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Watch Brian's response to the question: Is war inevitable?
Strange that no one has mentioned Steven Pinker's recent book "The Better Angels of Our Nature", in which he documents the *dramatic* decline of violence over the centuries, right up to the present day. Extrapolating not much further...yes, it is quite easy to imagine the end of war. Liberal democracies don't attack each other, and the whole world is moving that way. You can watch Pinker's related TED talk here:http://www.ted.com/speakers/steven_pinker.htmlor search the web for one of his other lectures.
As a Native American, I was offended by the statement made earlier today regarding Plains Indians. I am astounded by the ignorance on the subject as my Lakota people have a nationality! They are part of the great Sioux Nation. We never have had warfare for the sake of warfare as was implied by the statement. The word Lakota means allies. Our people are proud warriors but that is not the same as a soldier. A warrior who is respected doesn't kill for the sake of killing. Sometimes the bravestwarrior is the one who counts coup by touching their enemy without killing him! We do comprise an exceptionally higher percentage in the armed forces as defenders of our land, this continent because we have a warrior spirit,not a kiling spirit. There is much to learn regarding this subject and perhaps the author of the book you were discussing ought to consult with Native Americans of the Great Plains Nations like the Sioux, Blackfeet, Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara etc.
I would like to hear more discussion about the formation of our brains during or following the "hunter gatherer" part of our hominid development. It seems to me that war is connected (at its base) with the beginning of the agricultural revolution and the acquisition of property. What happened to the neurons in our brain at that time? Since all human brains are different and individual, can we make a distinction between those who would end war and those who would propagate it for their own welfare? Anger seems to be increasing as a response to anyone who disagrees with us and I cannot see how we can be "retrained" in an age of electronic instant messaging, without the earlier delays in contemplation before reaction. So much more needs to be discussed.
Blah! - Why isn't Dennis Kucinich an invited guest on this series? With that obvious ommision that it lacks credibility.
Peace will come when when the United States and other great countries have a majority of the population as members of workers union, 40-60% of leaders must be WOMEN, we dedicate about ten times more time and money to early child-hood education, and maternity and paternity leave for parents. We must also pay farm workers world-wide living wages. At the same time that sexism and racism ends so must end languagism, our preference to use English (or French or Russian or German) much more than other languages for books and movies). Movies and books can and should be made by and for average people who speak Catalan, Lithuanian and Hungarian and dozens of other ethnicities with one to twenty million speakers. These communities will continue to support the easy neutral second language, Esperanto.
Petas pardonon, sed mi kredas, ke la demando devus esti: Ĉu estas eble eviti militon. La respondo certe estas JES. Bedaŭrinde fiero, deziro regi homgrupojn, kaj timo pri la sincereco de aliaj homoj estas grandaj malhelpiloj kiam oni volas eviti militon. Ne estas grave en kiu lingvo vi interparolas, nur ke vi vere regas la lingvon kiun vi uzas. Mi uzas Esperanton ĉar ial mi sentas min pli sekure kiam mi utiligas tiun lingvon. Bedaŭrinde la nombro da hmo, kiuj vere komprenas kiom genia la lingvo estas, ne kreskas je sufiĉe alta grado. Do mi certas, ke nur tre malmutaj homoj eĉ havos intereson traduki mian komenton, ĉar kiam oni komprenas ke mi uzas Esperanto oni probable levigas la ŝultrojn kaj konstatas "just another geek" ;-)
A big step to ending war is telling the truth. For example, Israeli-Palestinian peace will come when the craven UN, EU, acadmics and media stop USING the Jews as their SCAPEGOAT. This incarnation it is the 6 million Jews in tiny Israel trying to survive as a democratic humanistic state in the midst of 350 million hostile Arabs and 1 billion Muslims who never wanted a non Muslim state in the Middle East and have tried every tactic to destroy Israel.
Why isn't anybody talking about what war today is missing?
Searching for the word "missing" in comments, sadly, just yields 1 reference to the missing twin towers in the NY skyline..
In his video, Mr. Lehrer references a brief history of war. Concluding that the intelligence of international democracy is the only hope to end war. We must follow Europe, and play fair. I agree with this however, I strongly believe that we are already living in a 'new world' of international democracy. The post 9/11, "wars" of afghanistan and iraq are testaments to the disastrous and almost absurd dimension of this new world order. Saying this era is colored by the failure of the US playing globocop - doesn't cut it for me. The real error, IMO , is the failure to define what enemies are, but to fight enemies nonetheless. This is not a segway into human nature; its a practice that Mr. Lehrer (unknowingly?) cites in his call for fighting humanitarian causes. I just have one response to this - Mr. Cheney cited womens liberation as reason to invade Iraq.
In our new era, we don't call war "war" we call them humanitarian causes; causes where bloodshed has no end, and no definable beginning.
So, yes- war is over, but killing is just beginning.
If I wait till 7 PM I can listen to All Things Considered over the NPR website, and I don't have to hear Amy Eddings!
Now that's FREEDOM!!
