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« More Than the Absence of War | Main | Obama On Escalation »

December 21, 2006



Excellent article, JC. I'm glad I took the time to read it as it encapsulated a lot of my own thoughts and specific ideas I was going to post on the this blog.
I strongly believe the "Peace Movement" needs to identify itself, and be identified, as "The movement to expose, contest, and thwart efforts by others to incite violence for their own selfish or misguided purposes" (rather than "The movement to lay down and do nothing while evil overtakes the world" - which of course is favorite characterization of the Peace Movement's opposition).
While it is certainly true that individuals must work on their own inner natures and that the beneficial effects of this combined self-evolution will certainly lead to a more peaceful world, I also believe that most people are already fairly well evolved and suffer from having to operate under an incomplete and distorted fact situation. Consider the example of a man who is at first enraged at a conspirator's assertion that his best friend has recently slept with his wife. When he discovers the claim to be false and motivated by the accuser's desire to break up the marriage, this man becomes easily able to restrain himself from punching his best friend in the face, or perhaps doing worse. He may want to punch the liar in the face, but that person's punishment will more likely be that he/she will never be trusted again.
What we fail to consider is that such insidious "Iagos" live amongst us, often in the more powerful positions of religion, politics, and information media. Read your Shakespeare (JC and William) and you'll realize that human nature is unavoidable - we can't eliminate that buttons within us that can easily be pushed. What we CAN do, however, is pay closer attention to who is pushing them and why. Only then can we apply our objective reasoning to properly address the troublesome situations that arise in our personal life as well as the life of our societies.
Violence is necessary. It is not a necessary evil, it is simply necessary. But when? As a protective, self-sustaining last resort. Our police forces are taught to shoot to kill suspected criminals only when there is immediate, imminent threat to another's life. What can be said about someone who falsely claims "he's got a gun in his hand" when the accused is merely holding a hairdryer? Who is more dangerous?

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