Chapter 11 -- Taking Preventive Action

Once again Paul changed his employment. He decided to work for an organization dedicated to professional education. His better-paying position enabled him to devote more time to his compulsion. He realized that the implementation of new ideas affecting national policy will require political changes. He decided to become more involved in national politics, to learn what is involved in gaining power in a democracy. His residence in a suburban Washington, D.C. was ideal for this purpose.

Paul's initial effort was in observing a presidential transition campaign. He spent some time at the headquarters of the president-elect. He saw the various committees getting ready to formulate and implement the new programs of the new administration. He glimpsed the hordes of hopeful office holders and consultants besieging the entrance to the building, trying to gain admittance to the new power holders. What impressed him most was the chaotic nature of the enterprise. Here was the mighty republic, the strongest economic and military power on Earth. But the new administration spent so much of its energies on winning the election that it had little time to think about actually running the government. The reason for the many economic and social problems of the nation became obvious. There was political mismanagement on a grand scale, caused by lack of preparedness for the tasks ahead.

Paul continued to think about national and world problems in his spare time. His job was demanding on his energies, but he continued to make progress. By the time the next presidential election came, he was ready to play a bigger role. He volunteered to help the campaign of the challenger to the most powerful office of the world. This time he saw the inside of a presidential campaign organization, with its complex activities. The initial effort of the organization was focused on gaining enough delegates for the nomination. It was a huge numbers game, with actual and potential delegates nominated, elected and counted. Everything was controlled by the complex calendar of the delegate elections of the 50 states of the Union. The media converted the entire process into a horse race, until the other contenders gradually dropped out.

Following the nomination the election campaign started. The winning candidate madly rushed around the country. New government programs were announced and policies proposed. These were not in accordance with the public or national interest, but primarily for their effect on public opinion polls. Paul now finally understood why so many obviously unsound policies were followed by the government of the United States. It surprised him to see how little effort was devoted to the issues and problems of the nation during the quest for the highest office of the Republic. No wonder the public was becoming disillusioned by the process. Since the end of the war fewer and fewer voters bothered to participate in the elections for the presidency.

His education completed, Paul was now ready to take action. He formed a non-profit organization -- the American Peace Consortium -- to help the development of new ideas for world peace. His new ideas were structured into a coherent whole, based on management principles, military strategy and alternative futures. A systematic approach to reaching world peace was completed. As the world situation remained precarious, with the continuation of the arms race and the proliferation of global problems, it became obvious that new policy initiatives were needed. There was a growing awareness that real national security required both military and economic power. And economic might is based on a well-functioning, ordered society.

The times were also becoming right for new initiatives. Paul's work with systems made him realize the feasibility of peace. Wars, natural disasters and man-made catastrophes have been around since time immemorial. The actual and potential dangers of war vastly increased after World War II. But very little was done to reduce the threat of nuclear war between the two superpowers.

During the Cold War the obstacles to world peace were very formidable. Peace was possible but, given the political realities of the U.S.-Soviet confrontation, not very likely. With the arrival of the new Soviet leadership, Paul realized that "Peace Is Feasible." Because of new economic and political priorities, both superpowers needed at least a suspension of the uncontrolled arms race. Given the huge accumulation of national and world problems, the need for new thinking and innovative approaches was becoming urgent. A tremendous amount of resources -- knowledge, capital, natural -- were available for problem solving. And humanity's instinct for survival always provided the motivation needed for action.

Flying offered a good example of the difference between "possibility" and "feasibility." Men knew -- by observing birds and insects -- that flying by humans was possible. Flying by humans became feasible with the understanding of the principles of aerodynamics and the invention of the internal combustion engine. Similarly, a structure of world peace could be constructed once such an effort became feasible.

Paul's also had to discover a workable model to the peace system he tried to construct. Such a solution came to him because of his work with the study of the future. He realized that war and the practice of militarism is a social institution. It was invented by people to fill a certain need, and was not a preordained part of human culture.

Excerpt from Social Inventions by Stuart Conger
War as a Social Institution

An understanding of social inventions and institutions is absolutely essential, if we wish to understand war and militarism, and the steps we might take to abolish war.

A social invention is a new organization, procedure or law, or a combination of these, that changes the ways in which people relate to themselves or to each other, either individually or collectively. A successful and widely accepted social invention eventually becomes a social institution, and an accepted part of everyday existence.

Human progress was marked by the continuous development of social institutions. Successful social inventions enabled the better functioning of human societies. For example, some of these social institutions provided the fundamental structures for government: legislatures, codes and courts of law, taxation, political parties, civil service, freedom of the press. Other social inventions formalized human relationships, like marriage, divorce, adoption; or provided valuable services that helped to get along in an increasingly complex society: schools, universities, libraries, hospitals.

An interesting aspect of social inventions and organizations is the fact that most of the social inventions were made quite a while ago, some of them going back to prehistoric times. Although the twentieth century was marked by an incredible large number of technical inventions, relatively few social inventions were made. Thus many of the social problems date back to biblical times, and are not handled better now than during the age of the prophets.

Not all social institutions are beneficial. Harmful or immoral social institutions include organized crime, dueling, trial by ordeal, slavery. Some of these failed social institutions persisted into the 19th century. (For example, trial by battle wasn't officially abolished in England until 1819. It took a great Civil War in the U.S. to terminate slavery.)

