In reading classics professor Ian Morris's charming reflections on the sociopolitical benefits of 10 millennia of war, I couldn't help but be reminded of Orson Welles's equally charming disquisition delivered to his friend Joseph Cotton, in The Third Man:
It's not that awful. You know what the fellow said--in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace--and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.
But do read Prof. Morris. His essay, too, is brilliantly bittersweet.