Re: Control is War

A fellow redditor asked me:

“War begins…when you attempt to forcibly control someone else without their permission.” It seems believable, but could you possibly expand on how you got to this conclusion? Thanks!

And I responded:

It seems obvious to me, but I suppose that’s not satisfactory…

A 2-person fight is, in principle, war. It’s not war to to the degree that a 2-nation fight is, but it’s still war because their is some sort of disagreement that has led to violence or the threat of violence (cold war). Why is their a disagreement? It’s probably always over a piece of property (object, land, body/person), a dispute of ownership. One party is claiming ownership, ie. the right to control in some way, and the other is opposing that claim (therefore making their own claim to ownership or partial ownership). Parties can be single individuals, or groups of individuals, but the claim, I think, is always over ownership, and thus control.


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Founder and editor of and, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.