If we examine war as a social institution, we find a mixture of benefits and costs. While the roots of war go back to prehistoric times, formal citizen armies emerged about 3000 B.C., in the city-state of Sumer. Professional soldiers and armies, for long-distance campaigns, were formed about 2100 B.C. in Babylon. While much suffering was caused by wars and militarism, on the balance civilizations and countries that were successful in waging wars had a tendency to survive, while their losing opponents tended to disappear. Thus the rise of the United States was strongly facilitated by some victorious wars and campaigns. Only the tremendous increase in the lethality of weapons makes war such an unacceptable social institution as we are reaching the end of the 20th century.

The questions remains: Can war be abolished as a failing social institution? The advent of nuclear weapons and the tremendous increase in the lethality of chemical, biological and the so-called conventional weapons certainly made war a practice that should be discarded as soon as feasible. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of the concept of social inventions -- that new institutions and practices can be developed to replace inadequate ones. There is also a misconception on the part of many that war and violence are ingrained in human nature and behavior, and therefore must be accepted as inevitable.

The abolition of slavery is certainly a good example of abolishing a major social institution. Slavery existed as long as war. The U.S. Constitution recognized slavery, and elaborate precautions were set up in the South to make it a viable institution. Yet the institution was abolished, mainly because gradually a significant portion of the American electorate turned against it. A ready alternative to slavery was available in the form of emancipation.

Abolishing of organized warfare and violence will be more difficult. War is a much more practiced social institution, and the constituency for its continuation -- both active and passive -- is much more sizeable. Developing new social inventions will be very challenging. What makes the task feasible is that the motivation -- the wish for human survival -- is greater than it was for the abolition of slavery.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead succinctly summarized the conditions for the successful abolition of war:

"The people must recognize the defects of the old invention, and someone must make a new (and better) one...There is further needed a belief that social invention is possible..."

One additional task remained. It was also necessary to evaluate the best alternatives in deciding between war and peace. Because of his experiences Paul was strongly predisposed against war and militarism. He felt that war was an immoral social institution. But there had to be realistic reasons as well to justify the radical action of abolishing war. Fortunately a science already existed to assist in the making of the right decisions in public affairs, such as the different levels of military preparedness. He spent some time in understanding the field of policy analysis.

Paul learned that policy analysis is defined as the "process of examining goals, means and relationships in order to achieve the most effective, efficient and equitable governmental decisions." Policy analysis included the systematic identification of a set of goals to be achieved, the alternatives for achieving them the relationships between goals and alternatives, and finally some method of scoring so that the various alternatives could be ranked and selected. Simple computer technologies were available to assist in this process.

Paul gained the assistance of the leading public policy analyst expert in laying out the various national security alternatives that were available to the United States. He was reassured to learn that his gut feeling about war -- that it was an immoral social institution that had to be abolished -- was indeed the best national policy available to America.

The Abolition of War as Public Policy by Dr. Seymour Nadel
(Extracted from The Peacemaker )

The "War and Peace Policy Alternatives" table (Exhibit A) gives an overview of the principal arms control policy options and the appropriate evaluation factors:

a. Burden on Economy. Military preparations are expensive, and they divert taxes and resources from the economy.

b. Avoidance of Nuclear War. A very significant factor, since a nuclear exchange of any magnitude would cause tremendous damage to our society and economy.

c. Avoidance of Being Conquered. Since Americans rightfully want to enjoy their freedoms, this is a very important goal.

d. Solve National and World Problems. Many of our national problems can only be solved by new federal funds, now badly depleted by our huge defense expenditures and the continuing budget deficit. In addition, as the leading economic power, we should be making a substantial contribution to the solving of world problems as well.

e. Political and Technical Feasibility. Any policy option should be acceptable to the citizens and political leadership of our democratic nation. In addition, the physical possibility of the policy option must be considered, taking into account the state of scientific and engineering knowledge.

f. Moral Values. The morality of policy options should be considered in the making of evaluations.

The table organizes the policy options and assigns a value to each of the related goals. Finally, the individual Policy Action/Goal values are summarized, to yield a total value measurement for the policy options. Using the methodology, the higher the value, the better the policy option. For example, encouraging a total nuclear war has a very low value, since it would destroy the very things we want to protect.

The detailed discussion of the policy options follows:

The Atlantic Charter of 1941 spelled out the war aims of the United States and Great Britain. In the document two great statesmen, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, speaking on the behalf of democracy, affirmed that "all the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons, must come to the abandonment of the use of force." Forty-nine years later these words are more applicable than ever. Of course, the great world religions always supported, for spiritual reasons, the abandonment of force and violence. It should reassure the concerned citizens of the Republic that realistic reasons -- based on the cold facts of the economy, military technology, the state of our society and the global environment -- also strongly support the moral and spiritual reasons for the abolishing of war. Just as "honesty is the best policy," so is the abolition of war and militarism the best national policy alternative.

Paul still had to persuade some of his associates that working for "peace" only was no longer sufficient. Ambrose Bierce in his The Devil's Dictionary well stated: "Peace in international affairs is an interval of cheating between two periods of fighting." Historically, peace was only a truce between wars. Probably the best modern example was the Peace Treaty of Versailles after World War I. Under its terms Germany yielded territory, agreed to pay reparations and was allowed to keep an army of only 100,000 soldiers, with no tanks or military planes. The "peace" treaty was solemnly signed and institutionalized through the League of Nations. But the warmaking potential of Germany remained, and 20 years later the truce erupted into World War II. Those who work only for peace delude themselves. Just as liberty could not coexist with the social institution of slavery, peace cannot coexist with the social institution of war and militarism. War -- and preparations for war -- became a cancer of society. Only radical surgery -- the abolition of war -- could restore humanity to health.


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