I'd say that if Aristotle's maxim regarding human nature, that man is a political animal holds true then war will invariably to a lesser or greater extent be present in human society. This does not diminish the due caution and necessary rigorous acessment before embarking upon a war, as Clauswitz always maintained that war should only be used as a last resort and only with its objectives and their realisation at the forefront of one's mind. But it was etched on the cannons of the napoleonic era, "the last argument of kings." If intelligent discourse or tolerence cannot satisy a society's discords or one's ambitions and animosities then clubbing you adversary to death is a method of recourse exercised throughout history irrespective of era or geography. Therefore when Campanella asked, "war what is it good for," I would say at least it is a historically certified means of getting what one wants, silencing inconvenient observations and constituting the last argument of kings.
"you should consider all those communities where there isn't universal education and literacy isn't the norm. Don't they govern themselves?
Also, what prevents alienated people from governing themselves?"
Interestingly in those aforementioned communities where there isn't universal education and litercay isn't the norm, those few who are literate and have an education if only the ability to articulate and argue effectively are those generally who govern. Secondly that statement was in reference to Marx's views which applied to a significant number of industrialised workers. Any governance of a group of that size and of the resultant national government requires a specialisation as seen in the USSR. We have yet to see (and it can be asked whether we will ever see) a society governed by workers. Any marxist society will have to be already sophisticated in its workings. Post-revolution those workings will still have to be governed. The legitimate question is how 1) the workers are going to initiate a revolution and subsequent government that is more than mob rule and 2) how illiterate and alienated proles are going to govern a nation without ceasing to be workers. The difficulty is how workers having overthrown the status quo are going to govern a modern industrialised nation. Even if they opt for the democratic election of leaders from their own ranks, such leaders cease to be workers, what one has then is the rule in the name of the workers as opposed to Marx's rule by the workers. Such leaders invariably will succumb eventually to Acton's rule, "absolute power corrupts absolutely." One ends up with the pigs from Animal Farm.
Sorry about the misunderstanding regarding alienation, in that I was referring to Marx's hypothesis of the workers being alienated from the fruits of their labour. That alienation is difficult in regards to self-government as one of the underlying motivations Marx attributes to previous revolutions, slaves and masters and serfs and lords was that the opressed were seeking the trappings, power and capital of the upper class. If the underlying motivation of a Marxist revolution is such, then if one's proletariat is alienated in positioning and motivation from such trappings why then revolt if bereft of the financial and/or power motivation of previous revolutions?
In response to Qualia's inquiry as to what I meant by "far right" the answer was my own neoconservative views. I am a neoconservative with elements of Keynesian and Heyek's economics along with secular humanism. Don't ask how I reconcile these viewpoints with one another, often I don't know how myself.
It is interesting that the arguably simplistic political spectrum of centrist, leftist and right wing can house in regards to the far right: white supremicists, laissez-faire capitalists, nationalists, fascists, neo-nazis and certain veriaties of anarchists in addition to my own variety of neoconservatism. It can be asked whether somthing so subject to individual variation as political ideologies can be categorised with somthing so simple as the terms left, right, centrist or moderate?
Also Qualia, why would you state that Marx desired a return to fall human beings? By this surely you wouldn't be referring to the biblical fall of man? My understanding of Marx is derived from secondary sources however I had been informed that Marxism was a secular ideology.
Furthermore when you stated that my criticism was shared by a number of Marx's associates I would say that it is an amibiguity that has assailed Marxism from its infancy. The question is how does an illiterate and alienated proletariat attain self-governance. The answer in Marxist-Leninism and Maoism is the existence of a committed party of revolutionaries who facilitate the ascension of the masses to power. However as illustrated by George Orwell, dictatorship in the name of the people is not the rule of the people. We all know how the USSR and the marxist/maoist element of the PRC ended up as a result of these comitted revolutionaries being subjected to Lord Acton's prognostication of, "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Although admittedly the USSR was a deviation from doctrinaire marxism.
Parody, there is a quote in Orwell's 1984 stated by O'brien, "that human nature is infinitely maleable." This to a large extent is valid as any grasp of anthrapology will testify to the diveristy of culutures, moralities and customs that populate the expanse of the globe and history. This diversity and the difference between say the average New Yorker and the mentality of an Aztec priest-king is inordinate. Nietzche aknowleged the capacity of humanity to alter when he preposed that the minds of the superstitious (an eastern quality, e.g Ancient Persia) were fundamentally different from those of the rational (e.g Athens). We humans have certain impulses and imperatives engrained into our subconscious, the origin and function of these being the subject of evolutionary psychology. However these impulses are little more than base and simple, the need to eat, the need to drink, the compulsion to mate and so on. As Freud maintained these impulses can be channeled in a number of ways even those that deviate from the norm e.g a sexual attraction to a chair or fanatacism. Parody of Language in answer to your question as to whether we are as human as the Neanderthals or the ancients or does human nature warp and evolve, I would say both. Our human natures are similiar in the same regard that differing art works drafted with oil colours are similiar, effectively the same composition and yet totally different configuration. To say that the loves, prejudices, mentalities, taboos, conditioning and culture of every society, the very essence of humanity are the same throughout history is absurd. An elementary understanding of history of anthrapology would show how different other cultures and societies have been to those of modernity. The answer as I see it is that the human condition is evolving, relative to circumstance and conditioning yet these differences derive from the same beast: man.
