The Peace Movement Revives


While driving up the DVP the other day, the words “MAKE LOVE NOT WAR” loomed ahead, spray-painted in capital letters on the side of an overpass. Normally, it’s hard to read these revelations from on high while approaching at highway speeds; but that’s rarely a problem on the Parkway.

Let it be known that I too consider it better to make love than war. Had I been president of the U.S. at the time, I would have put aside my old-fashioned prejudice in favour of the opposite sex and proposed the idea to Brezhnev, had I thought it would end the Cold War. But Brezhnev, I fear, would have rebuffed my advances.

It’s nice, in any case, to see that the Iraq War has re-energized the Peace Movement. The collapse of communism left the Movement wholly dispirited, it seems. The fact that the proximate cause of the peaceful implosion of the Soviet Empire was Reagan’s relentless military build-up rather than the West’s unilateral disarmament must have been particularly irksome to the world’s amorous pacifists. Shortly thereafter, not even NATO’s unprovoked invasion of Yugoslavia succeeded in mobilizing them.

Why are the Movement faithful finally dusting off their placards and agitating their spray cans once again? A hypothesis: The overthrow of little Serbia by NATO’s armed might was intended to save a Bosnian Muslim plurality from genocide at the hands of a Christian minority. The invasion of Iraq was intended to save a Muslim majority from genocide by a Muslim minority. If one Islamic sect sets about to ethnically cleanse another, it’s one thing, but if Christians try it, that’s too much for the multicultural community to bear. Clinton’s war against Serbia was a “humanitarian intervention”, as it was called; Bush’s war against the Sunni tyranny is “an occupation”.

I regard the war in Iraq as a calamitous mistake, by the way. (No less calamitous than America’s uncritical advocacy of Israel, for what it’s worth.) But the rhetoric of the Peace Movement is so puerile that no thinking adult would have anything to do with it. Unlike the fellow travelers of the Movement, thinking people don’t wish to be judged stupid by association.

As I see it, any organization that invites its members to congregate en masse to shout slogans or sing folk songs probably can’t manage the intellectual depths of a problem as intractable as man’s inhumanity to man. Hard critical thinking is not encouraged in mobs. The very purpose of convening one is to induce individuals to surrender their independence of mind to its collective tyranny. Nor does it make much difference whether the mob is chanting “Kill the Negro” or “Make the Rich Pay”, “Zieg Heil ” or “Give Peace a Chance”: its median intelligence quotient still languishes in the bottom quartile.