In this week’s episode, the editors discuss LiVecche’s article about the just war tradition and cybersecurity, an article from 1946 about world government, and a reflection on Father’s Day.

Tooley: Hello this is Mark Tooley of Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy, with another episode of Marksism, with fellow Providence editors and fellow Mark(c)s, Marc LiVecche and Mark Melton, with a review of three articles from Providence this week. Firstly, an analysis from Marc LiVecche himself on Just War teaching and cyber security. A very timely topic. Secondly, a piece from the archives of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christianity & Crisis magazine on the imperative of world government from that particular author’s perspective. And thirdly, a nice overview of faith as it relates to Father’s Day, with some national security related themes to it. So, Marc LiVecche, let’s start with your overview of cyber security and Just War teaching, which perhaps will become a book from you, but what did you say?

LiVecche: Just pointing out what I think, I’m going to retract this immediately, I was about to say pointing out what I think is the self-evident that the Just War tradition has plenty to say about cyber security, cyber war, cyberattacks, and sort of all things cyber. But to be fair, that’s a controversial point. Familiar territory, a lot of people suggest that the Just War tradition has nothing to say or little to say about modern-day weapons and modern-day modes of warfare. And in the article, it’s just an introductory argument saying very simply that ancient wisdom still endures for changing times. I’ve argued for a long time now that the Just War tradition isn’t actually some new sort of moral framework that Christians put together out of classical teaching in the Hebrew tradition in order to think exclusively about war. It’s simply how we think about complex moral conflict wherever we find them, whether it’s in surgery or it’s in combat. And therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised to discover that it’s perfectly relevant for helping us to address some cybersecurity issues. The analysis changes a little bit, but the old moral framework is still in place. So, that’s the gist of it.

Tooley: And is there sufficient scholarship occurring on this topic?

LiVecche: It’s beginning to. So, my last year at the Naval Academy at the Stockdale Research Center we did a lot of gray zone operations, gray zone being sort of this nebulous kind of environment that’s not quite war but it’s not exactly peace. And a lot of people are unsure of how to respond to that. And a lot of cyber activity takes place in the sort of nebulous gray zone. There are cyberattacks, but the attacks don’t necessarily represent or appear to represent sort of classical acts of war, and so, people don’t know how to respond. And I think as cyber security issues become more quotidian, more every day, people have recognized that we really do need to be responding to them. So, there is a lot of good analysis that is beginning to come out. I’m not sure, and we’re going to get angry letters if I’m wrong on this, I don’t know that there’s been any dedicated Christian analysis of the intersection of Just War and cyber or even broadly ethics and cyber. I could be, and hopefully I am, wrong on that.

Tooley: And if I may bring this up, but you, Marc LiVecche, are hosting a conference of distinguished Just War scholars in Washington, DC, are you not, next week?

LiVecche: I am, beginning on Monday. We’ve done this in the past before in collaboration with the Catholic University of America’s Institute on Human Ecology. Joe Capizzi helps to run that. We’ve collaborated before on these sorts of “informal scholarly workshops,” we’re calling them colloquially, just bringing together Christian Just War scholars to discuss ongoing and enduring issues, but also to collaborate on work. So, a lot of familiar names in the Providence universe, Joe Capizzi, Eric Patterson, Dan Strand, Jim Johnson, Rebeccah Heinrichs, Debra Erickson, a whole host of folks, Mark Maddix, are all coming together to talk about military necessity. Eric Patterson and I are working on an edited book proposing that military necessity be reinserted into the jus in bello portion of the Just War framework. And the second session, arguing that we need to go beyond “dirty hands” rhetoric, so some of this is a riff on the work I’ve been doing on Hiroshima. Dan Strand has gotten pulled into that debate. And so, we’re going to try to hash out some of the terms of that. So, a lot of good scholarship I think is going to come out of this.

