IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

JFK, etc…

Everybody–or at least almost everybody–knows this is the anniversary of the JFK assassination, right?  As I mentioned in an earlier entry, I was much affected by this (and by earlier and later related events, like the Cuban missile crisis) as a child.  I remember crying and not really knowing why.

Anyhow, besides the fact that we will probably never know the “whole truth” about what happened, what, if anything, can be learned about these event?.  Obviously, I’m reflecting from a “peace perspective”.

Well, the world was a very complicated and scary place then.  It still is, I guess, but then fear had a particular “edge”:  nuclear annihilation and communist infiltration (I guess the “edge” now is terrorism, but anyway…).  Interestingly both of those issues are not what they used to be.  Communism, at least in its world wide threat form, is largely gone and nuclear annihilation, while still with us, is much less likely since the world’s biggest nuke owners are doing more talking than sabre rattling these days.  I know, I know…there are those Chinese and there is Taiwan and there is India and Pakistan, and Iran’s weapons, etc…  But the current situation is, I would recklessly venture to assert at least one or two (or even more) orders of magnitude less threatening than what we used to know.  There was a time, for instance, in the early 80’s (I think) when something like 60% of U.S. college students did not expect to live to be 30 because they expected nuclear war.

So, I have this theory that strange times produce strange people and also to quote (I think) the psychologist Alfred Adler, you pay for everything you do out of fear.  There were plenty of strange people acting out of fear (or taking advantage of other people’s fear) to create semi governments within governments and to justify all sorts of things in the name of national security (this still goes one, of course).  It seems to me what happened in Dallas was, somehow or other (no matter what scenario you find most plausible) related to these broader currents of the time.

Conclusion:  change the “currents” and you may get different and even “better” results.  However, if you let fear drive your behavior/ policy, similar outcomes are to be expected.

IGbarb says:  “FDR was right, at least to some extent:  the only thing (or maybe one of the main things) we have to fear, is fear itself!”

November 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

“All that rises”…revisited

Readers of this blog have probably figured out, in general terms, my point of view on world events.  Basically, I see humanity being obliged to evolve (the expression “kicking and screaming” comes to mind) into its maturity, represented by the emergence of a world civilization.   Admittedly, this point of view has a degree of optimism in that total extinction is not anticipated.  OK…now keeping that in mind, consider the following comments.

It has impressed me for some time how people in “civilized” countries have, for a very long time, been resigned to and more or less taken for granted actions and situations at the international level which they would consider intolerable in their own communities.  I see this as a an example of what the Marxists call a “contradiction”:   something in the socio-political order that is unstable and has to change as either circumstances or consciousness change.  What do I mean?  Well, consider.    Even if many local governments are not effective at coping with the ongoing crimes of gangs, citizens are not usually ready to say” oh well, that’s just the way it is”  “people (men) are just like that” ” it has always been like that and will always be like that”  “it is naive and utopian to think it could be otherwise”.  No..they would scream for police action, legislation, community action…in short that government and civil society do something to stop the violence, crime and chaos in their community.

However, the statements in quotations above are exactly the kind of thing one hears about violence and crime at the global level.  Basically the view is:  “what do you expect from a chaotic social system characterized by an unbridled struggle among distinct and separate national actors to survive and dominate”.  This is what I would call “bifurcated” thinking, and immediately gives rise to the following critique:  if governance is good at the local and national levels, why not at the global level?  Some reply that it is impossible, but that is an increasingly weak argument, since humanity is, and has been for some time, doing all sorts of things previously thought impossible.  I was reminded this weekend that every second the Voyager space probes are pushing back the (still infinitesimally small, admittedly) scope of humanity’s penetration into the universe.  If we can do all these unprecedented things, we can also do something about global governance.

So, personally, I think this contradiction will resolve itself through the unstoppable expansion of peoples’ personal horizons to encompass the global–our thinking is literally becoming global, even in regard to trivial day to day things (professional sports, “dancing with the stars” etc…).  This leads inevitably to an increasing capacity to see beyond the “us/them” distinction, and to grasp that people suffering far away are still in as much pain as people suffering down the street…and that something should be done about this.

I think this is the trend, but it is obvious that the process of change in this direction is sporadic and characterized by reactionary impulses to “close borders” etc… In this regard, I’m not saying that immigration policies are irrelevant.  What I’m saying is that you have to look to the cause of your immigration problem and the complex dynamics and historical background that put your society in this situation.  You may not want to, but I don’t see how you can, over the medium to longer run, avoid doing so.

Anyhow, you see what I’m driving at, I suppose.  If you don’t, feel free to ask me 🙂

IGBarb says (again quoting the immortal Walt Kelly):  “We have met the enemy, and he is  us”

November 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment


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