War is inevitable. As long as a person can express their power by force (weapons, money, influence) war will exist. Weapons, Money, Influence (social, political, religious) cannot be fully removed from human society. Humans are corrupted by power (whether by weapons, money, or influence) and this corruption will eventually result in violence, in suppression or revolt.
No social system can eliminate war. Human variability will continue to create individuals (and groups) who need to express their power in ways which will create violence, not only on an individual basis, but on a collective basis when clever individuals (groups) utilize their power (weapons, money, influence) to corrupt a whole society to fulfill their need to express their power.
To be human means we are capable of war, the variety of our needs make us all capable of the violence of war or the violence that generates war. In an extended existence this means war is inevitable.
This expression of violence is mitigated by social organization, moral education, and conscious restraint. But it remains within us and will eventually be expressed in war.
Brian's 'before video' isn't entirely satisfying. In our modern era it's much simpler; there's an old saying, "War is an affair of arms merchants." What if we took away the profit motive? What if we took away the 'glory' motive (no medals)? What if the decision to go to war resided exclusively in the hands of the people who stand to lose their lives, limbs, loved ones, and property? What if all wars had to be paid for up front?
As long as CEOs gain profit from war, there will always be war.
Any discussion on this subject must include "Report From Iron Mountain—On the Possibility & Desirability of Peace". It's a short book that was heavily and publicly debated when it first appeared about five decades ago because it introduced concepts that, although anathematic to us lefties, necessarily deepens our thinking. It cuts through politically correct "blue sky" thoughts about what might be next. One metaphor from the book that I found compelling: Our economy is like a machine with many working parts that depend on a flywheel to keep it moving. It's the mass of the flywheel—military, defense, preparation for war (hot or cold) spending—that keeps our economies going, and it doesn't work unless it's wasteful. How else to explain how wars and war preparation have always pulled us out of depressions, not to mention war as the fundamental source of the technologies we live by. It's never been any other way, so whoever advocates warlessness better know what they're talking about! That's what this book is about. Some have dismissed this book as mere satire or parody, but is something less true because the Jester said it to the King? It's only the Jester that CAN say it.
I think that "Summer of '42" and Kenneth Brannaugh's "Henry V" are antiwar films.
First, we have to get two things straight:
1. As the pacifist A.J. Muste has said, peace can never be a goal, because (like war) it is a method. Anyone who wants to replace the current epidemic of wars with a world at peace needs to understand this distinction in order to think clearly and to begin to figure out how to get from here to there.
Since peace is a method, we should begin using it now, but we need a much clearer idea of what "using" peace in a realistic and effective way really means. And if we understand that we are talking about a method when we talk about peace, we do not need to insist upon never using force, which is just another method. But we do need to choose between the two at any given time.
2. Another key, I believe, is the confusion of symptoms with causes. Drug addiction is surely a symptom, and the disease is despair. And terrorism, particularly suicide bombing, is clearly a symptom of the lack of hope. "Wars" on these two symptoms thus spring from a double delusion. They fail to address the real cause and they employ a failed method.
Not until we understand what we are talking about can we get to World Peace.
Brian, This is a despicable commentary/answer on your part. Starting with "unsatisfying " answer and stating so many if's as though you don't know the answer to those....Your statement says nothing; if you are going to say nothing, why say it in the first place? These self negating words, these "if's"only say that you are not taking the chance of being wrong, or come up with an unlikable answer -you, who knows more then many about much- and then say you may change your mind at the end of this, but this mind just shied awayfrom committing...? This is Solomonic mind at it's worst, and most gutless. Come on stand up for your self....
simple SCORE VOTING explained, reasons for why it's the favored method of businesses to find "the most generally preferred" option (and why it's the best voting method possible): www.VotingInSanity.org
Wouldn't WORLD PEACE be best promoted by changing the way we THINK about decision-making?? Specifically: by changing our 'majority wins' voting methods of "It's US against THEM" into a communal body of "We're ALL in this TOGETHER" via Score Voting -- as already used by our most successful internet business (Amazon, IMDB, etc.) to find the most-generally-preferred option?!
As long as there is a male ego there will always be war.
I found out how wars start. I served on the Board of Directors of my Co-Op in Riverdale, the Bronx. Seven of 9 years I was President of the Board. I discovered that some people have such personal agendas and resistance to following rules and regulations that they are willing to fight with all their might to get whatever they want, even if it is against the rules. This in a building of only 123 apartments. People who have strong personal opinions and agendas will start wars with anyone who disagrees with them if they think they can get what they want by hollering, screaming, calling names and doing vile things. This, on such a small scale, showed me what people are capable of.
