Dying for a Little Peace

The Western world, it seems, is overflowing with peace organizations. Influenced by the rat pack of Galtung-inspired Peace Studies graduates, they consist of left-leaning utopians, Christian “social justice” groups who make forbearing captives when taken hostage by those with whom they commiserate (often to the extent of denouncing their rescuers), and a sorority of bustling middle-class matrons and their snuggy-breasted male consorts, all with too much time on their hands. One of the latest such organizations is a regional klatch of affluent do-gooders by the name of PeaceQuest that describes itself in a slick and unctuous -- and comma challenged -- pamphlet as:

     a new community-based, organization in Eastern Ontario. Committed

and engaged citizens from a variety of backgrounds, for whom peace is a patriotic

value, have come together to invite a community-wide conversation in Kingston

Ontario as we near the 100th anniversary of the “War to end all Wars” and Canada’s

150th anniversary as a nation.

PeaceQuest has presently embarked on a mission to spread its message to other Canadian cities in order to bring all right-thinking people into the camp of self-proclaimed saints. Let us consider its program and rationale.

PeaceQuest tells us that “wars are tragic failures” and that “there are no winners.” In a sense, this is true, but only in a sense. In war, nearly everybody “loses,” but some are in peril of losing more than they would have forfeited had they not actually “won.” Europe and possibly America would have been reduced to subject populations -- including the jejune demographic of PeaceQuesters -- had the Allies not gone to war against the Axis powers. Six million of my people were exterminated by the Nazis, but had the war not been “won,” the number would have approached twelve million, that is, most of world Jewry. Loss is a relative phenomenon, and to lose less than would otherwise have been the case may be defined as a form of winning.

PeaceQuest is not interested in such a melancholy but justifiable calculus. Thus we are enjoined “to work together to show that the way to give meaning to the millions killed…is to promote” -- presto! -- “peace, peacemaking and reconciliation.” For the PeaceQuesters, the way to honor the war dead is not by remembering why the war was worth fighting but instead by imagining that it might have been avoided altogether through the circulation of resolutions and companionable exchanges. Said another way, we are encouraged to fill the air with thought balloons as if the world were a giant comic strip in which amity will eventually prevail among the clans, militias and nations gnawing at one another’s throats.

After these ringing proclamations, we are presented with six sample respondents’ answers to the question, In our search for peace we need to… Each statement (in italics below) is accompanied by a photo of a face smiling with radiant good nature. What follows are my elaborations of these leguminous affirmations as seems appropriate in context.

In our search for peace we need to

1. Teach history from different perspectives. As it happens, this program has been in full swing for many years, to which the revisionist oeuvre of Howard Zinn, Tony Judt, Avi Shlaim, Chris Hedges, Kirkpatrick Sale, Thomas Piketty and Ilan Pappe, among a host of others, amply attests. From these efforts we learn that America and Israel (and, of course, capitalism) are responsible for most of the world’s sufferings. Russia, China and the Arab and Muslim autocracies need to be apologized to or conceded to in order to advance the cause of universal peace. Surely then, they will lay down their weapons and end outright their political, economic and military belligerence.

2. Strive for equality and understanding. Resonant abstractions, true, but musings that our enemies will acknowledge with relief and gratitude as they invariably reciprocate by introducing democratic principles into their polities, respecting their neighbors’ borders, establishing parity between the sexes, and ceasing to fund terrorist militias and domestic subversives.

3. Smile. This directive is intended to show that we mean no one any harm and are ready to smile even more broadly as our heads are being sawed off.

4. Change the way we think. In other words, analytic thinking is subsumed by or transformed into tender feelings for the planet and all its inhabitants, rendering us vulnerable before unaccommodating facts but at least allowing us to be proud of ourselves as we go terminally under.

5. Cultivate peace within ourselves. Aside from being empty of manual-type content  -- how does one go about functionally changing the parameters of the self? -- this ostensibly heroic enterprise requires us to be oblivious to the eternal rugosities of human nature, to the irresolvable problems that plague every human life, and to the millennial failure to achieve anything remotely resembling happy coexistence in human affairs. But should the attempt falter, access to lobotomy is always a viable alternative.

6. Believe peace is possible. Our PeaceQuesters act in defiance of the Roman adage that if we want peace, we should prepare for war, which is surely bad advice.  Neville Chamberlain believed peace was possible with the German Reich, which many deluded people claim led to WWII and sixty million deaths, whereas immediate surrender to Nazi Germany would clearly have produced a peaceful Thousand Year reign under the benevolent gaze of Hitler and his successors.

Irony aside, what our soigné rabble of propitiators does not understand is that it is an unwitting collaborator with our assailants, helping them to further a malignant agenda by exhorting us, in the spirit of the times, to practice a prolonged form of cultural euthanasia. These people are so lazy and feckless that they refuse to do even a minim of research to keep abreast of the real world. For example, there is no recognition of the fact, according even to a mealy-mouthed mollifier like U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, that 2014 was a bumper year for global terrorism: “Worldwide, from January to September, around 13,000 terror attacks were carried out, killing 31,000 people.” The subsequent six months were no less sanguinary. No amount of good will, pharyngeal rhetoric or airy-minded idealism would change one iota of the remorseless and carnal world we inhabit.