Tooley: We will stay tuned. Meanwhile, Mark Melton, you posted a piece from Niebuhr’s Christianity & Crisis magazine from 75 years ago on the imperative of world government, which was a common theme among the liberal Protestants after the horrors of World War II and the fruit of extreme murderous nationalisms. Many not entirely unreasonably thought that some form of world government was the antidote to those things, and misplaced hopes for world government have almost entirely faded away. It’s hard to think of many in even the liberal Protestant world today who are advocating for world government. But share a little bit more about this article by Richard Fagley, who I know later wrote a book about population control or overpopulation the world, which itself became a favorite theme for liberal Protestants in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

Melton: It’s another issue that has fallen to the wayside once we’ve learned how to produce more, especially out of food. Like our food is much more productive now. But to get to the article here, so yeah, 1946, post-World War II, and even during World War II, Christianity & Crisis is running a lot of articles about world government. A lot of times it’s very quick, vague references that doesn’t get into the details of what it looks like, because sometimes they’ll mention it and I’m reading it and I’m like well, that sounds like what like NATO could do. Pulled sovereignty of like we’ll defend each other. Other times it looks much more expansive, sometimes it looks like what the UN does. And so, this article, and then we also, I think I was off that week for the Marksism call, I ran another one by Reinhold Niebuhr himself about world government. So, these give a little bit more detail of what they’re talking about. What this particular one is criticizing is this federal view of world government, which basically says, instead of trying to create, so the federal view is instead of trying to create a massive world government right now, instead, likeminded countries should pull together their sovereignty and work together for a common purpose. And to me, this actually sounds a lot like what Christian Democrats supported in Europe, which became the European Union. And so, you can kind of criticize that or not, but in a way, it actually produced something, whereas what Christianity & Crisis is leaning towards is criticizing that and saying that’s never going to work because of different reasons. One, countries don’t unite because of war or the fear of war. And also, in this one he gets into the idea of if we want Russia, they keep using the word Russia, they don’t say Soviet Union, just you know America in the 1940s, so, the Soviet Union, if we want them to work with us, we can’t agitate them too much. So, I feel like this is almost like a little bit of appeasement toward Russia, and I think later on in 1946 you have John Foster Dulles write an article that is critical in kind of trying to point out that Russia is not playing ball with us. Russia isn’t going to be the great partner that we want. But I think a lot of these writers from Christianity & Crisis are coming from a left of center or just left-wing view that is much more sympathetic to Russia and more hostile to the United Kingdom. But in this piece, he’s trying to say like we can’t unite all the Western democracies together because then that would antagonize Russia. So, we have to go toward a world community view. We have to develop this, create common values amongst the world, and then, once we get that, then we can get to a world government. And I mean, there can be several critiques of world governments. One I think in the previous article I kind of mentioned like there’s I think technological limits to how much territory a government can govern. And I mean, the United States is pretty big, and I think that it’s big enough. I don’t think we could take over Canada and Mexico, for instance, it’d be too difficult. So, there’s a pragmatic limit. But I disagree with both Niebuhr and this piece because what they say is that in order to have government, you have to have first community. And they quote Hobbes here, but I think they misrepresent Hobbes, because Hobbes said that you have government, and if you don’t have government, let me get the exact quote here. It’s a typical international relations quote, but it’s like, “there are no arts, no letters, no society.” And so, if you don’t have those, basically you can’t have that society, you can’t have that community, that government has to happen first and then you can have that community. Even on the very local level, like living in a community here, if you put up a fence in the wrong spot it can cause problems. But you have government and you have other institutions that kind of regulate like where the pins are and where everything is, and then once you have that kind of overarching government, then you can have the community, even on the street level. So, that’s one thing I kind of disagree with, amongst other things from their perspective here. But they’re working from a framework where a lot of things are possible, like the European Union does gradually develop and even now is continuing. I mean, I wouldn’t want to live in the European Union, but I think Europe needs something like that. I don’t think every European country should be part of it, but for Germany and Austria to be a part of a union makes sense. So, that all being said, they’re working on a framework where a lot of things seem possible and they’re kind of I think testing the edge of what is possible.