As long as we humans continue to pray for forgiveness in our mistakes, or thank the heavens above for our fortunes, there will always be war. More accurately stated, until our human species can separate ourselves from all religious doctrines, and unflinchingly confront and accept honest the scientifically supported discourse about the world we currently reside in, the (so aptly depicted and portrayed in our antiquated and brief references, i.e. Bible, Quran) . It is encouraging that human kind continues to evolve with ever increasing moral values. Yet it is equally discouraging that religious dogmas world wide implicitly impact our very evolution, where none of us in this century will be able to experience peace. My fear is that even 500 years of NOT experiencing the "Rapture", will do much to evolve the weak and frightened humans among us.
internet+democracy+tolerance+women-in-power=end of war
I don't know of any war that was not fomented by people who stood to profit from it. We can debate forever about the need for power, aggressive instincts, and death instincts, but all this could be controlled if there were meaningful limits on the machinations of individuals with powerful economic interests in war. Patriotic myths and even psychological explanations serve to convince people that war is tragic but inevitable. For example, during the Jugoslavian catastrophe we were treated to endless journalistic analyses of the mythic ethnic bloodlust of the Balkan peoples and their ancient hatreds. We forgot that most of them had lived in peace for centuries. It was gangsters like Milosevic and Tudjman and Radovan Karadjic who kept the war alive. Their friends made lots of money in the process.
My point is that war is not inevitable. People need to band together to thwart the Bushes, Cheneys, and Bin Ladens of this world in order to fend off another catastrophe.
In my view war is not inevitable, and we are not violent species by nature. Because if we were, then peaceful societies such as Amish, Ladakhis, Tahitians, Inuit would be impossible! A lot of Violent behavior has to do with the circumstances in which we were raised, in my opinion!
War is never -- and never should be -- the answer to any conflict.
Dear Brian,Yes, a better life for all is achievable, with inspired leadership, courage, and constant encouragement, over and over again.
After many years of activism, in 1983 wrote "World Peace?" about the problems and solutions around the subjects terrorism, war, and what peace might mean, a work based on interviews of over 50 diplomats from around the world.On website: www.anthonydonovan.com is also a work on how to best face this "war" on terrorism and again, our global challenges together. "Dialogues" is a feature length documentary from 2004 on this subject, which won "Best Political Documentary" here in NYC. There's also a YouTube there offering the a very workable solutions with Iran over the Nuclear challenge, from 2008. Thank you for this segment.... Thank all for their contributions...
The roots of war lie in threats from the equally armed. -- both parties believing they have a chance to limit the authority of the other. The roots of war also lie in religiosity, harboring aggressive instincts. The inevitability of war can be attributed to the survival instinct, calling for more land to accommodate burgeoning populations, and climatic conditions that force large numbers of people to abandon one area of the earth for another. Also, capitalism is a major contributor to warfare, as natural resources such as water and arable land become disproportionate to the populations that depend upon those resources. In addition, capitalism encourages the movements of "surplus people" -- those who are unable to carve out an existence in life -- moving them into the Megalopolis with unrealistic expectations of wealth, or sometimes simply survival. Within the Megalopolis these exiles are seen as a source of growth for industrial output and produce more offspring than the host can support. If industry shrinks, these people become ethnically and culturally outcast and dependent upon the fortunes of others, through philanthropy or from the work of those with a religious conscience.
The burgeoning weaponization of nations and ever smaller social entities has made the possibility of conflict more deadly then ever before - when in history have a small militant group had the mobility and fire power to cause havoc to the population at large? On the macro scale it seems that the primary possibility of war between the US and China would be the high tech arms race.
The best analysis and advice on this subject came from a military man, Major General Smedley Butler, USMC. I first heard about him on WNYC radio. His key points:
"1. Making war unprofitable Butler suggests that the owners of capital should be "conscripted" before soldiers are: "It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labour before the nation's manhood can be conscripted.…Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our steel companies and our munitions makers and our ship-builders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted — to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get"
2. Acts of war to be decided by those who fight it He also suggests a limited plebiscite to determine if the war is to be fought, and the voters eligible would be those who risk death on the front lines.
3 Limitation of militaries to self defence For the United States, Butler recommends that the navy be limited, by law, to within 200 miles of the coastline, and the army restricted to the territorial limits of the country, ensuring that war, if fought, can never be one of aggression."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket
Google "Smedley Butler" or "War is a Racket" for the full text, Butler's biography, and a Youtube re-enactment of Butler's speech.
Like many other "inevitables," war is inevitable only until we start considering it as foolish and an unacceptable waste of human resources.Wars primarily seed other wars.Even if one insists on excluding human suffering from the equation, a cost analysis that begins to take into account long-term price to the "winning" nation will show that inciting hatred, internally and externally, via killing and destruction, has a much higher cost than commonly projected. Permanent human loss, present and future, weigh heavily against potential temporary gain. Gambling on one's personal demise occurring before the bill of programmed killing comes due is stupidly short-sighted.
WORLD WITHOUT WAR
For translation from Esperanto to English, please to use :traduku.net — http://traduku.netapertium.org — http://www.apertium.org/itranslate4.eu — http://itranslate4.eu/
Post kelkaj semajnoj, estos memorsolenaĵoj pri la sinko de Titanic. La plej konata pasaĝero estis Wiliam Thomas Stead, la fondinto kaj direktoro de "The Review of Reviews". Tre konata kiel pacisto, li estis survoje al New York, ne por krozado aŭ plezuro, sed por packonferenco. Ne multaj homoj scias ke Stead forte subtenis la fondon de British Esperanto Association. Ofte aperis artikoloj pri Esperanto en "The Review of Reviews". Same kiel Bertha von Suttner, Alfred Hermann Fried, Jules Verne, Leo Tosltoï, Helen Keller kaj multaj aliaj, li opiniis ke Esperanto estas ligita al la ideo pri paco kaj socia progreso.
