I listened to the interviews of voters during the recent election period. Here is what I heard repeatedly from earnest and good hearted Americans; “I am anti-war, so I am voting against the war.” The results of the election point out the power of the peace seeking voter and I have no quarrel with our culture’s love of peace. This is a demonstration of the law of good in action. It may be what saves us all, if indeed we can save ourselves from one another.
I typically write here on my google allotted canvases in elected neglect of politics. It will seem this post is a political essay. It will seem so because our country has been so solidly divided that any conversation these days that involves a topic such as war is quickly cleaved and separated into a Lib/Con defense and inevitable spat. Without fail we reach a level of branding someone an idiot, retard, peacenik or warmonger. So I am warning early that this essay is philosophical in nature. It is not an easy read because I am challenging you to think philosophically and not politically. Yes, war can be contemplated without a single thought to your political affiliation. At sharpest focus none of us is defined by party, but instead by what forms our thought, oral discourse and action.
Today thousands marched on the capitol chanting anti-war slogans. Do you know the phrase full disclosure? That’s when the media or an individual confesses something that is important to the discussion. My full disclosure here is that I was a
Fortunately, I have learned to think more critically as I have aged and observed. Here is what I think today, these many years later. With the rare exception for the deranged or psychopathic individual or fanatical religious subset all of us are anti-war. I find it annoying and shallow when people tell me with great conviction that they are “anti-war”. I would expect nothing less of a fellow human. It is not a slogan that sets you apart from the rest of the world in some sort of special class of intellectualism and compassion. It merely voices what every caring, feeling and correctly functioning human already believes and understands. The inference of this slogan and mindset is that anyone that holds an understanding of cause and effect different than the one you hold, or develops a contradictory stance to your own about how to end war is somehow ‘pro-war.’ I think it would be rare to find an individual that truly relishes war, particularly those that have served on the killing fields inside its horror, fear and chaos.
Philosophically war is an effect. It is not a cause.
If I were speaking to you as a listening audience I would repeat what I just said. I would ask you to write it down. I would ask you to divorce every political figure in our country from your thinking. That will be difficult because you have already begun to picture them and think about them as you have been reading. To divorce the political posturing of the governing classes and dwell instead on the cause of war demands mental discipline. To defeat the causes of war has precious little to do with shallow slogans such as “End the War.” I do not fault peace marchers. I have been there, and as the current popular refrain goes, ‘done that.’ I believe they are honest in their emotion and true to the cause of peace. It’s a good thing to feel the emotion. It’s a good thing to express the emotion. The idea I am placing before the reader is that the target of the emotive marcher is faulty. The emotion of honest righteousness is wasted by firing valuable ammunition into the sand. Yes, you can chant your government into political surrender, but the causes of war will merely smile at your impotence.
War is an effect and as such is servant to a discoverable cause. Search for the cause and you will be racing ahead of those that gather and mindlessly chant “No More War”. Imagine if we gathered at an urban apartment fire and chanted "No More Fire."
Before you begin a self–righteous “No More War” chant and begin crying out that the president is a warmonger because all the guests on NPR and CNN said so, it is advisable to first understand all decent humans oppose war and such a chant is intellectually similar to reading aloud from a Dick and Jane primer.
I have also learned in life that most things are never as easy as they first appear. Search for the cause. It is far more important and worthwhile than protesting the effect. Then we can gather together and work against the cause.
If I set your house on fire I am the cause of your pain and suffering. My fire is a deadly effect of my cause. If you fail to identify me as the cause then you have not defeated my ability to create effect. The fire is without feeling or knowledge, yet it is merciless in fulfillment of mission. In this way it yields the same effect as the loyal and well trained soldier of any nation or religious subset. War and fire have much in common.
Each has a cause that requires discovery before profit in human salvation can be attained.