Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Stevie Joe Ponders Peace

Just yesterday, I saw a fella wearing a t-shirt that said, "Peace Through Superior Firepower."  That got me to pondering about how I think of peace.  "Superior firepower" sure didn't fit my definition, but maybe it could.  As I sat whittling away at a branch that fell out of my Silver Linden tree (which tends to drop an awful lot of junk on my lawn, but that's another matter), it occurred to me that having military superiority could achieve peace in one of two ways.

First, you can use the threat of force to get the other party to submit to your demands.  This avoids armed conflict (and thus, preserves peace), but it does so through coercion.  This is the oppression of one party by another.  It might be the most expedient way to achieve some end, but it is still coercion.

Second, you can use actual force to create peace.  Using force in this manner is not peace in itself but a mechanism that may lead to peace.  It does this be either convincing the opposing party to surrender and submit, which gets us back to coercion as discussed above, or by eliminating the other party.  Using force to create peace in this manner is genocide.  This strategy is rarely successful as other parties will object to the genocide and intervene.

This might be what bothers me about concealed-carry gun laws.  In general, I believe that folks should just be allowed to do as they please as long as they don't bother anyone else.  Yet, the concealed-carry thing bugs me a bit.  See, folks claim that if ordinary folks can carry concealed weapons, then the bad guys will never know who might have a gun.  This may dissuade them from doing their usual bad guy stuff.  If it works, it does so through the threat of force.  Nobody has to actually shoot the gun.  They must only create the fear that someone might shoot a gun.

The downside, or the thing that bugs me, is that this requires all of us to live under this fear, this threat of force.  The lower the likelihood of someone whipping out a gun and shooting it, the calmer I am.  That's just me.  

Anyway, the difficulty in all of this is figuring out the alternative.  So, if we don't use "superior firepower" to contain our enemies, what do we do?  We have to learn to make peace.  That's what, and it's a heck of a lot harder than making war.  Making war is easy.  We're good at it.  Making peace is hard.  It's a continuous process.  Once you have a bad guy with a loyal army, it's already too late.  

Same thing with crooks.  Catching them and locking them up is simple compared to the task of preventing them from becoming crooks in the first place.  That's hard, but it's worth trying.  Same with making peace.  

I think that's what JC would do, anyway.

Peace out, 
Stevie Joe Parker