I don't want to kill people, or see people get killed or injured. However, choosing the most benevolent behavior to implement my wishes is a little more complicated than being for or against the war in Iraq.
Each of my behaviors throughout my life has resulted in some increase or decrease in the number of people killed or injured. When I had to choose between protesting the war in Vietnam, and behavior which made cars safer, I chose auto safety research because I could reduce the number of deaths and injuries more that way than by successfully protesting and ending the war.
Our leaders, when faced with a similar choice in the Balkan conflict, compared the people killed and injured if they did not fight, to the people killed and injured if they did. It was an example where TV was on the Hawk's side.Today in Iraq we are faced with a similar choice. Except it is much easier to count the people being killed in a televised war, than to count the "people who will be killed" (possibly world wide) if Saddam Hussein is left alone with his billions to build and plant radio or biohazard weapons in the world's cities.
Iraq is not the first time we have had to choose between "kill people now" or "suffer a larger number of deaths later." Germany during 1936-38 could have been preemptively struck to prevent its weapons buildup. Facing the same political climate as we now face in Iraq, world leaders did not act. In hindsight, choosing to bomb some industrial plants and their civilian employees, could have prevented some 20 million deaths in W.W.II.Choosing the "most" benevolent behavior is difficult. How one performs the analysis bias' the choice and the number of deaths. The peaceniks in their analysis include the "immediate deaths" and ignore any "maybe deaths" in the future. The Hawks underestimate the immediate deaths and include "those saved from death" stemming from the worst predictions of Saddam Hussein gone crazy.
Both the Hawks and the Peaceniks' views may be doing the "choice of most benevolent behavior" a disservice. The immediate deaths from this war, or the deaths caused by an unchecked Hussein are both trivial when compared with the future deaths and injuries caused by the seemingly benign collected personal behaviors of six billion people.
For example, I drive my car to work like many others, and as a result some farmer, who cannot afford the gas for his irrigation pump, dies of starvation.
Six billion people are completely oblivious to the results of their collected behaviors which initiate an unending and ever increasing scarcity among future members of their community. And this leads to ever increasing and unending conflict.
If we want ever increasing global peace, isn't this the problem on which we should focus. Shouldn't we stop wasting our precious time and energy resolving the serial conflicts that have filled human history.
When are we going to realize that it is less important to be "for" or "against" the Iraq war, and more important to understand how the Hawks and Peaceniks (present and past) can be so distracted as to not see the bigger systemic problem within the human condition.
Humankind's most pressing problem is we don't know the difference between two behaviors -- one of which is 500 times more benevolent than the other.
We don't have the (cognitive) capacity at the individual level to stop making the conditions of scarcity that have always driven human communities into conflict.
This blindness, remaining in place, will injure a much larger number of people in the future than any war has in the past. This blindness hides alternative behaviors which would stop scarcity and thus, once and for all, stop the forces that move social groups to conflict.
This blindness prevents "the deaths resulting in the future from today'sbehaviors, from influencing the selection of those behaviors. And finally it is this blindness that lets us be passionate hawks and doves and miss any opportunity to save a much larger number of lives.
I am for peace. However, stopping the war in Iraq is like squeezing a pimple on a face full of acne just before going to a dance. It might seem like a step in the right direction. It might even feel good for a moment.
But lets keep it in perspective relative to the systemic conflict-creating behaviors within the human condition and the changes in these behaviors which would create trends toward an ever increasing peace. before going to a dance. It might seem like a step in the right direction. It might even feel good for a moment.
But lets keep it in perspective relative to the systemic conflict-creating behaviors within the human condition and the changes in these behaviors which would create trends toward an ever increasing peace.