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The US Military and the Myth that Humanity is Predisposed to Violence


The US Military and the Myth that Humanity is Predisposed to Violence

Maria Santelli

We have this tragic misperception that humanity is predisposed to violence.

The truth is that humanity is predisposed to peace. The default position for humanity is that of conscientious objector to war and violence.


The work of supporting conscientious objectors to war is a noble pursuit. But I have major problems with this article. First, it identifies that within the military, "killology" is taught; but then it goes on to say that those who sign up to become trained assassins are some of the most loving of people.

Here are the relevant quotes:

"There is a science of teaching soldiers to kill and it is called killology. It is the science of circumventing the conscience." (No mention that the U.S. Air Force actually employs Christian Chaplains to obtain this same "science of killology" outcome.)

"In my experience, talking as I do to members of the military everyday, people that volunteer hold a sincere desire to serve and protect and to do something bigger than themselves. We call it "the service," after all. The people who join the military are some of the most beautiful, selfless, and loving people you could know." (Many serial killers are absolutely charming people.)

"In fact, 99% of us have decided by default that we will not chose to kill. The military comprises less than 1% of the total US population."

"By and large, today’s 1% joined the military out of a deep love and affection for humanity, not because they want to be killers."

Note the paradoxes. However, most troubling for me is the deliberate act of making GENDER invisible as if males and females have the same tendencies towards aggression.

Academia is big on this Gender Neutral crap. Recently I viewed a documentary done by a well-respected psychiatrist. Although clearly in evidence was the FACT that 90% of serial killers are male, this "scientist" pushed a narrative that insisted that violence was equivalent in both genders.

FAR too many authors and otherwise thoughtful people are guilty of this same thing. They take the social, philosophical, and moral constructs put in place--and held there--by patriarchal elites and argue from this limited pool that it's reflective of all persons. No matter than female input was kept out of legal circles, academia, religious hierarchies, and political bastions for CENTURIES.

In domestic abuse cases, 9 times out of 10 the MAN hurts the woman.

In rape, 9.5 times out of 10 it's a male perpetrator.

Up until recently, women were not part of the MIC and the decision to accept women and gays is a strategic way of wiping out any counterbalance to the world as designed by Mars Rules.

Any conjecture about "human nature" that doesn't at least address some of the glaring insights raised by Feminists along with those of researchers who have spent their lives amassing data about life (and lifestyles) prior to patriarchy's written record... are guilty of a major crime of omission.

I am so tired of this One Size Fits All, make race/gender neutral pabulum. It is a Great Deception. Apparently, this sort of deception allows a writer to put Killology and Love (as service) into the same narrative.

This piece is an apologia to the military industrial complex and the state of war that its existence preserves.


Liberals are predisposed to peace. Conservatives are predisposed to violence.


Beautiful, selfless and loving? Please. They volunteered "to kill ragheads for attacking New York." Those who joined to escape poverty have my sympathy but they are a minority. However, I never say thank you for your service because that should be reserved for those who protect us from foreign aggression. Our military is an offensive force and as such does not protect us. It makes us targets. Our military owes apologies and reparations to many countries. And that will not bring back the dead murdered by these "beautiful, selfless and loving" people.


Empire depends on the perpetuation of myths such as "war is just human nature". This article is a great service to the cause of fighting empire by debunking this all-pervasive myth. Thanks Maria Santelli for posting this. I'll forward to a few people.


The conditioning of humans to become inhumane is older than people think. When the extermination camps were created in Nazi Europe, the SS guards were subjected to a brutal regime of dehumanization that left them psychopathic monsters capable of mass murder on a daily basis.

The military watched TV. When movies reflected an anti war theme they worked harder to combat it in their training.

One might almost follow trends of violence on TV and in films with statistics of violence in the public and in the military.

Most notably the inclusion of torture and 'beating it (info) out of a subject" while in custody. I am appalled at how often this is displayed on TV and in films. Violence and torture is made increasingly acceptable.

When my kids were young my wife and I felt that TV shows constantly depicted violence towards women which included stalking them at night (a woman walking alone at night means what will happen in the plot in the next thirty seconds? Take a guess?), women being hit, threatened, kidnapped (an old standard that one), shown tied up and so forth. It all seemed so ordinary to us until the younglings saw such things for the first time... so we changed the channel... a lot!

Recently there were these torture movies which seem so freakishly bizarre. What a plot... a person or persons being tortured by some maniac for two hours.

We become conditioned don't we? It isn't just the military though there it is far more real. We also condition ourselves to violence.

We condition ourselves to amorality too. We don need no steenkin (trials, charges, warrants and juries, evidentiary hearings, cross-examinations and other niceties of justice) nutting... now the hero just calmly shoots the bad guy because the hero knows he is bad. 007's license to kill did not include trial dates. Drone's 'good kill' no questions asked?

