Only The Dead, The Persistence Of War in the Modern Age by Bear F Braumoeller
2022 Year of Aesthetics Series №29
For the next Fat Tony Book One Off Book Club we are reading Bears Braumoeller’s Only The Dead. On June 6, 2022 at 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM Eastern Time at The Fat Tony’s Discord Server Lounge http://tawk.fattonys.net . Professor Braumoeller will join us for Q&A in second half of the discussion.
This book embraces an aesthetic which is needed in the current age. While Braumoeller disagrees with the decline of war hypothesis, he makes an effort to comprehend and analyze the arguments of the debate in a fair manner. He does not attack strawmen but takes the argument head on, he also looks for validity in arguments counter to his thinking. He also sets out from the beginning to reduce jargon, and write in clear, comprehensible prose.
Braumoeller wishes what he finding about war not declining in frequency or intensity were not the case, he is not a proponent for war, yet his wishes will not dissuade dispassionate analysis of the problem of war not being on the decline at least in a statistically significant measure. He is wary of cherry picking arguments and looks for the most solid data sets available and also analyzes the data in a number of ways including to the methods argued by the proponents of the decline of war.
He embraces understanding the frame work of those he criticizes, and he finds mostly they miss meaningful statistical analysis of the data. He does not malign their intention or read into the decline of war hypothesis concepts that are not part of the literature. His critique of Steve Pinker et al. is stronger for his respectful looking at the decline of war hypothesis.
I will say as a published volume the book is beautiful of high quality paper and excellently put together, the prose and graphics are of fine quality. The language is a approachable, he has reasonable explanation for his positions and his counter arguments to his opposition is professional and polite. He aims to have a readable book in straight forward language, he has achieved this.
I will not say it is an easy read, the topic does take a bit of thought and takes through it is a mathematical based argument that is challenging but it is a worthwhile read if you want to understand if we have turned the corner toward a more peaceful humanity or if there is a lot of work to form a beginning towards that goal.
My chief questions are towards the end of the book on international order and information. I see that information and international order may be more of a double edge sword than is assumed in the book, I like that Bear Braumoeller answers questions in good faith on twitter and is coming to our discussions. Look forward to getting answers to my questions on information and world order. These questions are taking a bit of pondering and formulation, these questions just show the book is provoking thought which is also one of Braumoeller purpose for publishing this book.
@Prof_BearB is great follow on twitter by the way.
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