About Eliminating War
By JANE SHEVTSOV
"The idea that there will always be war is an abomination and an insult to human intelligence."
--Harry Harrison, There Won't Be War
JANE: We can eliminate war.
PETER: WHAAT? I don't believe you!
JANE: OK, I know what you're thinking. Why don't you just say it? Really, just say it: "That's utopian. It'll never work. You're an idealist. Impossible!"
PETER: (Laughing) That's utopian. It'll never work. You're an idealist. Impossible!
JANE: Got it out of your system? Now I'll ask you to temporarily suspend your disbelief. Afterwards, if you still think I'm an idiot, feel free to tell me.
JANE: I live in California. While there are many things that concern me about the state and its descriptively named governor, going to war with Nevada isn't one of them. And as much as some of us may have yearned for regime change in Florida in 2000, we didn't go in and do it. Why not? Are we all so enlightened in California that we'd never kill people, even people who really, REALLY piss us off? Of course not. Despite the proliferation of New Age spirituality and Indian gurus, you can be sure California has enough folks who would be willing to fight Nevada if the need arose. So what's going on here?
PETER: The states don't have armies or weapons or generals! Duh.
PETER: Whaddaya mean, why? They just don't!
JANE: Why don't our cities all have armies, then? It's happened before. The cities of ancient Greece fought each other all the time.
PETER: Those cities were independent.
PETER: Are you saying that we could get rid of war by building some kind of global government?
PETER: You can't do that. That's utopian.
JANE: (Chiming in) It'll never work. You're an idealist. Impossible!
PETER: But seriously, how could you do it?
JANE: Well, that's a whole other conversation. But just suppose we can do it. Imagine that world! Nobody has to die or kill in war. We wouldn't be spending all that money on the military.
PETER: How much do we spend?
JANE: Over $800 billion for the world as a whole in 2002. The US spent about $400 billion that year.
PETER: That's a lot!
JANE: Yeah, I'll say. Also, by not having a military, we would safeguard democracy. The military is the most secretive part of any government and secrecy undermines democracy. Look at much of the Third World for examples.
PETER: What about civil wars?
JANE: That's always a possibility, but you reduce the risk by not manufacturing most types of weapons and not training military personnel. Of course, the government will have to be set up so everyone is heard.
PETER: That just might work!
JANE: So, am I an idiot?
PETER: Yes, but not because of global government.
JANE: Coming from you, that's a true compliment! .
Jane Shevtsov email@example.com is an Ecology, Behavior and Evolution major at UCLA and co-founder of World Beyond Borders.
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