Tuesday, November 10, 2009

revolution (in america and the world)

It would be foolish to conduct a class on war without considering both the merits and setbacks of revolutionary warfare in it's various forms. Admittedly war is violent, and violence is often a bad thing. But in the following discourse i hope to decide that revolutionary war is (at least in theory) a good thing.

There are many things that can cause a revolution. On the whole revolutions are started because a nations people are discontent with some aspect of that nations administration (cognitive dissonance). for example in the revolutionary war, the people of the colonies felt that there rights had been denied them. this can affect anything from changes in government power, (as in The French Revolution) to the complete withdrawl of a nation from a political body (The American Revolution). In both cases The revolutionary parties are overthrowing their government due to a percieved and probably realistic threat to their individual freedoms. "men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights...life liberty and the pursuit of happiness"

in this case the revolutionaries are morally and pragmatically justified. They are securing basic rights that have been denied them by their government. But what about the case of unfounded mutiny? lets take the constant power struggles in Africa as an example, each one lead by that years hottest revolutionary. These struggles are often based on racism, and greed (it's arguable that the American and french revolutions were the same thing ,simply with a better coat of paint, but lets pretend they were noble causes for the sake of arguement).
In the case of misdirected anger (due to say, economic trouble) people are easily swayed by a leader to direct that anger at a perceived oppressor. and the noble instinct to revolutionary war is turned into a weapon of terrorism, as can be seen in the Hutu/Tutsi conflicts in Rowanda which have causes a state of near constant war since 1965.

It seems then, that there are two types of revolutionary war, One having a relatively noble cause, and the other being little more than terrorism in the name of justice. don't get me wrong terrorism in the name of justice makes for a good movie (V for vendetta), but i question it's morality.

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