Essay: The Metaphysics of War

Watching the war in the South Atlantic—remote and ominous and obscurely disgusting—we keep telling ourselves that we cannot do that sort of thing any more. Once we could indulge ourselves. No more. We will find some substitute, a methadone to ease of the habit. We will take up a surrogate for war—a sport, perhaps: planetary killer golf, or perpetual Olympics. We will meditate, to keep our tempers, and chant a sweet Quaker om. We will sublimate the black bats of our rages into butterflies.

We are kidding ourselves. The presence of nuclear weapons in...

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