Dr. R. L. Wysong's Blog -
OBAMA PEACE PRIZE MEANS MORE OF SAME
The Nobel Peace Prize decision was made just a few days after Mr. Obama had been in office. Clearly the committee was thinking about something other than actual results. In his acceptance speech, President Obama graciously conceded that the prize was less about his accomplishments and more about hope.
During his campaign, Mr. Obama inspired many, including the Norwegians, with promises about hope, change, and peace. He said he would conduct a foreign policy of penance in contrition for America's "sins." He has also taken a conciliatory tone toward Islam and third world imperialist leaders. Evidently this was enough music to the ears of the Norwegian committee to grant the epochal Prize.
If the Nobel committee reflects world thinking, it would mean America was wrong in going to war to stop the tyrannical Saddam who was murdering and torturing hundreds of thousands. It would mean that there should be no war against Islamic terrorists. It also means that talk and promises speak louder than actions when it comes to getting prizes.
Being “for peace” has a sonorous moral tone to it, giving its advocates an appearance and sense of superiority over the “war mongers.” But that smugness is not deserved since everyone wants peace. Wanting peace is not the issue, how to get it is.
Islamic terrorists want peace too. Converting the world to Islam or blowing themselves up is their way of achieving it. They also believe in talk... for a bit. The infidels are quoted to from the Q’uran and given a chance to recant and convert. If that doesn’t work, then Islam takes action using blood and horror to achieve its definition of peace.
Billions of people through time have followed books (the Bible and Q’uran) they believe were written by a God that commands them to kill infidels if talking does not do. (Actually, the Old Testament Hebrews did little talking at all, they just marched in and slaughtered the unbelievers. Although this part of “God’s word” is ignored by modern Judeo-Christians, the orders still stand.) What are those who do not wish to believe that the creator of the universe wrote a book to do? Just talk, hope, and, to use the current phrase du jour, “mutually respect” religions that spawn terrorism, subjugation of women, and beheadings?
The condemnation of past American military actions assumes that peace can be accomplished by means other than force. Ideally, that would be true. Realistically it is not. No problem has ever been fixed that ignores reality by focusing on what should be rather than what is. Yes there should be peace. Yes, there should never be violence. But that is not our world.
As discussed in my book, Living Life As If Thinking Matters, there is a fundamental reality ignored by idealists. That ignoring is more like an ignorance of what stands in the way of peace: People have free will. As long as that is the case—which is as long as we remain human—there will be those who wish to impose their will on others. That is reality. You beating me up and stealing my money might be peaceful for you, but it sure isn’t for me.
We can talk, teach, and admonish about the golden rule until we’re blue in the face. And we should. But some people will still behave badly. That’s a fact as true and predictable as the law of gravity. It’s a reality we must face that stands as a roadblock to there ever being universal, willing, and spontaneous peace. If talk and good intentions were all that were necessary for peace, the mountain of soothing words and good intentions piled up through the ages would have long ago had utopia sitting atop it.
Let’s take peace out of the ephemeral big picture arena of the “world,” where everyone just seems to like to jaw about it. In microcosm, our day-to-day lives contain the same free will problems we see on the global stage. How do we achieve peace in our homes, neighborhoods, and cities? With words about peace and pacifism? Hardly. The only thing that works is the rule of law and the power to enforce it. Unfortunately, too many in our world are not sufficiently advanced intellectually or ethically to behave themselves because they should. They do so only because of fear of penalty or punishment.
No city in the world functions without the constraints of weapon-wielding police and a legal and penal system. Where the bad guys either don’t get killed or go to prison, there emerges a dog-eat-dog anarchy where nobody gets to enjoy peace. Who would choose to live in such a place? No one. But somehow it is “peaceful” and progressive to preach the virtue of unconstraint over constraint. This leads to the present Nobel Prize winning philosophy of accommodating state leaders who murder, torture, rape, plunder resources, and repudiate the idea of liberty for citizens.
When the crime and murder rate increase in a city, only one thing stops it: War upon the criminals. Likewise, the city of the world can have no hope for peace without law and enforcement, even war.
