War – A Sad State of Affairs
It confounds me how academics can take a simple topic and make it almost imperceptible with questions and not enough answers. Yet, at the same time the study of certain topics and the propaganda that revolves around such areas of understanding, or lack thereof, are essential to clearing up the misconceptions and misunderstandings that lie behind much of the world’s conflicts.
I would like to address on the simple front, the most heinous of all is propaganda. It doesn’t matter from whose mouth the words come from that incite people to violence or a war state. But there is no doubt that without the manipulation of the perception of the people any human population would be against a defense or offensive posture of any kind that would put their families at risk for a cause. Hence, every action taken by any group of people against another group must originate from a threat perceived or realized.
This is where the war machine comes to life. First to get the engines warmed up, there needs to be a perceived threat. Second, after convincing the populus of the perceived threat, then the next step in the process is to devalue the opponent. This means, dehumanizing them in one way or another. Typically, this is done through a wave of name calling, so childish, I know but this is the way it goes. Take Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin called the Ukraine a country of Nazis who were committing genocide on the Russian population within the country. If you are Russian, you feel like you should be proud and engaged to liberate those being persecuted in the Ukraine. From the other side of the fence, we hear comments thrown about of the Russian leader Putin being a madman, murderous dictator and a thug. Hence, we should all fall in line and support the defense of the Ukraine at all costs.
Now that dehumanizing of each side is accomplished, the continued massive violent initiative on both sides may continue. How exactly are both sides able to continue to fund these wars? It is done through the false transfer of value or money which is accomplished through the Central Banks that finance wars and the support of the industry which provides military grade weaponry at significant profit. With the profits humming along and the money constantly rolling in the value of human life continues to be discounted while there are people becoming wealthy on all sides by the death of our children.
It is apparent that some wars may have been legitimately entered into as an act of self-defense. However, the more common reason is that leaders with narcissist tendencies are in every level of most governments. They see people as cannon fodder and are only remotely concerned with bringing peace. As long as their own safety is not at risk, the end of the war will be nowhere in sight. Even if a war is entered into in self-defense the securing of peace with an end to violence should be the primary goal and not the subjugation of the foe.
The dehumanization is the essential part of the process to enable either party to feel no guilt at killing innocent people. This feeds the narcissist who has no empathy to begin with, and without the human order of things to set boundaries around them, where can this end?
Evil is committed by people for some personal gain of some sort. Whether it be pride, greed or power. It is committed by persons with no care for their fellow human being and are ready to get what they want at their expense. It is not a case separate from society. Society itself is to blame for continually accepting and playing the game by the rules set forth by the person in power.
Additionally, once having accepted the perceived threat and the dehumanizing of the enemy we continue to support the posture of violence. We need to say no, we are not giving you money for that! No, we are not sending our children to die for that! No, we are not giving you the power to continue to hurt other people for an unknown gain or outcome.
However, what has happened is that we the people have relinquished our powers as individuals to a large government entity in the false belief that they will take care of us. This falsehood constantly perpetrated on the masses is what keeps us in this continued global turmoil. They have power over us and often will turn our own people against us if we descent from the political will of the time.
I don’t have the solution for the world’s problems. For the USA I believe in that more power should be given to the states which would return the voice to the people. In fact, I wish that the USA could be broken up into 50 independent states with a much looser cooperation with the Federal government. However, it is too late, and this won’t happen. The politicians in the USA much like Putin in Russia, put themselves first above the people, because we are all simply just numbers. As long as their propaganda machine is working, they can influence the tide of public opinion and get the support.
It is strange that our human conditions make it so easy for us to see war as something that is happening over there, and not internalize the horrors that are being committed against other human beings just like us, that bleed when they are cut and cry when they are hurt. If only we can harness the compassion of the people worldwide to force an end to war. This should be our prayer.
The excerpt from the 1759 classic “Death: A Poetical Essay” by Beilby Porteous put it best. For a clearer understanding in our current age replace the word “Princes” with “Senators” and “Kings” with “Presidents”.
To sate the lust of power; more horrid still,
The foulest stain and scandal of our nature
Became its boast — One Murder made a Villain,
Millions a Hero. — Princes were privileg’d
To kill, and numbers sanctified the crime.
Ah! why will Kings forget that they are Men?