Milito estas la venena frukto de mensogo. Dum la unua Mondmilito, la franca propagando strebis kredigi ke la germanoj estas monstroj dum la germana propagando strebis kredigi la malon. Kiam la Ligo de Nacioj estis fondita, la registaro de Francio estis koloniista; ĝi sopiris al reveno al imperia reĝimo sen konsidero al la aspiroj de la franca popolo. Dum la brita delegito, Lord Robert Cecil, kiu pli poste fariĝis Nobelpremiito pri Paco (1937), subtenis la proponon pri instruado de Esperanto en ĉiuj lernejoj de la mondo, la franca strebis malhelpi debatonpri la demando, kiun faris 11 landoj : — Belgio, Brazilo, Ĉeĥoslovakio, Ĉilio, Ĉinio, Haitio, Hindio, Italio, Kolombio, Persio kaj Sudafriko.
Sen la tiama negativa sinteno de la franca registaro, la problemo de lingva komunikado — same kiel la problemoj de analfabeteco kaj de malkleregeco — estus nun grandparte solvita pro la grandega okazinta ŝparo de tempo, mono kaj fortoj. Totalismaj reĝimoj persekutis la subtenantojn de Esperanto. "Demokrataj" reĝimoj trovis pli "dolĉajn" rimedojn por silentigi ilin. Tio estis ege facila en la tempo kiam ne ekzistis la Interreto, facebook kaj Twitter. Sufiĉis ke fama lingvisto malestime parolu pri Esperanto por malhelpi debaton : Alexandru Graur sub la diktaturo de Ceaucescu, Andreas Blinkenberg en Danio okaze de la Ĝenerala Konferenco de Unesko en Montevideo en 1954 — ambaŭ studis la francan en Parizo. Ekzistas profunda nescio pri tiuj historiaj faktoj, eĉ en intelektaj medioj.
Krom la interreto, oni povas esperi, ke la freŝdata dokumentara filmo de Sam Green "The Universal Language" kontribuos al havigo de pli ĝusta bildo pri Esperanto. Alia estis samtempe prezentita en 2011 en Saõ Paulo, Brazilo, okaze de la Unua internacia kino-festivalo en Esperanto : "L'espéranto", de Dominique Gautier.
Esperanto ebligis al mi renkonti vere interesajn homojn, inter alie Mark Starr. Lia nomo aperas en Wikipedia sub "Mark Starr (labor educationalist)". La mondo bezonas tiajn homojn. Pli detala artikolo pri li aperas ankaŭ ĉe autodidactprojekt.org de Ralph Dumain sub "People of interest". Mi konatiĝis kun li okaze de Esperanto-kongreso en Toronto. Li estis unu el la plej interesaj homoj, kiujn mi iam renkontis. Li diris al mi "Tiu, kiu trudas sian lingvon trudas la manieron laŭ kiu devas danci la marionetoj".
Plivastigo de la kulturnivelo de la popoloj estas necesa bazo por kontraŭstari al milito.
Ekzistas franclingva dokumentara filmo "Hollywood et les Arabes : La Grande Manipulation." (Hollywood kaj la araboj : la Granda Mensmanipulado), kiu montras kiom mensogaj estas filmoj pri tiu temo. En tiuj filmoj, la monstro, la malbonulo, estas ĉiam arabo. Tamen, la granda usona historiisto Howard Zinn klare montris ke la historio de Usono ne estas tiel brila, kiel asertas la oficiala propagando. La libro "War Is a Racket", de la fama usona generalo Smedley Butler, klare montras ke ne necesas iri ekster Usono por trovi monstrojn. Kompreneble, kompare al la propagando de aliaj ekstremistaj reĝimoj, ekzemple la hitlera, la stalina kaj multaj aliaj, la usona aspektas pli "ridetanta". Tio, kion antaŭvidis Aldous Huxley efektiviĝis : "In the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate."
