You wish the world could be completely peaceful, and so do I. There, now that we've got that out of the way, we can work our way back to the real world, almost, and talk about the upcoming World Peace Forum in Vancouver,Canada, which begins this Friday and runs through June 28.
Here's the basic description of the event from their website:
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The mission of the Forum is to create a global culture of peace. This is how we propose to implement our mission:
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This all has the makings of some bumper sticker slogans that are sure to be adorning hybrids everywhere in the coming year, but after that we're still stuck with vastly differing perspectives.
For example, I thought the U.S. did have a ''Department of Peace,'' and it's called the ''military.'' And who busted those would-be terrorists in Toronto before they fulfilled their sick dreams and killed who knows how many, perhaps including, heaven forbid, peace activists? The world has yet to see a single tin pot wingnut or murderous thug brought down by a bumper sticker, picket sign or bed-in.
The peace activist also has an inability, or more accurately put, an unwillingness, to target the message to the proper market. Consider Yoko Ono, wife of John Lennon, peace activist, and "singer" whose shriek is the mating call of the Tinnitus Warbler.
In 2003, Ono rented a billboard in London, which read: ''Imagine all people living life in peace.'' Now that cashiers at Piccadilly Square gift shops and bellboys at The Conrad have read the message, is the world that much closer to eliminating the threat of war?
Why don't peace activists hold their events and display their billboards not in Canada, London or New York, but in places where they can preach to the sinners instead of the choir? How about Tehran, Beijing, Pyongyang, Mogadishu and in the backyards of drug cartels? Because pacifists are bright enough to realize it's incredibly dangerous to espouse pacifism outside walls heavily guarded by that which pacifists stand firmly opposed.
This is why peace forums will always be held in nations that, for the most part, have been historically smart enough to not base any policy whatsoever on the advice of the kind of people who go to peace forums.
When I was a kid, a rudimentary economic idea sprang to mind: If everybody worked for free, everything would be free. This brief flirtation with quasi-Marxist/Leninist/Idiotarian philosophy at the age of around ten exited my head at the speed at which it arrived.
Why? Because I realized how stupid it was at the same moment it occurred to me. Even then, I knew that if everything were free, nobody would work. Heck, it's hard enough to get some people to work even when everything is expensive.
Pacifism is a similar belief, because it's simply not possible in the real world. The simple truth is this: Thanks to wars, we're free to pursue pacifism.
Whenever I write about pacifism, I get letters from readers saying that pacifists have less to do with "world peace," and more to do with pushing communist, Marxist-Leninist, or some wacky off-shoot thereof, political agendas. If this is true, then those particular pacifists are among the biggest warmongers of them all, because totalitarian regimes spend "Paris Hilton on a shopping spree''-sized dollars on militarizing everything to the point where even their cats and dogs are goose-stepping to the tune of "It's hip to be Tiananmen Square."
If there's something that should be gleaned from the past, it's that the idea of global peace in the absence of sane strength is, in reality, a dangerous goal and should be considered (by anybody interested in retaining their breathing privileges for any length of time) in the same way you'd enter "Pat and Teddy K's Driving School": with extreme skepticism and trepidation.