How did we get so used to a loss of our own freedoms, of our own respect for justice, of our belief in decency and fair play? What the hell happened?

We didn't change the channel when we needed to is what happened I think.


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The author should read "An Intimate History of Killing" by Joanna Bourke where men describe a rush as they kill like "I am some hero in a movie" and others described getting sexually excited over that raw feeling of power they had knowing they can kill another human being with impunity.

Now what the Military did find in all of its studies is that there are people (usually men) that are more likely to commit acts of Violence. After the Korean War they started a process whereby those most likely to be violent or to use that gun to kill were assigned to Military units that would see action whereas others would be assigned desk jobs or be assigned to logistics. (The older method was the most physically fit went into combat units. They did not look into the mental makeup of the individual as deeply then)

For an example of those compare Chelsea manning and her being assigned to work in intelligence and away from combat to that much lauded Chris Kyle who was nothing more then a killer. Chris kyle came into the military already predisposed to what he became. A mass killer with no conscience even as he was described as "a loving father"

They then found the chances of getting persons who were easier to mold into killers by their training went up in an all volunteer force. Simply by the act of JOINING the Military that volunteer acknowledges to himself that he is prepared to kill someone "for his country". Now all of these volunteers do not become killers but a greater number will than in a military built via the draft.

Now inside the Military itself there a "hierarchy of the violent". The most violent and those most likely to kill without a second thought are NOT kind and loving. They are killers. These type usually serve in special forces and generally get all those medals. The public is indoctrinated into believing that the willingness to KILL more of the enemy (Brave SGT storms enemy lines killing 25 enemy soldiers) is in fact an act of "bravery and sacrifice" when more often than not it a guy getting a high off killing.

Now NOT all men are predisposed to violence and not even a majority are. The system however is structured so as to "shame" those non violent men into silence or complicity by referring to them as "pussies".


I agree and I add that the statement that rape victims aren't hyper vigilant is not necessarily true. It depends on many factors.


On what do you base this assessment? Are you a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist or other expert in human behavior? DO you have studies to back up your assertion? Have you done extensive surveys or experiments or other studies to show what you believe is backed up by something other than personal feelings?


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Studies show that 20% of women in the US will be raped in their lifetime. Either there are just a few very busy rapists, or, the reality is that women have much to fear from a significant number of men. As uncomfortable as it may make some people, humans are just another species of animal. We are mammals. As male mammals we are at the mercy of our testosterone. This chemical, in most animal contexts, serves the purpose of preserving and propagating the genes of the strongest and most fit males. Male elephants in must are dangerous. Testosterone increases during mating season, and male violence is at its peak. In human beings, testosterone leads to increased aggression. From a study: "There was a significant association (r = 0.44) between plasma testosterone levels and self-reports of physical and verbal aggression, mainly reflecting responsiveness to provocation and threat. Lack of frustration tolerance was also related to testosterone levels."

From another study: "A total of 6,677 Australian women aged 18 through 69 years participated in the IVAWS, which collected information via telephone interview about their experiences of physical and sexual violence at the hands of current and former intimate male partners, other known males, and strangers...Findings of the survey indicated that during the past 12 months, 10 percent of the respondents reported experiencing at least one incidence of physical (8 percent) or sexual violence (4 percent)...Two out of five respondents reported experiencing violence from a male other than a partner since the age of 16. Higher levels of violence were experienced from other known males (23 percent), followed by strangers (20 percent), and then relatives (10 percent). Twenty-nine percent of respondents reported experiencing physical or sexual violence before the age of 16; one in five respondents experienced this violence at the hands of a parent. "

Many men have learned to understand and curb their violent impulses. Statistics about male violence against women, however, paint a rather bleak picture of our ability in general to curb our natural violent impulses.


Polymorphous perversity

How many buildings have been built by accountants as opposed to bricklayers? People are trained to fulfill various tasks, they take on culturally acceptable roles, physically as well as psychologically, and fulfill those roles, collaborating to produce everything that society does. Splitting, projection, introjection, projective identification https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projective_identification and other psychological shenanigans accomplish that.

We're unable to accept our own psychopathic impulses (disconnective-from-life in others and ourselves) so we project them. Corporations are the vessels we've designed to hold them so they or whatever we replace them with will act out our psychopathic impulses until we heal ourselves enough to stop doing that. There are many other examples: some groups are scapegoated; some are not allowed any power and so become sneaky or defiant or self-destructive; some hold anger (men, soldiers, corporate soldiers…) others (women, very young children, some gay men…) hold the tender, connective desires that are rejected as a sign of weakness by those forced into anger roles. Each trait and the people who hold it are despised by those who project it onto them and then projectively identify them into acting on it. Wars are started by almost all of us, even those who dissent in socially-acceptable fashion, not risking ostracism, imprisonment, or other reactions that we would have to decline in order to refuse to play our part in making war.

