Search Results for: pinkerism

The Persistence of Pinkerism

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, November 12, 2021

I’m old enough to remember when you couldn’t do a speaking event related to war and peace without being asked numerous reasonable and not so reasonable questions about 9/11 (each accompanied by a stack of DVDs and flyers presented to you as a revelation from on high). There was a long period when you could count on the inevitable question about “peak oil.” I’ve been around enough to know that you can’t talk to peace-oriented people read more

Pinkerism and Militarism Walk into a Room

Charles Kenny’s book, Close the Pentagon, has an endorsement from Steven Pinker despite wanting to close something that Pinker rarely acknowledges exists.

This is a book to answer the question: What if someone who believed that war was only committed by poor, dark, distant people, and had therefore almost vanished from the earth, were to encounter the U.S. military and the U.S. military budget?

The answer is basically a proposal to move the money from militarism to human and environmental read more

Dead Ukrainians and Russians Have Not Died in Vain, As Long As We Keep the Dying Going

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, June 11, 2023

Yuval Noah Harari’s book, Homo Deus, has plenty of insights, plenty of worries that may prove justified, and a fair bit of silliness. But it’s hard to argue with his summary of the Our Boys Didn’t Die in Vain Syndrome:

“The narrating self is the star of Jorge Luis Borges’s story A Problem. The story deals with Don Quixote, the eponymous hero of Cervantes’s famous novel. Don Quixote creates for himself an imaginary world in which read more

The Problem of Peaceful Societies for the Belief in the Necessity of War

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, June 11, 2023

For any given war, one can examine the months or years or decades during which one or both sides worked diligently to make it happen, and both sides conspicuously failed to develop peaceful alternatives. Even in the moment of greatest violence, one can consider the unarmed-resistance alternatives that are carefully kept out of consideration.

But even if you can explain away all justification read more

John Mueller’s Strange Take on “The Stupidity of War”

How can you not love a book called The Stupidity of War? I’m tempted to count the ways. John Mueller’s new book is an odd one, for which I hope there is a perfect audience out there — though I’m not sure who it is.

The book is virtually free of any contemplation of how it might be wiser to settle disputes nonviolently, of any analysis of the rising power and success of nonviolent action, of any discussion of the growth and potential of international institutions and laws, read more

How Peace Studies Can Help End Wars

Remarks at Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference in Birmingham, Alabama, October 28, 2017.

Thank you for inviting me. Can everyone who thinks that war is never, and can never be, justified please raise your hand. Thank you. Now if you think every war is always justified. Thank you. And finally all the moderates holding the balanced subtle middle ground: some wars are justified. Thank you. You may not be surprised to hear that this room is not typical of this country. Typical is for absolutely read more

The Case for War Abolition That You Might Miss

I’m afraid that one of the best books I’ve read on war abolition may be overlooked by non-Catholics, because its title is Catholic Realism and the Abolition of War (by David Carroll Cochran). The book does draw on Catholic arguments against war and work to rebut Catholic arguments in favor of war, but in my view this enriches the debate and detracts not at all from Cochran’s universal argument for the elimination of all war — much of which has little or nothing to do with Catholicism. read more

Can the United States Institute of Peace Live Up to Its Name?

The U.S. Institute of Peace has a great name, our tax dollars, and a terrible record. Let’s move it in a better direction.

If you’ve never heard of the U.S. Institute of Peace, please keep reading. It works everyday with your money in a fancy new building next to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It just doesn’t work for peace.

If you know the USIP’s record and consider it a lost cause, please keep reading. This institute can be made to do some good. A number of us will be meeting read more

War: Legal to Criminal and Back Again

Remarks in Chicago on the 87th anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, August 27, 2015.

Thank you very much for inviting me here and thank you to Kathy Kelly for everything she does and thank you to Frank Goetz and everyone involved in creating this essay contest and keeping it going. This contest is far and away the best thing that has come out of my book When the World Outlawed War.

I proposed making August 27th a holiday everywhere, and that hasn’t yet happened, but it’s begun. The read more