropping while entropy and chaos rose.
Read the full op-ed in National Review.