Introduction

The overarching story of human history is a story of conflict. Interpersonal, tribal, political, religious, economic, and ideological disputes have been the driving forces behind societal changes, both progressive and regressive. As such, many efforts have been made to study and model conflicts in order to gain understanding of their function and role in society. These efforts gave rise to the field of sociology in the 19th century, and the influence of Marxism has permeated most mainstream efforts ever since. Some of the successors to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have done better, while others have not. What is missing from all efforts thus far is a meta-structure that can be applied to all factions in all conflicts. The purpose of this article series will be to establish such a structure, defend it against alternative structures, integrate reactionary insights to obtain a viable heterodox model of conflict, and apply this model to various conflicts.

Boundary Conditions

Conflict is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “antagonistic, competitive, or opposing action of incompatibles” and as “struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or demands”. Taken together, these definitions have implications that impose boundary conditions on our theory. First, a conflict must have at least two sides. Being incompatible with oneself is a contradiction of terms; incompatibility must occur with an external opponent. Second, the sides in conflict cannot reach a satisfactory agreement that avoids conflict, at least under current conditions. Otherwise, they would do so and there would be no more conflict between them. Third, at least one of the sides must be capable of engaging in struggle; else there may be animosity and hatred, but no conflict. These three boundary conditions will be applied to smooth some rough edges later, but for now, let us move on to defining the sides in a conflict.

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