IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

A few words about politics

I don’t usually have much to say about partisan politics.  Some think this odd since I am trained as a Political Scientist.  However, as I’ve argued a few times, I see politics as a dependent variable and as an ascriptive, culturally specific activity.  So, if you want change, which is what this blog is about, after all, you need to change the culture and values from which politics “spring”, so to speak.

However, I had a thought this morning that I thought I would share.  If you follow the current political campaigns, have a listen to see to what extent (if at all) “peace” as we have discussed it in this blog is mentioned and how often and with what priority it figures in the various speeches, press conferences, etc..  The two campaigns I hear most about are the U.S. and the French (remember I live on a French island).  About the only direct references to peace that come to mind immediately, are getting out of Afghanistan and something about Israel and Palestinians.  Personally, I don’t know that these are very strong references to peace since the former is more about ending a conflict rather than establishing or maintaining something more positive; and the latter…well, I don’t know that there is much to say about a peace process which for now seems to produce more conflict and alienation than anything else.

The point here is not to wring hands, but to at least note that peace, in general, is not perceived as important to the electorates candidates are courting.  For instance, in France the incumbent’s slogan(roughly translated) is “A strong France”.  This clearly resonates.  One has some difficulty imagining a candidate running with the slogan “A peaceful France”  or “A France for Peace”.  I think much can be learned about the state of the world from this observation. In fact, a peaceful France would have to be a strong France, but that is not generally understood.  Hopefully, it  will be sooner rather than later.

IGbarb says:  “We used (ie during the Cold War) to say ‘peace through strength’.  Now why not say ‘strength through peace’.


February 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

“…and then there was….what was there?”*

Just me noting a few things I have found interesting.

First, as I suspected the whole Euro issue would push the EU toward more governance.  Of course, many countries don’t like this; but personally, I think the Euro is here to stay and more centralized fiscal control is an inevitability.  Today Europe…tomorrow (well not exactly tomorrow, but anyway…) the world!

Second,  it is amazing how information diffuses these days, and also amazing that people who nobody thought were really interested in democracy, seem to be interested after all.  Who knew?  In fact, though, it is probably not democracy in any specific form that they want (you can fill in the names for the “they” here–just pick up a newspaper).  They want to have some say over what happens to them, they want to have a sense of identity that is not constantly being called into question by events…and they want to live in a society with meaningful relationships that confirm their identity and help them to participate in what shapes their lives.  We all want this.  You can call this human rights, or essential freedoms, or whatever.  It is what humans (as John Burton pointed out quite a few years ago now) need to be fully human.  Also, and this is the part we are seeing today:  it can’t be taken away forever; or, for that matter negotiated away.  People will, sooner or later, rise up to take it back.

Politics is a dependent variable.  Huh?  Well, while we go on and on about who is governing whom and who might get the chance to replace them in what election, we lose sight of the bigger picture, which I suspect has to do with the fact that our values and our culture pretty much determine what happens in our politics.  So, if you want to change politics (heck, what right-thinking person doesn’t?) you have to change those values and, by implication, the culture in which they are embedded….which explains, to some extent at least, why I am a teacher and not a politician.  True, I teach about politics, but I don’t practice what most would consider politics…but believe me, I see myself very much involved in the process of global change (even if in a small way).

We really need to unite, at least to a basic workable level, our planet.  Heck we are finding more and more  possibly inhabitable worlds.  Sooner, rather than later, the Star Trek scenario will be upon us (ie when we start to move at light speed through space).  Heaven (literally) only knows what will happen at that point.  Personally, I think we need all hands on deck on spaceship earth for what will be a probably never ending series of challenges without precedent.  No more time for squabbles, or neglecting suffering, or stupid prejudices…Everybody is “us”…no more”them”.  If you don’t get that, take a really hard look at the stars some night…a real hard, real long look.  Let that good old cosmic insignificance sink deep into you.  If you do this, you just might, as I did at one point, realize that that very feeling (as uncomfortable as it can be) is a creative force.  We really are all in this planetary life thing together.  There really is, as Sartre said, “no exit”.  Or, as Stuart Brand, creater of the Whole Earth Catalogue used to say “we are as gods, so we might as well get good at it”.

IGbarb says:  “Gods are as gods do…be as godly as you can!”

* I think this is from Frank Zappa, but I’m not sure (Karl Weaver are you out there?)

December 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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