I heard just the tail end of this story on NPR, but I understand from what I heard that Dr. Johnson is a pacifist. Here is my problem. The underlying assumption is that if we all become pacifists, then that will further world peace. And no peace activists seem to do any empirical study on war and peace to determine what it takes to made the world more peaceful--they only seem to make assumptions-- i.e.: persuade more people to be pacifists, encourage "social justice" and "tolerance", ban gun ownership, for example. And, most disturbing:, "peace" is defined by the American peace movement as no American troops engaged in wars outside the U.S. For example, the peace movement is relatively silent now that American troops are out of Iraq and are leaving Afghanistan. The peace movement, then, appears to be based on assumptions, and, with all due respect, a certain smugness and xenophobia. I did a study a few years ago of the political violence world wide since 1946 , taking the statistics from the Center for Systemic Peace ( their website is online). Here is what I found: the number of deaths from political violence worldwide spiked in 1980, were reduced somewhat during the 1980's, increased somewhat in the 1990's (remember Rwanda and Kosovo?), and was sharply reduced in the first decade of the 21st century. I calculated that in 1980, there were 17 deaths per 100,000 worldwide, and between 2001-2007, there was less than one death per 100,000 worldwide. World Peace, by empirical measurement, was essentially achieved during the years of the Bush administration--just the opposite from what peace activists assume. I am concerned that with the violence on the African continent and the Middle East, that the statistics are rising again. But, as I said above, the peace movement is basically silent. Achieving world peace is difficult work, but the difficult work of determining what it actually takes to achieve world peace does not seem to have ever been done by peace activists. It would be good for the intellectuals in the peace movement to set aside assumptions, and to do scientific study of war and peace--even if it explodes some myths, and makes peace activists uncomfortable. After all, world peace is an incredibly important goal, and comfortable assumptions are not deserving of such a noble goal.
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