Whether wars are started or fought by men or women doesn't say anything about whether that's their nature or is simply how they're socialized. We're trained into the roles we play from the time we're in the womb until we die. Male and female infants (even fetuses) are talked to, smiled at, touched in different amounts and ways—in short, treated completely differently, and are encouraged in ways both subtle and extreme to follow gender-specific and other roles, in every way. Those behaviors were trained to exhibit—smiling, being defensive, accepting, defying—further reinforce the differential treatment.

The first 3 steps toward refusing is realizing all the ways we participate in both the physical and psychological systems that perpetuate the problem, calling attention to the system and the projection, and taking steps to actively reject the projections and projective identifications. Mohandes Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. were masters at this on a mass level. We need to not just follow but deepen their wisdom in this crisis.


Humans don't have a mating season.

I think the 20% is a serious undercount, but your contention proffers a false dichotomy and is thus invalid. If, for example, 1/3 of women are raped, (and 1/7 of men) and they're raped mostly by people they know (which they are) and each person rapes 2 people on average (many rape just one, but some rape a few, a few rape a lot), then the percentage of people raped is 24% or about a quarter, and the number of rapists (almost all male, let's assume, for the moment) is about 1/8 of the population. How does that prove anything about the nature of humanity? What it suggests to me is that humanity is mostly peaceful (to be precise, 7/8 peaceful, or at least not a rapist), and we need to find some other explanation for those who rape. We look at their childhoods and lo and behold, we've found the explanation.

If we were at the mercy of our testosterone or other intrinsic violent-causing factor, all humans, or all men would be violent. Obviously, we're not.

Do you have any evidence that we're violent by nature and some "learn" to curb it, vs being peaceful, connective and collaborative by nature and trained &/or traumatized into violence by our society?

When one studies the literature of psychological research, one finds clear evidence that violence is forced into us, not peace, that those most troublesome to society by way of their rage and violence are made that way by means both obvious and very subtle, though discernible with a trained, willing mind.

Although the statistics are discouraging, if we as a society (not necessarily universally or unanimously) simply recognize the problem (our early relationships and the structures of society that warp us) and begin to train people to behave differently through both psychotherapy, and more schoolish forms of training, it will take only a few generations to reverse the course of civilization. In fact, we probably have to do that in order to survive the current larger-than-just-global-warming crisis—though we do have only a few years left to accomplish the logistical changes of eliminating excess greenhouse gases. We do have the added burden of conservative ideology—isolationist, rageful, competitive… essentially psychopath lite-ness, so we may have a longer way back than Harlow's monkeys (see for example, Love at Goon Park, Deborah Blum). But there's no reason I see that suggests we can't do it. Of course, the first step may be to put to rest this silly, bad childhood-triggered notion of a violent or conservative nature of humans and accept our whole range.


This is a perceptive piece, Maria. We're all proud as punch of you!


A rather violent comment, if I ever saw one.


Am curious to know how these researchers could do this; I presume you refer to anthropologists working with indigenous people such as those in South America and PNG and then extrapolating back to humanity as a whole before pre-literacy time?


It is interesting to note that the British Empire and the British slave trade kicked off under the aegis of Queen Elizabeth Ist, who was not slow to take her cut of the loot, and the Empire reached its apogee under Queen Victoria. Which may suggest that men will do any damned silly thing to please a woman, which is probably why Maggot Thatcher survived for so long and why men start wars........


War is predisposed to profit a handful of people at the top.


I have sever and chronic PTSD from an act of violence against me when I was 9 years old. I was a C/O during the V/N draft. I try to help those coming home from our current wars and their PTSD. The indoctrination they go through is Extreme. The debriefing is a 3 hour course on how to find a job and how to write a resume. I have found they still want to kill and can't in a more civil setting, the conflict inside causes great pain and suicide allows them to escape the pain. I recently had to deal with a Marine with sever PTSD and 27 separate TBI's, the only time he felt "himself" was when he was a "cage fighter". The indoctrination is/was complete. A total over-ride of person-hood. They are taught from the inside out to be a hired gun. Since then I have had to return to Eric Burden and The Animal's album The Twain Shall Meet and the song Sky Pilot to find my own balance. The MIC are The Masters of War and the rewriting of The Manual of War is a very scary thing. IMO it won't be long until portions of our own country look like the Gaza Strip. It gives sick people power and makes Big Bucks. There are only 2 things that matter anymore. Making money and killing things. Sorry but I have to go and turn on the t.v. and act like nothings wrong. Bye Bye.