Archive for July 1st, 2009

Questions On The Subject Of “Peace”

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

What – exactly – is “Peace?” Is it simply the absence of war, as in the Paxes Romana and Britannica, in which mighty military powers enforced their wills on subjugated colonies? The “Cold War,” that delicate balancing act between the USSR and USA – was that “Peace?” After all, we weren’t shooting at each other. (At least not directly – both sides usually let their proxies do the actual fighting.)

Those protesters in the streets of Teheran this very day – do they hate “Peace” so much that they are willing to be beaten and shot as rioters (“breakers of the peace”)? Or, just maybe, are they actually seeking something very similar to what we wanted in 1776?

As every schoolchild used to be taught – we were looking for Justice. We held “these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Isn’t that really what makes an otherwise peace-loving people rise up in protest? Isn’t the desire for Justice, and those rights and freedoms associated with it, that lead non-warlike people to rethink their attitude toward conflict?

William T. Sherman declared that “War is Hell.” And no doubt it is. But does that make War inherently evil? Without War, our Eastern Seaboard would still belong to England. Without War, the Great Southwest, from Texas to California, would be part of Mexico, which – without War – would still be a province of Spain. Without the blood of free men, Slavery would still be legal in this country, and Americans of African descent would be – in the eyes of the law – 3/5 of a person.

As we enter this July 4th weekend, I hope we will remember that it was not Peace that gave us the liberties we celebrate, it was our willingness to fight and – if necessary – die. Righteous warriors, not seeking conquest or fame, won something infinitely greater: Justice and Liberty.

So by all means love the idea of “Peace.” Just don’t confuse it with Justice. And, even if you hate the idea of War, whatever you do, don’t condemn the warriors who fight for that noble cause today. At least, don’t do it in my presence. Or you will find “Peace” to be conspicuously absent.

God bless America. God bless our troops. God bless all people everywhere for whom Justice and Liberty are unalienable rights of humankind. Have a great 4th of July!