Tooley: Thank you, Mark Melton. And I would call our listeners’ attention to a new book from Gregory Moore, Reinhold Niebuhr and International Relations, which I reviewed this week in Law & Liberty. There’s a link to it on the IRD’s Juicy Ecumenism page. But it’s a worthy contribution to the Niebuhrian scholarship. Finally, a piece from Father’s Day from our friend Bob Morrison, recalling his own father and his role in World War II. His vessel was sunk by the Germans and yet his father, as Bob recalls, had a rather benevolent attitude towards the Germans after the war, which Bob surmises was an appropriately Christian and fatherly attitude, even after the evils and horrors of Germany’s deeds in the 1930s and 1940s. So, Marc LiVecche, you are yourself a father. Your thoughts?

LiVecche: I am. A great article. I remember we went back and forth when I first came across the article. We thought well, this might be for Juicy, this wouldn’t be appropriate for Providence. It was fantastically appropriate for Providence. I’m glad we ran it. Yeah, there are several touch points here. There are the attitudinal requirements that are demanded of the Augustinian line of Just War thinking which says you can fight your enemy, but you have to love your enemy, even as you kill him these things are possible. We’ve talked about this in the pages of Providence and at our events. And one of the ways you do that is simply sort of in the negative, you don’t hate them. You don’t fight them with a desire to see them suffer per se. Basic things like that. To wish them well and to fight them with sort of a manifest reluctance wishing it could be another kind of way. This doesn’t dismiss the idea of fighting the Nazis with glad hearts. We were the kinds of people who do the necessary fights and all of that, but there’s always been a tricky line that Christians are asked to tread. So, he touches on that. I think that’s valuable. He touches on this notion of what fatherhood does to the fighting man, the differences that it makes when you encounter the prospect of your own demise, and that very often fathers think of their children. And that’s a powerful image. I have never been so cowardly then after I became a father, because now all of a sudden, I care about my own wellbeing not specifically for my sake, but for the sake of my children. Because I think it’s actually valuable that kids grow up with a dad. And so, now all of a sudden, I think about things that I never thought before. I floss my teeth. Yeah, silly things. But there it is. Fatherhood changes you. And I’m left after his reflections sort of imagining what the world would be like if more people actually thought about their children before they launch on some of the insane things they launch upon. If prior to World War II, more Germans thought about the welfare of their children maybe they wouldn’t have embarked upon an unnecessary war. We’re told in the Ten Commandments to honor our parents, but we’re told elsewhere. not to exasperate our children. And that’s important, and our actions echo throughout eternity, but they also directly affect our children. One of the arguments, for instance, that I make about the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima is that the decisions that governmental leaders make have consequences on their constituents. And that’s unfair to the constituents sometimes, but that’s just how that works. The decisions that parents make affect their children. They have direct consequences, and that’s unfair to the children. They couldn’t have chosen their parents differently, but that’s simply how it goes. And so, I think the ethical life has to be cognizant of that and one has to continually think about the people that will be impacted by the kinds of decisions that we make. So, his article is great. I think in that regard it illustrates the tragedy of war. I’m glad we ran it.

Tooley: Mark Melton, very, very quickly, one or two articles we can look forward to next week in Providence?

Melton: Yeah, so, I got a slew of articles that I’ve kind of queued up for today. I’ll do that on Monday. But I’ll have a podcast with Sam Goldman about his book After Nationalism. It’s a long discussion. It’s much longer than our typical podcasts, but on a similar topic from the other side we ran about a year ago is about an hour long too. So, kind of matching that link. That’ll be coming out Monday. And other than that, I don’t know. I know Eric Patterson and I are also going to do another podcast about C.S. Lewis and patriotism, but that will be coming out the week after, after I get that produced hopefully. I think that will be for the Fourth of July.

Tooley: Very good. Mark Melton, Marc LiVecche, thank you for another Marksism conversation. Until next week, bye-bye.