Okaze de serĉado, mi trovis la Esperanto-tradukon de usona alvoko "Not in hour name" fare de Claude Piron. Ĝi estis lanĉita en 2003, kiam Bush atakis Irakon. Strange, mi vane serĉis la originalan tekston en la angla per "not in hour name"... Jen Esperanto-traduko. Eble interesos vin retrovi ĝin en la angla dank' al aŭtomata traduk-sistemo — certe ne perfekta :Ne en nia nomo Ni, loĝantaj en Usono,kredas je nia respondecorezisti al ĉio maljustakion nia registaro kulpasen nia nomo
Ne en nia nomoekos senfina militonek okazos mortojau sangotransdonojnure por nafto
Ne en nia nomolandoj estos invadatajciviluloj bombatajkaj murdataj pliaj infanojdum historio plu skribiĝossuper aroj da tomboj sennomaj
Ne en nia nomovi limigos la liberecojnkiujn vi pretendas defendi
Ne niaj manoj havigos al viarmilojn kaj mononpor ke familioj neniiĝufremdatere
Ne niaj buŝoj silentospro la timokiun vi vekos en ni
Ne niaj koroj permesoske tutaj popoloj au landojestu deklaritaj aĉaj
Kontraŭe al nia volone en nia nomo
Ni ĵuras rezisti
Ni ĵuras amikikun tiuj kiujn oni atakisĉar ili esprimis sin kontrau la militoau pro iliaj religio au etno
Ni promesas solidarikun ĉiuj teranojpor akceli justeconliberecon kaj pacon
Alia mondo eblaskaj ni ĵuras laboripor realigi ĝin
I am Belgian. In the north of our country, we speak Dutch, while our southern compatriots speak French, in a small piece in the east of Belgium, German is spoken by a relatively small number of people. We have three official languages in Belgium. Probably there is not one Belgian who doubts that languages can unleash a war. The last government formation in Belgium got the world record in duration. In fact there is a continous cold war in our country because of the language difference.It is obvious that language difference can cause a strain between different peoples. Language is a real symbol of ethnic identity, one of the origins of nationalism and wars. A neutral language would maybe not solve all of the problems between different peoples, but it can round many sharp edges between them.After the First World War, people realized that they must not kill each other and destroy each other's possessions. Therefore, the League of Nations was founded. The secretary of this League, a Japanese, Inazo Nitobe, suggested a solution to the language problems within the League of Nations to solve it in an easy and fair way. The English report can be found via http://www.archive.org/details/esperantoasinter00leagrichThis would have been a good beginning and a good example for the rest of the world. Unfortunately France put its veto against a neutral language ... likely to protect the own language. We all know that the history was repeated in 1939 and that within the UNO the world remains divided into "language camps," each of them defending its own interests. This seems not very favorable to avoid wars. Why not accept the solution, that Mr Inazo suggested?
For translation from Esperanto to English, please to use :tradukku.net — http://traduku.netapertium.org — http://www.apertium.org/gramtrans.com — http://gramtrans.com/itranslate4.eu — http://itranslate4.eu/
Mi estas unu el la centmilionoj da homoj kiuj, iam, sur la Tero, lernis al anglan, sed ne sufiĉe por aktive uzi ĝin. Eĉ pasive, mia propra kompreno estas malbona. Same kiel por centmilionoj da homoj, la angla ne havas por mi la utilecon, kiun devus havi vera internacia lingvo. La angla estas unue NACIA lingvo, ne pli bona ol la franca, la hispana, la rusa, la ĉina aŭ iu ajn alia nacia lingvo por tiu rolo. Dum nur kelksemajna lernado de Esperanto sen profesoro, sola, mi kapablis esprimi multe pli ol per sesmonata lernado de la angla kun profesoro... Imagu tion mondskale, kun miliardoj da homoj ! Kia ŝparego ! Kiom pli bona kvalito de lingva komunikado ! Totalismaj reĝimoj malhelpis normalan disvastiĝon de Esperanto. Malgraŭ tio, ĝi atingas ĉi jare la belan aĝon de 125-jaroj. Plejparto el la homoj, sendepende de la nacioj, sopiras pri paco kaj justeco. La 17an de janurao 1961, Prezidento Eisenhower avertis kontraŭ la minaco de la milit-industria komplekso. La minaco plifortiĝis ĉar aliaj potencaj nacioj imitis Usonon en tio. Necesas eliri el tiu infera cirklo.
Muriel Stckdale from Financial District prave skribis : "When the opponent is not demonized it is much harder to justify war. Be very suspicious when leaders demonize others."
Zamenhof, la iniciatinto de Esperanto, spertis mem tion. En parolado , dum la monda kongreso de Esperanto en Ĝenevo, en 1906, li parolis pri pogromo okazinta en lia naskiĝurbo Bjalistoko :
"En la stratoj de mia malfeliĉa urbo de naskiĝo, sovaĝaj homoj kun hakiloj kaj feraj stangoj sin ĵetis kiel plej krudaj bestoj kontrau trankvilaj loĝantoj, kies tuta kulpo konsistis nur en tio, ke ili parolis alian lingvon kaj havis alian gentan religion, ol tiuj ĉi sovaĝuloj. Pro tio oni frakasis la kraniojn kaj elpikis la okulojn al viroj kaj virinoj, kadukaj maljunuloj kaj senhelpaj infanoj ...
Oni scias nun tute klare, ke kulpa estas aro da abomenindaj krimuloj, kiuj per diversaj plej ruzaj kaj plej malnoblaj rimedoj, per amase dissemataj mensogoj kaj kalumnioj, arte kreas teruran malamon inter unuj gentoj kaj aliaj. Sed ĉu la plej grandaj mensogoj kaj kalumnioj povus doni tiajn terurajn fruktojn, se la gentoj sin reciproke bone konus, se inter ili ne starus altaj kaj dikaj muroj, kiuj malpermesas al ili libere komunikiĝadi inter si kaj vidi, ke la membroj de aliaj gentoj estas tute tiaj samaj homoj kiel la membroj de nia gento, ke ilia literaturo ne predikas iajn terurajn krimojn, sed havas tiun saman etikon kaj tiujn samajn idealojn kiel nia? Rompu, rompu la murojn inter la popoloj! ..."
