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February 2001

A Deadly Destination

By Guy W. Meyer

Politicians and social activists argue about balloting, abortion rights, gun ownership, drugs, global warming, election fraud, 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 and their 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? Like a bus speeding down a straight stretch toward a sharp curve over a deep drop to rocks below?

Are we moving at an accelerating pace toward World War III? Massive exchanges of nuclear warheads, chemical and biological weapons? Do we look forward to the peace of smoking ruins of great cities, poisoned land and water, dead and decaying humans and wildlife, to a silent, lifeless planet?

Exaggeration? Paranoia? What are the signs?

1) Nuclear weaponry is the cornerstone of "defense" and "deterrence" in the USA, China, India, Pakistan, Russia and Israel (unacknowledged). Iran and Iraq are in the process of developing nuclear bombs.

2) Chemical and biological weapons have been developed, capable of creating epidemics killing millions, and stand ready for use in some nations.

3) Current hostilities and unpredictable events and leaders.

4) Most serious is the fact that the belief systems that motivated humans to engage in World Wars I and II have not changed. Do the following beliefs sound familiar, or are they no longer taken seriously by world leaders and citizens?

a) Intent to use these weapons "if necessary."

b) Belief that armed violence is essential to preserve a nation, way of life, or other abstraction such as "Freedom," "Democracy," "Free Enterprise," "Socialism," "Liberation."

c) Belief that these are more sacred than human life, which must be sacrificed for them.

d) Religion of Nationalism - nation viewed as primary source of security an d well-being, as highest authority, and object of highest reverence and loyalty - that is, divine. Religious rituals include national anthems, loyalty oaths and pledges, and flag honors.

e) Belief that security is best maintained by use of fear - defense, deterrence.

f) Widespread glorification of war, violence, weaponry (film and TV)

1. Honors to those involved in the military in every nation - medals, stars, ranks, uniforms.

2. Respect and awe for weapons of mass destruction.

3. General acceptance of the principle of revenge/retaliation equated with "justice."

g) Belief that the pursuit of money, privilege, and power is more important than the well-being of people and environment.

These beliefs are the active ingredients in all wars. It was the combining of all these ingredients that exploded into World War I. It was the combining of all these ingredients that exploded into World War II. The fuel is at hand; these ingredients are in full readiness today.

Will the spark be set to these presently existing deadly ingredients, exploding into the greatest and final catastrophe during our lifetime, the lifetime of our children, or their children? Does it matter when?

Unless some drastic changes are made in our values - our worldwide beliefs - it will be a matter of "when," not "if."

Is it possible to make these essential changes in worldwide values before it is too late? How are social values established and how are changes made?

During the past two centuries, we have seen several major changes in attitudes and loyalties. Slavery, once accepted as reasonable (and even beneficial to slaves) has been rejected as harmful, even absolutely evil, where it once flourished. Belief that dark-skinned people were inherently inferior to light-skinned people, segregated from light-skinned society, and discriminated against in every way, was changed to a general acceptance and respect for a formerly scorned class of human beings.

The American Civil Rights Movement acted on two fronts. One was a vision of what an integrated America might be like - a desirable goal (see "I Have a Dream") of "Black and White Together." The Movement was to proceed toward this goal.

The other action front was to leave behind, reject, condemn, and resist every aspect of racial segregation. This action was to challenge and violate every law and tradition supporting segregation. The Movement presented "what we do want" together with "what we don't want."

What drew the attention of the media were actions expressing "what we don't want!" Interrupting "business as usual" was what forced millions of Americans to re-think their assessment of their dark-skinned brothers and sisters.

Today people throughout the world feel the need for security. Mistakenly, they look to national security, which becomes "national interest" for some and end of security for others. It is this faith in national security which prevents many people from taking seriously the possibility of security from an unarmed world community. Faith in national security is the "business-as-usual" that must be interrupted. Only then will the world's mainstream citizens look seriously at the need and possibility of human security in a world community - what we do want, must have.

The obstacles to world community, threats to human life and our life-sustaining environment - militarism, national sovereignty and glorifying, and the competition for wealth, privilege, and power - must, like racial segregation, now be confronted, condemned, rejected, and resisted.

While we act to resist and boycott militarism and other obstacles to world community, a major aspect of social change is to glorify the Human Family, a single over-arching world community, and the Movement to accomplish it. It is high time for us, particularly our youth, to "have a dream," to know the inspiration and excitement of reaching it.

Our only hope lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism...

Let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter - but beautiful - struggle for a new world." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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