Are you in favor of peace? Me, too. In that case, we would be wise, the New Criterion suggests,to remember the words of Flavius Vegetius: Si vis pacem, para bellum-“If you want peace, prepare for war.”
But today we prepare for peace with Peace Departments, Peace Studies, and other follies. I have a dreadful feeling that dire things will emanate from what Bruce Bawer calls “the peace racket.” The New Criterion quotes Bawer on the subject:
“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.”
The New Criterion goes on to observe:
“‘Peace Department’? Where is George Orwell when you need him? Why not just call it the “Ministry of Peace” (right next door to the Ministry of Love and down the street from the Ministry of Truth) and be done with it? And lest you think this is just some academic or journalistic jeu d’esprit, Bawer points out that Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D.-OH.) has, along with sixty other members of the House, sponsored a resolution that 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 college campuses around the country. What is it that they put in the drinking water down there in Washington, D.C.?
“Back in the dim, distant prehistoric past-back, that is, in the 1940s, when the world last reaped the benefits of an aggressive peace movement-many of our leaders were still in the habit of calling things by their right names. What we now call the Department of Defense was (until August 1949) known by a more stern and also more truthful rubric: the Department of War. A few years before, in 1933, Adolf Hitler managed to bring democracy to an end in Germany and establish himself as dictator. Really, it wasn’t so hard. That same year, across the English Channel, the Oxford Union held its famous debate in which it overwhelmingly approved the resolution that ‘this House will not fight for King and Country.’ Well, isn’t that nice? Too bad that Herr Hitler had other ideas.”