The View From 1776

Darwinian Evolution and Peace at Any Price

The peace movement is today’s replay of liberals’ love affair with the Soviet Union, which was, from 1917 until the 1950s, their hope for world peace and justice.

Learning nothing from the bitter disappointment of Soviet brutality, American liberals are once again entranced by the chimera of world peace and harmony that they identify with socialism. 

18th century French Revolutionary philosophers created the theatrical stage for the peace illusion.  They taught that private property, which implies some people being richer than others, is the root of all social evil.  Theoretically there will no longer be conflict, crime, or wars when everyone has equal access to all of the world’s goods and services.

The peace illusion is further colored by the 19th century doctrine of Darwinian evolution.  Peace movement votaries believe that United States actions in World War II, the Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East have prevented the advent of world peace, because those actions worked against the evolution of “peaceful” collectivist force.

Johan Galtung, the originator of today’s international peace movement, demands that the United States cease thwarting evolutionary survival of the “fittest” military and political powers, those who can conquer and subjugate the United States

In The Peace Racket on the City Journal website, Bruce Bawer writes:

If the U.S. and the U.K. oppose a dangerous development, in [Galtung’s] view, we?re causing trouble?Milosevic, Saddam, and Osama are just the way the wind is blowing. Galtung?s kind of thinking leads inexorably to the conclusion that one should never challenge any tyrant. Fittingly, he urged Hungarians not to resist the Soviet Army in 1956…

Mr. Bawer continues:

We need to make two points about this movement at the outset. First, it?s opposed to every value that the West stands for?liberty, free markets, individualism?and it despises America, the supreme symbol and defender of those values. Second, we?re talking not about a bunch of naive Quakers but about a movement of savvy, ambitious professionals that is already comfortably ensconced at the United Nations, in the European Union, and in many nongovernmental organizations. It is also waging an aggressive, under-the-media-radar campaign for a cabinet-level Peace Department in the United States. Sponsored by Ohio Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich (along with more than 60 cosponsors), House Resolution 808 would authorize a Secretary of Peace to ?establish a Peace Academy,? ?develop a peace education curriculum? for elementary and secondary schools, and provide ?grants for peace studies departments? at campuses around the country. If passed, the measure would catapult the peace studies movement into a position of extraordinary national, even international, influence.

...Peace studies initiatives may train students to be social workers, to work in churches or community health organizations, or to resolve family quarrels and neighborhood disputes. At the movement?s heart, though, are programs whose purported emphasis is on international relations. Their founding father is a 77-year-old Norwegian professor, Johan Galtung, who established the International Peace Research Institute in 1959 and the Journal of Peace Research five years later. Invariably portrayed in the media as a charismatic and (these days) grandfatherly champion of decency, Galtung is in fact a lifelong enemy of freedom. In 1973, he thundered that ?our time?s grotesque reality? was?no, not the Gulag or the Cultural Revolution, but rather the West?s ?structural fascism.? He?s called America a ?killer country,? accused it of ?neo-fascist state terrorism,? and gleefully prophesied that it will soon follow Britain ?into the graveyard of empires.?

Though Galtung has opined that the annihilation of Washington, D.C., would be a fair punishment for America?s arrogant view of itself as ?a model for everyone else,? he?s long held up certain countries as worthy of emulation?among them Stalin?s USSR, whose economy, he predicted in 1953, would soon overtake the West?s. He?s also a fan of Castro?s Cuba, which he praised in 1972 for ?break[ing] free of imperialism?s iron grip.? ....His all-time favorite nation? China during the Cultural Revolution.

Professor Galtung’s views bring to mind another Norwegian, Vidkun Quisling, the collaborationist head of Norway’s government during the Nazi occupation in 1940-45.  Quisling’s name became a synonym for treason.  Galtung’s bids for synonymity with lunacy.

In the United States, the peace movement is preparing young students to become virulent haters of our nation.

The people running today?s peace studies programs give a good idea of the movement?s illiberal, anti-American inclinations. The director of Purdue?s program is coeditor of Marxism Today, a collection of essays extolling socialism; Brandeis?s peace studies chairman has justified suicide bombings; the program director at the University of Missouri authorized a mass e-mail urging students and faculty to boycott classes to protest the Iraq invasion…

...First and foremost, they emphasize that the world?s great evil is capitalism?because it leads to imperialism, which in turn leads to war. The account of capitalism in David Barash and Charles Webel?s widely used 2002 textbook Peace and Conflict Studies leans heavily on Lenin, who ?maintained that only revolution?not reform?could undo capitalism?s tendency toward imperialism and thence to war,? and on Galtung, who helpfully revised Lenin?s theories to account for America?s ?indirect? imperialism.  Students acquire a zero-sum picture of the world economy: if some countries and people are poor, it?s because others are rich. They?re taught that American wealth derives entirely from exploitation and that Americans, accordingly, are responsible for world poverty.

...The Peace Racket maintains that the Western world?s profound moral culpability, arising from its history of colonialism and economic exploitation, deprives it of any right to judge non-Western countries or individuals. Further, the non-West has suffered so much from exploitation that whatever offenses it commits are legitimate attempts to recapture dignity, obtain justice, and exact revenge.

...It is this mind-set that leads peace professors to accuse the U.S. of ?state terrorism,? to call George W. Bush ?the world?s worst terrorist,? and even to characterize those murdered in the Twin Towers as oppressors who, by working at investment banks and brokerage houses, were ultimately responsible for their own deaths.

...In short, it?s America that is the wellspring of the world?s problems. In the peace studies world, America?s role as the beacon of opportunity for generations of immigrants is mocked, its defense of freedom in World War II and the cold war is reinterpreted to its discredit, and every major postwar atrocity (the Gulag, the Cultural Revolution, genocide in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Sudan) is ignored, minimized, or?as with 9/11?blamed on the U.S. itself.