Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Taboo on Violence

Ask the average person if we live in a world that celebrates violence and/or aggression and you'll most likely find the answer is yes. People will point to the excessive amount of gratuitous violence on TV, in movies and video games, and in the sporting world. Consequently, on a superficial level, it seems that the human species is naturally a violent one.

If you share this perspective, then it appears self-evident that the chief way to solve serious international conflicts is through a military strategy. If one or more nations can't convince another that a certain action or behavior is not in the world's best interest, then there's no other choice but war.

While I won't naively suggest that there isn't a lot of violence in our society, I think that far too many people over emphasize it's supposedly inherent nature. When a natural catastrophe strikes a particular region, MOST people rush to the area to provide aid and comfort, NOT to loot the area. When MOST people find themselves in conflict with another person, they try to work out their differences peacefully, instead of resulting to violence.

Our society is built upon the foundation of nonviolence. In sports, athletes are penalized for being overly aggressive or violent. Our penal system --whether one agrees with all of its many aspects or not -- is built upon the idea of punishing people for behaving or acting in a violent manner. Our system of laws and legislation is based on the idea that reasonable people can come to rational decisions about how we can all share in the public sphere of life.

It should follow then that we should and can use nonviolent means to solve international conflicts. One organization that has taken this ideal to heart is Nonviolent PeaceForce. Their mission is
to build a trained, international civilian nonviolent peace force. The Nonviolent Peaceforce will be sent to conflict areas to prevent death and destruction and protect human rights, thus creating the space for local groups to struggle nonviolently, enter into dialogue, and seek peaceful resolution.
It's an idea whose time has come!

2 comments:

  1. Now, just image, as I've written here before, if the U.S. was to radically change it's attitude in the world and put its total support behind a group like this, to institute a cabinet-level Department of Peace here.

    Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Trey, I am addressing both postings regarding faith and violence. I think Teddy Roosevelt came nearest to getting it right when he said "Walk softly and carry a big stick" Unfortunately, we haven't been walking very softly of late. Dino

    ReplyDelete

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