Stopping bad people is not immoral, it is moral. If I know somebody is going to break into my neighbor’s home and brutalize the family, and I have the power to stop it, I must do so. How then can it be reasoned that if we know a tyrant and sadist in a country is breaking into citizen’s homes and brutalizing them, that we should simply stand by and watch—in the name of peace and “mutual respect”? Although a “policeman of the world” is always spoken of in the pejorative, the reality is that there must be one if peace is to have any hope. America’s actions to liberate people from oppression deserve praise and thanks, not apologies.
Although it is a joke to say, “I’d kill for a Peace Prize,” is such violence not what is often required for peace? The Peace Prize should be granted to those who take action and make the sacrifices to stop tyranny, not to those who simply proclaim the obvious, namely that there should be peace and there should be no war.
In a recent blog in my newsletter (free subscription at AsIfThinkingMatters.com) I made the argument that peace can only be achieved by enforcing the rights of all world citizens to live in freedom. If force is necessary to accomplish that, then that is the hard moral choice that must be made. Those who act to save others can show no greater love. And love, the desire to join with one another, is what peace is made of.
Other than force, there is only one way to achieve peace. It is exactly opposite to what President Obama was awarded the Peace Prize for. It is opposite to the prevailing naïve notion that there is no underlying truth in the universe, that we are all just an agglomeration of the Periodic Table, a mere chemical accident of no more consequence than a stone.
As discussed in Solving The Big Questions As If Thinking Matters (addressing the issues of where did we come from, why are we here, and where are we going?), the popular materialistic/evolutionary premise of intelligentsia and nation states, creates the mindset that we can wing it as we go. This leads to the humanistic naiveté of accommodation and ecumenism: your belief and faith are as valid as mine. If everyone’s beliefs are equally valid, there can never be any hope for a coming together. There can be no peace in a sea of equally legitimate but vying and antagonistic beliefs. Where they clash—and there is no point to holding a belief if you do not feel it superior to another, particularly if God gave it to you—too often only force and violence can settle the differences.
Back to reality. There IS an underlying truth in the universe. Just because we don’t know it fully does not mean it does not exist. There is a truth about where we came from, where matter and the laws governing it came from, why we are here, and where we are going.
No, we are not really free to believe whatever we wish. Beliefs cause actions, and actions are what cause starvation, poverty, environmental destruction, tyranny, and war. We are ethically obliged to search for truth (reality) using an open mind, reason, science, facts, and experience—the things of reality. There can be nothing as sacred as facts; nothing as evil as ignoring them. Unexamined beliefs and faiths should not be tolerated. Smiling and nodding at every imaginable cockamamie idea anyone wants to come up with is the problem, the impediment to peace, not the solution. That is what guarantees more of the same — endless warring.
Science, facts, and reality demonstrate that we are something other than a byproduct of a Precambrian volcanic burp. (Proven in detail in the above book.) We have free will that can get us into dutch, but also implanted within each of us is a conscience that needs no tutoring and that yearns for truth, justice, and peace.
What peace we do have on Earth is due to obedience to law. We must turn from the silly notion of medals for tolerance, to the enlightened idea of obedience to truth and conscience. Only then will spontaneous peace without compulsion have true hope.
Thinking Thought — "From a psychological perspective, it is true that humans, as conscious conceptual beings, are believing entities. Psychological health is predicated on belief in one's self and in one's capacity to use one's mind to know truth, to reason, to make accurate and beneficial judgments, etc. It is also true that man, as a social being, wants and needs to believe in something larger than himself. These beliefs and abilities are the basis of survival, mental health, community, human advancement of all kinds, and personal happiness and fulfillment. The object of man's belief/faith in something larger than himself does not however have to be based on myth. It should also not be based on the fear caused through learned ignorance. It should rather be based on a set of universal ethical principles that are beneficial to all." — Unknown
Thinking Word — du jour- \d-zhr-d\ Click for pronunciation -adjective: Prepared for a given day, Most recent; current. The soup du jour is cream of potato. (Also see usage in blog above)