Another World is Possible

This is reposted from facebook, where I originally published it earlier today. It's about violence and militarism, and peace and justice. I believe that nonviolent solutions are the answer. Marvin Gaye said that "War is not the answer, because only love can conquer hate." I can't imagine stating it any better than that!

Here is the note. Peace be with you:

Violence and militarism haven't brought peace to the world amongst human societies throughout thousands of years of human conflict. It is time to find a better way. Another world is possible.

The means do not justify the ends. In fact, the way it works is that the means are the ends - that is to say that the character of the means, becomes the end. So if the use of violence, i.e. militarism, is used to resolve conflict, then the end product will be a society in which violence is acceptable. Violence is not acceptable. Violence is not acceptable in our homes or in our communities, so why should it be acceptable to export violence into the community of others? Why do we have a foreign policy establishment that engages in systematic violence and oppression?

The popular myth is that violence and militarism are used to make us safer, and to bring peace. But the truth is far from that. In fact—violence and militarism are used to oppress, and to enable exploitation of resources, materials and labor.

The additional truth is that this doesn't make us truly safer. Recent escalations (of the U.S. foreign policy of global dominance) under the Bush Administration have resulted in social division; upset; fearfulness; economic instability, stress and uncertainty; endangerment of civil liberties; and a plethora of other truly harmful and destructive side-effects.

It we want true security, then we will have to live in a way that is respectful and tolerant of socio-cultural differences, we will have to live in a way so that all people are treated equally, so that all people have equitable opportunity, justice and truth. True security will result from learning to share resources, rather than seeking to dominate and hoard them. True security will result from a general societal attitude of respect for land and for all beings. Aldo Leopold suggested that we move toward a relationship with land not as a commodity, but as a community of which we are very much part. I believe that is the path to true security.

What are the roots of conflict in our own society and in our own lives? How can we eradicate violence and all harmful interactions amongst beings?

Respectful dialogue, and the opportunity to work out legitimate disagreements and grievances in a respectful and compassionate manner, will enable the achievement of a true and lasting peaceful world.

There is a lot work to be done in progressing toward a world where all people are treated equally. Of course, it's going to take time and a lot of effort. But maybe, if we can learn to share amongst differing peoples, if we can learn to distribute resources equitably, if we can learn to use resources wisely—so that our actions and consumption are not abusive and destructive toward the planet, other peoples, or future generations—then maybe we will live to see a day of true security and true prosperity —for all people.

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Aldo Leopold: "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."

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