Qualia, excuse my mistaking of Mill's view that the division of labour renders the proletariat apolitical for your own viewpoint. However the interesting facet in that regard is how far in citing a philosopher does one merely advance one's own viewpoint by a more prominent and less rebuttable proxy? Also interesting that you said that Marx's view of the division of labour was that, "it make humans alienated and dumb driven animals." Marx although cynical at times had a tremendous faith in the underlying intelligence of the proletariat, which when exploited to an excess, to rise up, foribly removing the supposed manacles of economic disparity. Just a question, how if this was Marx's view of the division of labor can he still assert that the proletariat is capable of self-governance? Marx's doctrine may have been that the division of labour leads to a tremendous disparity between the ownership of the means of production and the proletariat's labour. But it probably is somthing of a stretch to suggest Marx thought that the roots of his utopia where dumb animals, exploited yes and treated like animals but dumb driven animals, perhaps not. Feel free to quote Kapital and the manifesto back at me if you like. Secondly please do not mistake me for a marxist as my own views are a little more to the far right.
Despite the netorious influence the envangelical church has over the present US administration's policy both foreign and domestic, to extrapolate this and neoconservatice ideology into a prediction of the US pulling off another misadventuristic stint at forced reigime change is illogical. Arguably efforts at diplomacy, both hardline unilateral and multilateral negotiations with Iran, and making noise, deployment of an air carrier battle fleet to gulf and so forth is one thing. It is another entirely to undertake an actual declaration of war against a reigime who has spent considerable quantities of oil revenue into the acquisition of a modern military. The Iranians are equiped with modern Russian SAMs and other trappings of militaristic modernity, which effectively rules out Stormin' Norman Shock and Awe tactics as the better part of the US Air Force cannot be deployed above Iran. This is as advances in SAM technology have rendered the better part of the US Air Force redundant as far as this scanario is concerned. Despite the F-22 Raptors, the Nighthawk and Spirit stealth bombers and the cruise missles, the vast majority of the US military is operating late Cold War technology as far as aircraft are concerned. Sending this against the outdated and effectively non-existant Iraqi air defence network is one thing, against a modern Russian-supplied air defence network with the relative antiques that the US is operating is tantamount to strategic suicide. Secondly the evangelical influence on the Bush administration has been accounted by some authorities to be in recession since the mid-term elections last year when the Republicans and especially evangelical republicans were so bloodied.
The evangelical church previously one of the most formidable political networks in the country is going through a "major restructuring" (read complete crisis of stuctural faith) following the hilariously hypocritical exposal of Tom Haggard, head of the evangelical church as a drug abuser and a closet homosexual. The internal strife in the church as well as the unseating of several prominent congressmen church members has for the moment, muted their political influence. Secondly expounding on the point raised by davidm regarding Bush's view of, "the nuts and the crazies," the members of Bush's cabinet may be pious and churchgoing. However piety doesn't necessarily entail a psychotic desire for armegeddon. Despite piety being a necessity for any candidate for US office you still need political tact to make it that far. Anyone with that political tact and an interest in how history perceives him/her like Bush isn't going to do somthing that will most certainly get him impeached. Bush in the final months of his presidency has a view as to how history will perceive him, it is unlikely that he will endanger his legacy by indlulging in a congressionally unsanctioned war that will get him impeached and demonised by both Democrat and Republican.
The premis of Adam Smith's argument is that the devision of labor entailes that the better part of modernised humanity is confined to a series of very simple actions. This arguably was true at the time of writing. However dispite the tendancy of economic rationalists and those advocating laissez-faire capitalism to cannonise Adam Smith as the root of all socio-economic wisdom, he was writing several hundred years ago. The industrialised society he was observing, despite being the precursor to our own, is dynamicaly different from our own contempory liberal-capitalist-democracy of today. Today's capitalism is increasingly dependent less on the mindless repitition of mundane and simple operations and more on technical specialisation. The example used for mundane tasks and the division of labor in the Wealth of Nations is that of pin-making. Contrast pin-making with even the dullest of jobs today and that presently dull task is intellectually stimulating in comparison. Even the most simple of jobs in today's market has a tertiary qualification as a pre-requisite. It is not uncommon to find that the manager of one's local McDonalds has an MBA. Although it may be true that in times past and to a lesser extent today that aspects of the division of labor leads to quasi-retardation, the analytical skills prized in today's workforce and schooling systems limits this to a certain extent.
Just to point out a presumption on qualia's part, you presume that lack or presence of intellect, the ability to hold a rational conversation, somehow renders you a, "challenger to practical-political-ethical affairs." Rationality and intelligence in that regard is merely the initial foot in the door. To be a challenger necessitates that one is political. I have encountered many an intelligent individual who is largely apoltitical as much as that contravenes the much cited maxim of Aristotle (Man is a political animal).