Wars of Undisguised Conquest and Aggression

[Letter excerpt, June, 1943]

For the past months I have been engaged in work of so confidential a nature as to make any kind of communication about myself an object of suspicion to my superiors. But this week I am on leave and traveling about. Yesterday I spent the morning in the Senate at Washington. You may not believe it, but the whole time was spent in eager discussion of the next war! Senator Lodge has it all figured out; it seems that we are exhausting our resources so rapidly in the present war, that there will be nothing for us to do in a few years but to grab all the oil, tin, rubber, copper, and what-not that we can find elsewhere, no matter who owns it or what they think of our actions. While those obscene old men pricked up their ears and licked their lips the speaker described how this country as a “have-not” nation would with the justice of necessity, throw itself in all directions in wars of undisguised conquest and aggression. Though it was poorly organized and badly delivered this monstrous discourse met with nothing but enthusiastic acclaim. “That does it,” I thought, “These men will not be diverted from their course until they have fulfilled the prophecy and made a ‘full end of all the nations’”.

The particular nature of my own activities shows me much more of the actual workings of war than the average soldier or officer ever gets to see. In this there is one constant and recurring moral, namely that military force is a poor solution to any problem: at best the triumph of negation. More significant is the accumulating evidence that actual battle is but one expression of a greater conflict, a conflict that is emerging more clearly in every sphere of our life. From a vague, half-defined unpleasantness the consciousness of this conflict will grow to be the one great reality of our times. At certain periods in the past, notably in times of world transition, men have come to conceive of the whole universe and every department of life as a murderous and uncompromising struggle. With some people, such as the Persians and ancient Indians, the idea became a positively pathological obsession; at the time of Christ and again in the fourth and fifth centuries the whole world was seized by the idea to the extent which we cannot conceive of. That is which we cannot yet conceive of.

 [For more on Hugh Nibley’s involvement in World War II, see Sergeant Nibley PhD: Memories of an Unlikely Screaming Eagle now available in an ebook edition.]

About Hugh Nibley

Hugh Nibley, 1910-2005, was simultaneously the LDS Church's greatest intellectual defender from attack from the outside and Mormon culture's strongest critic from the inside. This blog is composed mainly from Nibley's unpublished writings, letters, interviews and conversations, with occasional posts from associates who had personal interactions with him.
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4 Responses to Wars of Undisguised Conquest and Aggression

  1. Pingback: War-Humanities Unnecessary Necessity « Ibb2_Club

  2. teelea says:

    One of the many examples of Nibley being what Eugene England called a “lay prophet”. His words are becoming frighteningly relevant.

  3. Joy Bischoff says:

    I remember how unpopular his stance against the Vietnam war was when he was teaching at BYU. He understood the machinations of the world politics far more than most people. I loved how Nibley refused to be put in a political box and took things one concept at a time.

  4. Ron Madson says:

    Now this is what prophecy sounds like: “These men will not be diverted from their course until they have fulfilled the prophecy and made a ‘full end of all the nations’”. Rather than the constant refrain from our church leaders that we have to support (as good loyal citizens) every single war of aggression that our military industrial complex conjures up. This is choice. Thanks for sharing

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