Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, April 8, 2017 - Peace is Everywhere

It may be a tough pill to swallow, especially with all that has gone on recently in the world, but the fact is there is more peace in this world than war. To be accurate, a lot more. We are currently in the most peaceful time in the the history of known human civilization. Despite the amount of violence we see in the media, which somehow seems to only increase over time, we find the message is grossly disproportionate to reality. There has actually been a steady decrease in violence occurring over the past several centuries. The last hundred years or so show an enormous reduction in particular.
The US is currently experiencing the lowest homicide rate in over a hundred years even though the population has tripled in that time. In the lab, if you put too many rats in a box disease and conflict step in to level out the population. Nature finds a balance. Yet as humans grow in number we are expanding in peace.
However, peace does not lead the news. A 52-year-long conflict in Colombia ended last August. Did you notice it? Did you see it on the mainstream news? No. Amid the US presidential election with all its emails and crotch-grabbing a tremendous moment for world peace occurred. There should have been a celebration. With the end of that conflict the entire western hemisphere knew peace for the first time. Ever. Columbia was the last remaining armed military conflict in the western hemisphere. After four years of negotiations between the government and rebels a permanent ceasefire was established. But hardly anyone even mentioned it.
Since 1989 the has been a curiously dramatic increase in efforts to secure the world according to the Human Security Report Project, despite the statistical reduction of need for such security. Why? Because, frankly, it is more profitable for world leaders to be at war. Peace democratizes the economy naturally. When everyone is happy they give their money to each other, not them. The threat of war authorizes billions in military spending faster than the threat of a blizzard sends New Englanders to the grocery store, whether the threat is real or imaginary. Fear is the literal engine of the wealth gap. It’s easy for the rich to make money from war. But the violence needs to remain front and center at all times to keep that machine going.
Yes, the violence we see in the news is real, mostly, but it’s filtered through biases from both sides of every argument. It’s glorified by those who are best served by its continued existence which only gives violence more room to grow. It’s so very easy to use fear to guide people. Fear is an easy message to launch but the outcomes are hard to control. Things have a tendency to get out of hand and begin to work against the powers who launch them.
Tyranny does not seem to be very popular these days in case you haven’t noticed. We are witnessing widespread revolt against tyranny around the world. We are so used to the revolution we forget to notice that we are winning it.

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