I am somewhat pessimistic of a complete end to war, but hopeful of a reduction in its frequency, intensity and duration, contingent on the spread of democratic governance and open communications. And at the grassroots level especially (and the grass roots are where things need to take hold) I will second what neil nachum and Roberto Poort said about the usefulness of Esperanto as a relatively egalitarian, non-coercive way of spreading open communications not based on the language of whoever won the last two (world) wars. In Esperanto I am in daily conversation (on Facebook, mainly, but also Skype etc.) with ordinary individuals in Iran, Brazil, Tanzania, Japan, Nepal... and a dozen other countries on any given, typical day. The communication is not Americocentric the way any such constellation of communications I might have in English would be. And war will be much less likely, I think, in a less Americocentric world.
From A Declaration to Charles II, 1660, includes what is considered the seminal statement of the Quaker peace witness:
We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world.
NOTE: For the full text of this declaration, Click here.
Robert Barclay, the premier Quaker theologian, wrote in 1678:
Whoever can reconcile this, 'Resist not evil', with 'Resist violence by force', again, 'Give also thy other cheek', with 'Strike again'; also, 'Love thine enemies', with 'Spoil them, make a prey of them, pursue them with fire and the sword', or, 'Pray for those that persecute you, and those that calumniate you', with 'Persecute them by fines, imprisonments and death itself', whoever, I say, can find a means to reconcile these things may be supposed also to have found a way to reconcile God with the Devil, Christ with Antichrist, Light with Darkness, and good with evil. But if this be impossible, as indeed it is impossible, so will also the other be impossible, and men do but deceive both themselves and others, while they boldly adventure to establish such absurd and impossible things.
The ONLY reason why the Europeans can rest so easy, pat themselves on the back and imagine themselves so sophisticated and far removed from barbarism that they are beyond any possibility of war amongst themselves is because WE the U.S. are there to step in should any country over there get any belligerent ideas. Why can't you people on the left understand this?
Brian, you say that we should leave Afghanistan as fast as we left Iraq. You should focus on why Obama rushed to get the troops out by the end of 2011. He did so, because the Iraqi government REFUSED to extend immunity for WAR CRIMES to US soldiers, as of the start of 2012! This war, even under Obama, has dragged on for years and for what? People died. Soldiers and innocent Iraqi's. And then, because of fear of prosecution the war is over! Here Brian, is where you need to keep your focus. "Prosecution"! If the leaders who start wars, can do so with impunity, they will have little to discourage them from doing so. So when a leader falsely starts a war based on 'lies', like WMD's, they should be brought up on war crimes in the international world court. The Russians invaded Afghanistan for almost ten years and no prosecution. The US invaded Afghanistan and we need to have those leaders prosecuted or they will do this again! As a country, we have not repented for the War Crimes the US committed in Vietnam! So it has been repeated in Iraq and now again in Afghanistan. We used Chemical warfare on civilians and we poisioned the land. People are still dying and having birth deformities due to the Agent Orange (dioxin) that we rained down on that country. What can we do? We can hold their feet to the fire of public attention. I started a website; www.bush-it-usa.com , where I intend to do just that. Obama got elected because of things he said like, "closing Gitmo", but he has shown that war is just fine with him. War Crimes are still allowed in Afghanistan, as we saw recently in a front page photo of the New York Times. Our drones still kill innocent people and we simply pay cash to whatever family or relatives survive. What is more civil than to know that a person's actions will be held accountable. That is the very fiber of justice and civility. When the US government, or any other, acts in a lawless manner, they need to be prosecuted. If not, then as the colonialist realize, you have tyranny and revolution is necessary. With social media and the internet, we the people do not have to suffer in silence. As in Egypt, we can rise up and create a social non-violent movement for change. Check out the artwork (www.bush-it-usa.com) and "Know your enemy". Each week I will add new artwork and work to create change. Thanks for the opportunity to discuss something of real importance.
Thanks Brian, for this introduction to the abolishment of war !I agree with earlier comments that Pacifism is an important key to ending perpetual warfare.Contrary to popular belief, pacifism is not so much about condemning wars once they have become inevitable, but a pro-active stand which promotes peace at every level. So there is nothing passive about pacifism!
Someone once said (Tom Fox) that achieving peace requires as much as preparation as mobilizing for war. It is actually much harder, as violence is the easy way out of our conflicts. In order to promote peace, we need to constantly educate about peace in our schools at every level. And yes, of course, we need to promote solutions which bring harmony and unity to this war torn world. I am a esperantist, working hard towards peace at the linguistic level. Esperanto is not only astonishing easy to learn, but also convinces its speakers that universal and peaceful communication is possible !
Any pop psychologist (Zimbardo, Milgram, Sherif, et al) can show you the easy ways to unlock behaviors that lead to peacefulness and cooperation between people. At the top of that list, I believe, is the homogenization of human identity.
We exist in an artificially segregated world, where the common characteristics that bond us as a species have been largely ignored and instead, we are taught from a very early age to internalize an identity within a much smaller in-group: as the adherent of a religion, as the citizen of a nation, as the diehard fan of a sports team, and so on. In many societies we enforce these internalizations by celebrating them, and in our celebration a chasm is implicitly created between our in-group and everyone else (the out-group).
