Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some Food for Thought…

Someone told me that violence never solved anything. If this was actually the case, then we cannot say that war pressured Heinrich Himmler to shoot Adolf Hitler in the head and claim it was suicide. We could not declare that democracy was a valid solution to the abuses of power which were perpetrated against people in the American colonies. We cannot recognize that slavery in the United States was solved, nor dispute that we are anything but individualists as a result. We could not say that the Japanese could have been repelled from their own violent attack on our country. We could not claim that tyranny was bad—we would have no freedom to do so.

Violence is an act of freedom. It is also an act of desperation. Violence is often used as the first solution, instead of the last. Violence (and the threat of it) is necessary so long as there are people who would use it against us. Violence, however regrettable, can have a positive outcome if it is used wisely and as a last resort.

But where we have the “War on…” paradigm, there can be no positive outcome.

The word “drugs” is an idea—one with power. If we ignore this power, then the War on Drugs is essentially lost. So long as we continue to propagandize the people of that war, painting them at their worst instead of as normal people who have a problem, we can never win. The only “win” in the War on Drugs is in adherence to the rules of war: are the people who use drugs our enemy? The dealers? The manufacturers? Pharmaceutical companies, which were responsible for a number of addictions because of poor labeling? Or how about the very people who declared war? Who is the enemy? There is no enemy declared; therefore, there is nobody to fight. The War on Drugs is nothing more than a propagandist pipe dream.

The word “crime” means a lot of different things to different people. On the one hand, it means something which is against the written laws of mankind. On another, there is a higher law, one which is based in the concepts of survival and benefit to our species. Often, the two are incongruous. One can commit an act which is technically within the written law, yet which is still a crime against humankind. And who do we label as criminals? Do we assume that the “bad guys” are in every corner, arrest everyone, and have them prove that they are not guilty of any crime? Or do we assume that everyone with a criminal history (such as jaywalking) is prone to do it again, and lock everyone away for life? Without a clear ability to label who the enemy is, a war cannot be fought. Just saying “criminals” doesn’t tell us whom to look for. It doesn’t say to look in the mirror.

The word “terror” is an emotional hot-button. An old adage says that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The Bushes and Clintons refused to meet with the enemies of the United States. Again, we have nothing more than a faceless idea: “terrorist organizations.” But in our War on Terror, we have inadvertently become the terrorists—equal if not superior in all ways to the atrocities which were committed against us. Our own failure to listen to the demands of these people—these jihadist Muslims of one minor sect which continues to claim power in the Middle East in the same way that racism claims power in our own country—has caused these atrocities to be planned against us. Had we but listened, the enemy of our country says that the violence could have been avoided. The demands have never been publicized as a cogent work, so we can’t say if they are reasonable or not. If we believe them to be the ravings of a madman, then our War on Terror is still unjustified.

These are all paradigms which have been started with a noble purpose. But without the full support (forced compliance?), involvement (conscription?), and moral superiority (propaganda?) of the population, there can never be a win. These are terrible things, it’s true, but we shouldn’t ever give up our freedoms in order to be safe. If we want safety, we have it within our power to take back our streets. We must go to war, and have the government’s authority to do so. This means a violent solution if no compromise is possible. Such was the provision of Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, and even Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. These people understood the cost of war. They also understood the price of apathy.

If we are unwilling to do what is necessary, perhaps we are unwilling to solve the problems which our society faces. So long as we have someone who believes that they can control others with impunity, we will always have problems. The problem is in believing that there are no consequences, or that the consequences are unimportant. There are no “little things,” because it’s all relative to what’s important to someone. Consider these “little things” which people continue to call important:

  • Cancer, which is a metabolic aberration at the cellular level.
  • Smoke, long-term inhalation of which can contribute to cancer.
  • Fire, which produces smoke.
  • Paper and dried leaves, which can keep a fire going.
  • Cigarettes, which are essentially little pieces of paper wrapped around dried leaves.

Each of these is such a little thing by itself, but it all adds up to things which can have a significant impact. This is just food for thought, and I hope at least one politician reads this and can take to heart how things may need to change.