Coastal Post Online


October 2001

World War III or World Community?
By Guy W. Meyer


   In the February 2001 issue of the Coastal Post, appeared an article I wrote entitled, "Deadly Destination." It begins, "Politicians and social activists argue about balloting, abortion rights, gun ownership, drugs, global warming,... corporate welfare, terrorism, etc. Still unaddressed is the most serious issue of our time.
   "Are we on planet Earth relatively safe and secure? Can our children look forward to a brighter (or even as bright) future than most experience today?
   "Or are we as a human society like children playing with matches in a hay barn?...
   "Are we moving at an accelerating pace toward World War III? ...Do we look forward to the peace of smoking ruins of great cities... to a silent, lifeless planet?
   "...What are the signs?" I mentioned nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and our intention to use these. Then,
   "Most serious is the fact that the belief systems that motivated humans to engage in World Wars I and II have not changed." I went on to name several of these dangerous beliefs, including the belief that nations and other abstractions are held to be more sacred than human life. Others were, "Widespread glorification of war, violence, weaponry" and "General acceptance of the principle of revenge/retaliation equated with 'justice'."
   I would now add the flawed belief that retaliation creates "deterrence" and "defense." What if the opponent resists being deterred? And are we willing to fight to the bitter end (defense) to win (all are losers in WWIII)?
   The fierce desire to avenge the attacks in New York and Washington may be understandable but would constitute a giant step in the direction of nuclear war and "finis."
   I have written of the urgent need for a grassroots movement to boycott all militarism and establish a world community. Now what would I say? That I was wrong? That we must clamp down and crush all terrorists, although they are heroes to their supporters?
   To the contrary, I must redouble my efforts to inspire or provide discussion of our only hope to survive. While a structured world community is, indeed, some time away, a global grassroots movement to break from the world of violence and spur human hope and new commitment could be initiated in a matter of months, if not weeks.
   Certain perceptions must be revised.
   We have for centuries thought in terms of nations -- defense, deterrence, conquering, fearing, glorification of violence, weapons, coercion. There is a belief that human order can only be maintained by the power of fear -- threats of loss (fines), imprisonment and its associated cruelties, and the death penalty. We honor the competition to acquire wealth -- possessions, privilege, and power. In other words, greed, fear, and hate play (and have played for centuries) a dominant role in human society. Many of us cannot imagine anything else.
   The alternative? Does a truly loving family need constant threats to be a healthy, happy family? Does a caring community need a background of fear to persuade neighbors to cooperate, to share, and mutually aid? Have not all the great spiritual leaders in human history advocated caring love as the way to human happiness?
   The glorifiers of violence and threat, however, have proclaimed caring love as weak and impractical. Unfortunately, many of those who yearn for the triumph of caring have yielded to this claim and timidly taken baby steps to make things better. They treat symptoms of the great evils -- particular weapons systems, particular invasions and wars, particular violations of human rights, while vainly petitioning and protesting to the guardians of coercive power (political leaders -- "write letters to your senator, MP, etc.").
   Let this horrible event of September 11 be a wake-up call! Too long we have suffered under the dominance of the violence-worshippers. It is now time for those whose faith has been in the power of mutual caring to unite, to consolidate their numbers and efforts to create a caring community. This must be a community to serve the well-being of all humans, regardless of nation, religion, tradition, physique, or belief.
   In every nation there are men and women in organizations and individually, who teach and act for human rights, for the welfare of all children, the equality of women and other disadvantaged, protection of the environment, ending starvation and homelessness, respect for other living species, forgiving, sharing, healing, enlightening. These are the Carers. Their emphasis is the opposite of the Fearers, the glorifiers of and trusters in violence.
   Imagine the former uniting in a grassroots movement to assertively promote their common value -- caring. One of their first actions must be a worldwide rejection of and separation from all acts and excuses for violence. The gangrene of society must be stripped from the healthy flesh.
   Let me hasten to say that I am not for dividing the world into good people who are and bad people who support violence. We are all one and capable of changing our perceptions and values. While caring for all our fellow humans, we can despise life-destroying acts and excuses while celebrating life-enhancing values.
   It is appropriate to regard all militarism as one, mutually justifying and supporting. Think of it as a deadly disease, latent in places and flaring up in other places. The New York attack was but one flare-up. Ever hear of Hiroshima? Nagasaki? How many thousands of innocent children and other civilians dead? Ever hear of Vietnam -- Agent Orange, White Phosphorus, Napalm? Hundreds of thousands of innocents dead.
   More recently, militarily-trained death squads and terrorists in Central America (referred to by an American President as "freedom-fighters"), bombings in Panama, Grenada, Belgrade, ongoing bombings in Iraq, Gaza. Wealth and power in huge international arms trade, to the profit of numerous American (and other) stockholders.
   There is one really appropriate response to the tragic and shameful New York attacks: a total, unconditional, publicly-demonstrated rejection of world militarism by all Carers, here and worldwide.
   In the county of Marin, California, plans are being laid for such a public demonstration. It will take place on Wednesday, March 20, 2002, day of the Vernal Equinox, when day and night are of equal length worldwide. In the meanwhile, young people are urged to accept no part in militarism, to view it as the disease it is, without glory, without honor.
   Since the excuse for militarism is "national defense" our young people must be taught that the nation is not more sacred than human life, that the Human Family, to be protected and cared for by a structured world community, must be their highest loyalty. National flags, anthems, and other symbols must be replaced by symbols of Human Unity and our Earth Home.
   The Equinox celebration will provide a ceremony in which caring people can publicly declare their shift of identity and allegiance from a nation, a religion, a race, or other limited loyalty, to the Human Family, the World Community-to-be, and to the global, nonviolent, grassroots movement to establish it.
   Any offers or suggestions to increase the impact of this coming Vernal Equinox celebration will be most welcome.
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