This chasm is the thing that groups must take advantage of in order to mobilize armies. If someone does not feel inherently different from another given human being in any part of the world, it will be harder to turn that person into an obedient soldier, and eventually, leaders will have to find other, more peaceful, means of enacting change.
The most promising thing about the dawn of the global information age (into which we are now entering) is that it will hopefully serve to close those voids between strangers, to bring people closer together as a species, and to highlight the similarities that from the start far outnumbered the differences between them.
Of course it goes without saying that an ongoing campaign to stigmatize violence, corruption, greed, and intolerance must also play a part, but such stigmas can only yield limited results as long as the in-group/out-group identity barrier is maintained.
Few people have been able to predict war, the holocaust and other tragedies. But some people did. Some of the people who predict war are pacifists. We must listen to our pacifists and peace-activists. We must communicate internationally. People who think there is NO LANGUAGE PROBLEM prefer to ignore the fact that many wars occur where illiteracy dominates and where illiteracy dominates it follows that COMPLETE LITERATE BILINGUALISM (the ability to speak, read and write a second language) is also lacking. WE MUST NOT IGNORE THE BILLION ILLITERATE AND 2 BILLION POOR LIVING ON LESS THAN 2 DOLLARS A DAY (who won't communicate internationally). Illiteracy and monolingualism are two problems that CAN BE SOLVED. The humanist, L.L. Zamenhof created the easy-to-learn language ESPERANTO. Today, on-line, 150,000 articles at WIKIPEDIA have been translated or written originally in Esperanto. 100,000 people study it around the world at the FREE site LERNU.NET. Many thousands of youth sleep at peoples homes who speak Esperanto via the nearly free on-line service Pasporta Servo. I have personally been warmly welcomed by hundreds of Esperanto speakers in 34 countries. THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR MUST BE MULTIPLIED A HUNDRED FOLD BEFORE LONG-TERM INTERNATIONAL PEACE THRIVES. W E C A N D O I T!
I will not say that war is inevitable nor ask will it end, I will say that war is un-natural and that it is inevitable that it will end. It is not natural to kill each other we are not just alike but we are the same. Our essential self is being, consciousness and love; to act against that natural being is to create disharmony within our self and amongst all. This is why all religions speak against war and even against treating the other as other and not as family or more profoundly self.
I am looking for that world wide epiphany that is due very soon where we will realize that our natural and most successful interactions will come with cooperation. Somehow our group speak has been corrupted over millennia and we think violence is natural, it is not. It is not noble, worthy of celebration, remembrance or honoring in anyway. What is worth honoring are those incredibly brave acts defying violence and resisting the urge to cause violence. That is much harder than acting out and ultimately so very much more rewarding, neither the winner nor the looser really wins when there is war. Just remember how it feels to either win or loose a fight.
The Bhagavad Gita says that the only worthy war is the war where the enemy is not demonized. This is the war where you fight recognizing that your opponent is a worthy, holy and equal opponent who completely represents those aspects of yourself that you are warring with. But when you recognize this there is no need for war because you realize the demons are inside and then do the inner work that is really needed.
When the opponent is not demonized it is much harder to justify war. Be very suspicious when leaders demonize others.
Totalizing good versus evil -we're good when we kill but they're bad when they kill-because we're good and they're evil is what leads to glorification of war. This glorification happens when others are dehumanized and deemed irrational whereas we are rational .Only when this meme and selfserving narrative shifts to recognizing that our enemy no matter what their beliefs and actions are not pure evil and when we shift this belief that the ends justify the means when we engage in war but when our enemies resort to violence as a means this makes them evil.Women are cheering the men into war and labeling the warriors heroes for having engaged in violence so they too are part of the problem.Dictators are too often tolerated by so called democratic people when deemed in the interests of these democracies-turning a blind eye to the violence these regimes perpertrate on their own people.We can hide behind them to feel less culpable but in doing so we cannot then claim to being innocent when blowback from such violent accomodations comes back to bite us.War is the result of pride-we're noble ,our enemy is ignoble hence violence against the enemy is heroic.Our egos are inflated through war.Only when we humble ourselves and recognize the humanity of the enemy[they're not more evil then you and you're not more noble then them]will we choose engagement rather then war.Our bombs are as lethal to men women and children as theirs-no matter the noble self serving rhetoric[freedom,democracy,self defense etc]. used to validate our violence towards others.They have their rhetoric of validation.
War has been and always will be inevitable for mankind. Our 5,500+ years of recorded history of mankind is a constant reminder of this harsh reality. World War I was to have been the "War to end all Wars". Yet, several decades later, the rise of the German Nazi Party (and Adolf Hitler), along with the Japanese military expansion in the Pacific, saw the largest global conflict in the history of mankind (in World War II). And don't forget the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf War conflicts (Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan), not to mention the endless conflicts in the Middle East (Israel-Palestine; Syria, etc.). I haven't even mentioned the years of conflicts between several of the African border nations. It's always going to be in mankind's nature to sin. That's a biblical certainty (and secular reality). We (mankind) also have the capacity to stop wars. As Mr. Lehrer prefaced, there are a multitude of factors that influence wars (e.g., political & religious views, technologies, national economical issues, etc.). As long as we (mankind) have dictators who put their personal desires/needs before their own people/country, (i.e., Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc.), we will always have conflicts.
