Apr 09, 2003
The Most Important Thing That Must Come from This War:
The Great Debate
Any war, by definition and result, is full of human tragedy. The current Gulf War is no exception. It is, and will be, full of human pain and heart-rending suffering. War is the last resort of human dialogue to resolve different visions of life and self-interest. The best that can be hoped for from it is that some transcendent values will be clarified through it that will make peace longer and more meaningful. Failing that, if this values clarification does not happen, war is simply hell unleashed on earth.
In this war, some would say, for multiple reasons, that the most important thing is the removal of Saddam Hussein. Some would say that it is about limiting the weapons of mass destruction. Some would say it is a definitive step in the war against terrorism. Others would say that it is "really" about greed for future economic advantage or protecting current oil contracts involving the United States, France, and others. The old left coalition says it's about U.S. imperialism and its linkage to a host of other fatal flaws in the American Dream. I say, while it touches all these things, it is, at bottom, about something that both incorporates and transcends them-it is about history pushing to have the great debate we have put off for so long, to all our hurt.
Whether it be caused by cowardice, stupidity, "spiritual warfare," or all of the above, the modern world is a collective stomach full of massive indigestion, periodically belching, but as yet unable to throw up all the turmoil and confusion within it. We desperately need a release and a convulsion, and may God grant us in His mercy this "gift" out of the current conflict. We need to put on the table and talk about a host of core issues which until this point largely have been controlled and "finessed" by the powers that be and the rhetoric which guarantees confusion because it plays to media ratings and the current climate of political correctness.
Trapped in the trenches of the current left-right political game, unaware or unwilling to disclose people's basic assumptions or presuppositions about the nature of life and reality behind their arguments, we continue to be victimized by a parade of superficiality, bromides, and playing-to-the-crowd analysis. I say, may this war serve us all by making the deaths on both sides of the battlefield carry true meaning. Let's talk. Here are just a few of the major issues we must carry to the national and international discussion.
12 Important Questions
1. Does life have moral or spiritual absolutes and, if so, what are they? Is a commitment to no absolutes in itself an absolute?
2. What does the word "freedom" mean?
3. In what way are all people "equal" and if they are, does that mean equal in terms of "rights" and "responsibilities"?
4. Do nations have the right to govern themselves or is a "one-world international government" the goal toward which humanity should strive?
5. Is the United Nations or the European Union an unstated, but hoped for, step in the direction of "one-world"?
6. Are the poor always "right" and "oppressed" and in poverty because they are victims of the "rich"? What causes poverty?
7. Why are the American universities and the American media so predominantly filled with those of the "political left" persuasion, as virtually all studies have shown?
8. Is capitalism inherently flawed and evil?
9. Can and does racism go both ways, and since it is evil, how is it recognized, repented for, and eradicated?
10. How are jobs created, and what do we do to stimulate private investment to help create them?
11. For Americans, when will we say "enough" to being the world's whipping boy for all that is wrong on the planet?
12. For Americans, when will we see that our cultural invasion of the rest of the world, with the attendant assumption that "our ways are best for everyone," will continue to plague us until it is acknowledged, reviewed, and repented for?
That list would make a good start. Or maybe we would all rather publicly play games, live in platitudes, and head toward bigger wars? That is the bottom line.
[Ed. Note: Dennis Peacocke has a new book; The Emperor Has No Clothes, which features commentaries on the above issues published over the last 15 years. It is on my reading list for Spring/Summer 2003. Visit the above link to order for just $9.95.]