Peace: The American People's Ideal
NOTE: The following is a monologue from the weekly
What sane person doesn’t want peace – peace in their communities and peace in their lives?
Absence of peace, a state of conflict, lowers our chances for a long, healthy, happy and prosperous life. Peace is something we strive for in our workplace, in our family, in our home, and yes – even in politics – although different people obviously have different methods that they believe will attain their desired peace.
The Founding Fathers thought that peace was extremely important in political thought.
James Madison, the “father of the constitution” considered war, the opposite of peace, to be a great evil when he wrote:
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.”
Thomas Jefferson, in his 1801 inaugural address also stressed peace when he said: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”
Far Different Today
Fast forward to today and the political establishment seems to care little for peace.
When Madison, Hamilton and Jay wrote the Federalist Papers, the word peace was used 75 times in a series of 85 essays arguing for ratification of the Constitution. But the current Republican establishment almost never uses it. A quick review of recent public statements and the websites of Republican presidential candidates like Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich shows that peace must be a low priority, because it almost never enters the conversation. And in the rare cases that any of these republican leaders use the word peace, they never, ever use it in the context that war is a bad idea like James Madison said – an extreme last resort that should be avoided at all costs.
And then you have a guy like Rick Santorum, who must revile the founders when he preaches with religious-fervour the message of never-ending wars and entangling alliances.
So no, republican party leaders do not favour peace.
The Peace President?
What about Barack Obama? The Nobel Peace Prize winner just announced the end of the war in Iraq – a full pullout of troops by the end of this year. Does this make him a man of peace?
I say no.
In Afghanistan, he’s more than tripled troop levels – to about 100,000 – while waging drone wars over Pakistan, Libya, and elsewhere. Nobel Peace Prizes for people dropping bombs around the world now? This must be some kind of sick joke.
Foreign policy – on both the left and right – is not something of peace, but of war. And in a time of crushing debt, James Madison’s warning rings true, if not prophetic.
Peace at home
But does peace ONLY apply to foreign policy?
Of course not.
Government in this country harasses you in nearly every step of your life. While some – if not much – of what they do just might be things you like or agree with, you know that many times you go along with them out of fear….fear of what they’ll do to you if you don’t. This is not a state of peace, this is a state of compliance, and nothing more.
When the TSA expands its rights-violating practices to highways around Tennessee, you aren’t given an option. You are told to comply, or else. Is this a state of peace?
Is it peace when a cancer patient in California has her home invaded by federal agents because the plant she chooses to grow and consume at home is not approved by politicians and bureaucrats in DC?
Is it peace when armed federal agents raid local businesses because they don’t approve of the type of milk they sell, or the wood they use for musical instruments, or a host of other regulations designed to “protect” you – whether you want them to or not?
Is it peaceful to tell someone they have to purchase a healthcare plan or face a penalty? To accept the notion that government has the power to spy on just about anyone without a warrant? To force you to pay taxes under threat of imprisonment to bail out crooked corporations that have been ripping you off?
I charge that the political establishment hates peace. They recognize that peace is the greatest roadblock to all their goals, and at every turn possible they issue threats while they sow disharmony, fear and conflict.
Peace can start with you, my fellow Americans
They can only get away with this as long as their message of hate and fear rings true with you. As long as you hate enemies – real or imagined – they will use your hatred to clamp down on your freedom. As long as you fear the outcomes of freedom – real or imagined – they will use your fear to regulate and control you – eliminating peace in your life in the process.
But…things that can’t go on forever…. don’t.
And sooner or later those who love war both overseas and here at home will crumble under the weight of a great people who decide to throw away the chains of fear, and hate, and war – and decide that a society of liberty and peace is far better – and easily achieved.
For as a wise person once said, “Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.”
About the writer:
Michael Boldin [send him email] is the executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, advocating decentralization of power on everything from guns to weed, and everything in between. Follow him on Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn.
NOTE: The following is a monologue from the weeklyTenther Radio show. Listen to the audio version here.