I feel quite confident that humans will see the end of war. It will probably take another 3000 years but I think it is totally achievable. When resources are shared equally and our global population has equalized at a sustainable level,then there will be no reason for anyone to go to war! Unfortunately no one alive today will see it happen!
I wish we would reach the point where war was considered "universally unconscionable", and although we as a species show 'individual' tendencies for empathy towards other beings, our collective actions are more malleable and susceptible to manipulation by the 2% that directly or indirectly control the resources of any particular nation.I just finished reading Wood - a History of Forests which chronicles the shaping and undoing of civilizations around the deforestation of large regions and it is quite obvoius that the strain we as a race place on the natural resources we require at any point in time leads to the 'industrially driven' wars of resources - the key words in that statement in quotations.As noted by the author of the book you highlight, seldom is our societal impulse to war derived from famine; these usually lead to great migrations if not manipulated by the 2%'ers who usually instigate war as a means of securing or maintaining their control of the levers of power.The real question I see here is whether a change in the gender of this cadre of controllers would lead to a change of approach to resource conflicts or whether it would just produce a new class of female warmongers. Regardless, I believe we owe it to our future generations to run the experiment with women at the helm.Perhaps...
How about OIL?the role it plays, has played, and will play in bringing about war?It is one of those "vital national interests" that are given as a reason for invading another country --- a country with oil in its soil.
Has your guest just used the Manhattan skyline as an example of peaceful coexistence? Did he notice that a couple of towers are sadly missing?I agree that human being has become better. At least, unlike the past, now we do acknowledge evil behavior trying to correct it, but the Manhattan skyline is not exactly the best example for that!
I am a developmental psychologist and would like to clarify the following:
The caller who cited violence in primates related to human voiced a frequently made point. But such "evolutionary" arguments are specious: they always fail to complete their own thought. That is, it's because evolution continued on and created the ventromedial prefront cortex that a distinctive sense of Self developed -- which is the defining characteristic of our species. This Self is a continuously evolving emergent property of social interaction and hence entirely culturally based. Because this area of the brain is physically contingent with both the cortical association and decision-making areas and the emotional parts of the brain shared with primates/mammals, it makes the experience of those "lower" feelings and drives qualitatively different. Hence all human appetites cannot be simplistically correlated with those of the species from which we evolved.
I think it is in Plato's Republic that it is argued that an 'other' or enemy is needed to hold together a community. To end war between human beings, I think we would need to have an effective enough non-human other to band together against- maybe global warming?
I think if true "Family Values" were adapted culturally, in other words, the elevation of what women bring to society; nurturing, listening and fostering communication,cooperation,concern for the general welfare of the "neighborhood", and other qualities that women embody, we would all be peacemakers and would find that the highest goal.
Re: war being inevitable. As a Biological Anthropologist I've thought about the divergence of the ape lineage a lot. It occurs to me that chimpanzees are not that unusual in their violence, nor are humans. Orangutan mating can be very violent, and females have been cited as being beaten and badly bitten into what looks like forced copulation. Bonobos (which are mainly studied in captivity) are typed as lovers, but females have been observed to form coalitions that end in males being beaten and killed, or genitals mutilated. Chimps and humans are notorious for walking their territories and treating group members strangers to beatings or worse. It seems to me that Gorillas are the outliers, being relatively peaceful and not prone to organized violence. In fact, you'd have to dig into leaf eating monkeys to see similar behaviour, as most frugivorous monkeys like baboons and macaques are also pretty violent and spend a lot of time issuing threats/skirting conflict.
There is a body of theory out there that suggests that if you have a resource that is clumped, say like fruit trees, versus scattered (i.e. leaves) that you are inclined to organize yourself in a hierarchy (reinforced by violence and threats), and cooperate in an effort to defend the resource as a group. This is complex area of study, and not my arena but it occurs to me that provided you have a clumped resources (such as unevenly distributed land and money), you will have war.
The idea that war will ever end is ludicrous. There are billions of people on the planet, and one group will inevitably want what another group has, and if the only way they can get it is by force, then they will wage war. It has always been this way and it always will be, no matter how chimps or bononbos behave. Of course, this means that the human race must strive endlessly to end it,or at least to minimize it.. ...even if we have to wage a little war to do it.
As long as humans exist, there will be war. It may take different forms in the future (like drugging entire nations into submission, or genetically altering populations -- hey, don't laugh, humans are capable of anything), but there will always be war.
As long as there is greed and bullying, there will always be war.
As long as human beings, as individuals and in groups, remain selfish and greed is tolerated, in a world of finite resources, war will remain inevitable. It is, alas, our nature.
War has been inevitable for men have always been the powers that waged war. And it still is men who decide and women who allow them to do so.When women form a Lysistratamovement there will be no war.
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