Thu, 4 November 2021
Emma hosts Margaret MacMillan, historian and professor at the University of Toronto, to discuss her recent book, “War: How Conflict Shaped Us,” on how the ideologies of war have been central to how our societies have progressed. First, Professor MacMillan takes a step back, looking at how warfare works in tandem with organization, perhaps the most influential force in shaping the bureaucracies we see today, just as forces such as geography, climate, and economics do. Next, she and Emma take a historical perspective on warfare, exploring how the goals and values of different societies have seen different views and organizational tactics in warfare, and the massive shifts that have gone on in warfare amidst social change. They dive into the particular influence of three revolutions on how we relate to war, starting with the French and American revolutions establishing the role of citizenship, rather than hierarchy, in bolstering nationalism and the belief in everyone’s duty to fight for their country, before they look at how the Industrial Revolution created a massive shift in the industry ad technology of warfare in the west, bolstering their power as they shifted the world into the colonial era, and how these two revolutions developed alongside each other, with Napoleon as an interesting intersection between the two. This brings the discussion to the role of war as an industry, as Professor MacMillan and Emma explore the growth of the military-industrial complex in the 20th Century, and the consolidation of power into the hands of people seeking to build on this international exploitation, and discuss how an ingrained military system in society can have massive effects on social and cultural values. They wrap up the interview by touching on anti-war movements, how they’re built and inspired, and how we can see cultures make massive shifts from pro- to very anti-warfare (and vice versa) in just decades. Emma also covers VP Kamala Harris’ promotion of the democratic agenda – or lack thereof – in the lead up to McAuliffe’s loss as a perfect representation of the state of the party.
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