Radu Luchian(ov): Pastime: Commentary
NO to War

Normally I don't get involved in political debate. But what's happening right now in the world concerns each and every person in a way that makes ANY research or any other activity short of the most basic survival needs irrelevant. Why? Because if the world goes up in smoke or reverts to its Dark Ages European-wide state of Inquisition where freedom of speech and other modern human rights are abolished, no research will mean anything. Except for the herding-developmental-style research described in Brave New World. So during the last few weeks I've been expressing my opinions on the Firefly discussion boards. These are the main points I was making there:

10Oct2001: Violence, and it's epitome, WAR is a reality of life. Only sheep disagree with that, and sheep are always on the wolf's menu.

However, my deep conviction is that preparations for war should be only defensive. Whoever really believes that the best defense is the offensive is bound to fall into a literally vicious circle of destruction and mayhem.

Any offensive war effort is reminiscent of Disney's Beauty and the Beast scene where Gaston raises the mob for attacking the Beast.

21Jan2003: Just heard on TV that Disney decided to lock Beauty and the Beast in their vault. Hmm... I wonder what is the reason why this happened right as the US is preparing for war...

19Feb2003: My reaction to an article by George Monbiot:

Hello, Sir.

I am a PhD student in Cognitive Science at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Violence in any form is repugnant to me. And I have come to learn that it IS avoidable. Most of the time, the parties have to WANT to avoid it, and put in the necessary effort.

I received your latest article from a friend on a discussion list. Below is my slightly modified reply. I would like your comment on it, and if possible you could include these points in a future article.


Sam, thanks a lot for this message. It outlines in much better detail the principles that Robert Heinlein had discussed in "The Man Who Sold the Moon", and many of his other sci-fi books. Before Heinlein, a Canadian, A.E.vanVogt has approached the matter in the Weapon Makers of Isher, after Heinlein, Ursula K. leGuin has discussed it in The Dispossessed and the Telling... And these are just a few of my favorite books by my favorite authors.

The solutions to avoid war are out there, are discussed, analyzed, known. One can ignore them only on purpose.

Heinlein's solution was war in some of the timelines he described, religious fanaticism in others (down with knowledge and technology kind of stuff), but in most of his books, like in The Man Who Sold the Moon, he saw the nations of the Earth unloading over-accumulating capital in expanding the boundaries of the inhabitable world.

Out in space, down in the oceans, over deserts, c'mon, people there are plenty of worthwhile investments other than war!!

And with the weapon surplus, nations can treat them as businesses treat assets. Dismantle the obsolete ones and reuse the parts or at least the materials to make more up-to-date weapons if they're still childish enough to think that real power stays in the warning of destruction or application thereof. They can write down this reuse as 'keeping the peace of mind of the nation' rather than firing them in order to justify new spending.

Of course, the dillemmas of the settler are as alive now as they were in the early days of the 'barbarian' invasions or imperial colonization:

- Are citizens used with them willing to give up use of wasteful practices like oil-burning cars or reduce their electricity consumption until technologies using replenishable resources (like parafin or Hydrogen/Oxygen) are harnessed?

- Are they willing to concentrate on making useful new territories rather than invade already possessed ones?

In other words, how hypocritical are we? Why didn't the article take these points into consideration? Is it because the author thought most people won't like being faced with those dilemmas? Or are these points wrong somehow?


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