Eliminating War

It is very difficult to feel content when we look around us and see homeless people in the streets, millions dying from disease, nations at war, genocide, suicide bombings, starvation, government corruption, the destruction of rain forests, global warming, etc. We are watching the quality of life deteriorate for billions worldwide. Individual liberties are constantly eroding, while the threat of terrorism, economic collapse, disease and other preventable disasters becomes more and more a part of even the most comfortable lives. Even if we personally remain unaffected, as each of us gains more understanding we realize we can not truly be happy while ignoring the suffering around us.

These negative conditions are a natural expression of humanity's present state of evolution. If we believe we are on this planet to learn, then seeing the bad teaches us what doesn't work. Nor should we overlook that fact that even with these terrible conditions occurring across the globe, many of us live fulfilling, peaceful lives. Every day billions of people are not raped or murdered. They get enough to eat, have shelter, employment and good health.

But we would not choose to live in an unenlightened world if we honestly believed we have a choice. We must apply ourselves to supporting those ideas which can bring greater peace, happiness and prosperity to all the people of the world. Not because we are kind and understanding individuals, but because we personally, selfishly, want to live in a better world.

When the second Iraq war started up in 2003, we all knew that terrorism would certainly follow, along with more wars intended to prevent terrorism, which will spawn more terrorism and more wars. War has been part of human society as far back as history can take us. It seems that war is part of human nature, that wars will continue to happen forever, but wars will cease to occur when the conditions which make them possible are eliminated.

War is a result of individual groups of people insisting that other groups change in some way. These groups can be nations, races, religions or other organizations of individuals with common ideas. In all cases, war requires the division of populations into groups.

There is nothing wrong with feeling connected to a particular group of like minded people or cultural heritage. There can be great value in sharing experiences with others who appreciate similar ideas and activities. The maintenance of various cultural expressions also provides for a diversity of experience which can be enjoyed by all. The problems arise when groups of people create artificial separations from the rest of humanity.

For example, when individuals of a particular race actively develop specialized language usage, custom handshakes, uniform styles of dress, etc., they encourage "racism" by holding their group separate from everyone else. Whole nations enforce "accepted" styles of dress or appearance which separate them from other nations, i.e., some Muslim countries require men to have full beards and women to cover their faces. The danger is greatest when governments enforce artificial and unnecessary cultural/religious restrictions. In this country, for example, people have been imprisoned for being gay or publicly supporting the idea of free love - to say nothing of burning witches for practicing unpopular spiritual beliefs. At the same time it was perfectly OK to own slaves and murder Native Americans. An enlightened society would recognize and reinforce those things we have in common while simultaneously celebrating the diversity of every individual.

We must also be able to communicate with each other, which means sharing a common language in addition to any native language we might speak. It is much more difficult to kill someone if both sides can make the other aware of why one is fighting in the first place. Conflicts can be resolved before they happen if we can first agree upon a common method of discerning the truth, and speaking the same language would make that much easier to do.

The creation of a single, worldwide government having fair and reasonable principles which apply equally to every human being on the planet, would eliminate wars between nations because there would be no separate nations. Wars motivated by greed and ideological differences can be prevented if the operating principles of this single socioeconomic system benefited everyone equally and left no legitimate justification for group conflict.

War is the most unfair of all human acts. Innocent people are killed, maimed or deprived of material possessions as a result of war. Families are ripped apart and the suffering lasts long after the fighting has ceased. The consequences of a nuclear war are horrible beyond imagination. The only thing more insane than a nuclear war is continuing to prepare ourselves to have one.

Both sides in a war feel their actions are justified and necessary. But wars are not created by nations. They are created by individuals, the leaders of those nations. There is nothing more noble about killing thousands of soldiers on a battlefield than having a sniper shoot the leader of an opposing country and preventing the war entirely.

When one considers the enormous cost of expendable military hardware such as bombs and cruise missiles, it seems that dropping new cars, hot tubs and big screen TVs on the opposing forces would do more to end the war, and at less expense. If the money currently spent on military operations were instead spent providing jobs, education and infra structure, on supplying the opposing force with a better life, wars could be avoided.

Wars are usually fought by one nation against another, or by one religion against another. In other words, wars are caused by groups promoting different interpretations of right and wrong, or good and bad. If one group believes it is wrong for a few individuals to profit from the exploitation of natural resources while the vast majority suffer, and another group believes the opposite, there will be war. If one group believes it is wrong for women to have equal rights, for individuals to enjoy financial and social freedoms, or that a particular religion should control government, and another group believes the opposite, there will be war.

The good intent of the American people is so sincere that we allow our young military people to die in defense of "freedom" in other countries, and for most of us we can not grasp why anyone would want to harm our county in any way. Because our corporate owned media always promotes government spin, it is incomprehensible to the average American why the United States government is hated by so much of the world. Most of us never consider the possibility that it is because the U.S. constantly seeks to manipulate foreign economies in ways which benefit the few at the expense of the masses, that we actively seek to impose our morality and form of government on other nations, and that we are not fair with our own people, let alone fair to those in other parts of the world. We are far from being the only unfair country, but we are the most aggressive in promoting our policies overseas.

On the other hand, corruption and repression are so extreme in other parts of the world that many people seek to come here. And there is the problem of religious morality in other nations creating unopposed propaganda which encourages people to take up arms in order to enforce their morality upon all others. The same principle of "moral necessity" we apply to imprison pot smokers is used by others to encourage suicide bombers.

The most effective weapon in any confrontation is communication - getting both sides to see things the same way, and that means both sides agreeing to be fair. War is not possible where fairness exists. War is a result of unfairness, where each side is convinced, by it's leadership, that the other side is being unfair. The unfairness often exists on both sides. Open communication between opposing populations would eventually eliminate war because all people are able to recognize reason and fairness when they see it (though it can take some time to sink in). Because the Internet enables free expression between individuals across the globe, it is the single most valuable tool for peace in the world today.

"War will end when all young men refuse to go to war" (Seth). There is nothing fair or reasonable about forcing a man to kill other men, so drafting people into military service is worse than slavery. When enlightened definitions of reason and fairness are communicated worldwide, and considered absolute necessities by the population of the world, all young men will refuse to go to war.

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