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What would happen if we made abolishing violence and war a strategic goal?

We ask this question in all seriousness because many we question laugh. Do they laugh because they:

  • Think the mere idea is silly?
  • Are sociopaths waiting in the wings to sucker us?
  • Are cynical?
  • Are simply nervous over what others will think?
  • Are warriors out of a job?
  • Have not thught about it?
  • Are disadvantaged to the point of naivete?

What would happen, really, if we made abolishment of violence and war a strategic goal?

Look at that question through the lens of peace activism. What do we face? What are the obstacles? Elsewhere on this site we indict human nature. At the same time, there is plenty of evidence that Homo sapiens can co-exist peacefully with their kind as well as with other species. And we point out that peaceful co-existence is also built into our genes--countering those of aggressive and violence. So nurturing others in peace does work when allowed to.

So how can we bring relative peace to a society that is ambivalent, wants peace, but is afraid to give it a serious try. Maybe the memories of WWII and the Cold War have become part of our psyche. Maybe theAmerican psyche was scarred in some way along the line, The NRA doesn't help either with their endless litany that we must have guns to protect us from ourselves!

We cannot all suddenly become pacifists, nor should we. We must skip on revolution and look to evolution. That means slowly, patiently, and deliberately, yet delicately. If we really want peace, we might look at how it came about when and where it happened. From that view we could formulate strategic questions and any number of "what ifs."

What if:?

  • Human nature cannot be changed, then what can we change? How we raise our children--for one thing. The examples we set--for another.
  • We do not have to sacrifice freedom and justice, what is it that we do have to sacrifice? What about pride for starters? The kind of pride that reacts robotically simply because it has generally worked before. Such pride did not stop bin Laden. Rather, it motivated him--because to him it looked like arrogance.
  • We stop making war on our own kind? We live in times where a great democracy routinely makes overt or covert war on non-democratic societies in furthering our self-interests at the expense of others--whose only effective response is terrorism.
  • We keep a strong guard up, and use it only for defensive purposes? Unilateral disarmament never works, nor should it be tried as long as there are other warrior states out there. We can back off from trying to dominate the world.
  • We become model world-citizens with realistic views? Just as war alone provides no final solutions, so also negotiations alone are inadequate, and can be counter-productive. Negotiating from strength and justice is one technique that is known to work.
  • An effective world government came into being? As long as certain powers retain veto powers, the UN cannot be a world government. To be sure, the UN does a lot of good. But it is essentially powerless to bring peace to all human kind. However, the UN can evolve into something better.

Our age of terror can be seen as a reaction to real or perceived oppression by imperial powers--imperialism is not dead. Alienated and humiliated people too often have little or no recourse other than terror. We might start by stopping our knee-jerk tendency to demonize any and all who disagree with us.

Instead of shooting at the many-headed hydra of modern terrorism, we might try removing the source of the problem. Is it better to take pain killers or have surgery to remove an ulcer? In like manner one strategy could be a Marshall-Plan-Equivalent, MPE, for those who hate us. We say MPE because a literal Marshall Plan could not work in the absence of the necessary political, economic and social infrastructures in the Third World.

We declare war on other evils of society where war is more literal than metaphor, fighting and punishing instead of understanding, Liquor went through a prohibition era is the US to no avail. Reaching an accommodation with human nature worked and reduced the negative effects to manageable and individual levels. We are in the midst of a similar war on drugs. Our prisons are full, but still this "disease" runs rampant. If fighting and punishing doesn't work, why not try accommodation? Is our Authoritarian nature standing in the way? We think it is.

To be effective, a strategy for peace must be real, and acceptable emotionally to the many. At least these two conditions seem necessary before enough people will buy in and create a self-sustaining movement. If such a strategy could be fostered in the home, schools, work places, churches, and other institutions, such a movement could happen. We would have to keep our guards up in the form of our military--fit and ready for battles that would include those with Mother Nature. Only eventually and gradually could we switch to civilian based defenses--two generations, or more perhaps,

Climate change is already upon us--irreversibly. Melting ice caps and glaciers allow more of the sun's energy to be trapped for yet further heating. A long and gradual heating is now on take-off for disaster. Tropical storms? We haven't seen anything yet. And what happens when untold millions of coastal folks become refugees from the sea?

This is more than a war of ideas.
It is groping for survival of humanity.

It is searching for enlightenment and a world view where
the overarching strategies are for peace, safety, and well being
in this biosphere.


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