Blogger ate my last post, and it was just enough drivel for me to not want to go back and try recovering it. The eating of my entry was a good thing. On to something with a bit more tooth to it.
I was listening to a local NPR program the other day and actually got motivated to call in. Being a local show it was easy to get on the air with their guests. It was a watershed program for me, though I’m sure not in the way it was intended.
The program was interviewing local peace activists. Basically, these three representatives of three different peacenik organizations were arguing that there is no cause for war. Ever. Or if there ever is a cause, even then war should not be waged. Their solution? “Invest in people.” To a person these speakers were proposing that instead of waging war the US ought to be sending money to these disenfranchised, disgruntled people. This was their solution to avoid war and attrocities. This is their solution for the end of the current war effort now.
So I called in to the show: “So if we had only invested in people suicide squads wouldn’t have flown airplanes into the Twin Towers? There would be peace in the Sudan? Hitler wouldn’t have tried to exterminate Jews and Gypsies?” I got some nonsensical statistic about the cost of war being “ironically” the exact figure it would cost to vaccinate the children of the world against everything from polio to halitosis. Right. Bin Laden just wants Hep. B shots for his kids.
See, I’m a little embarassed to say this. I knew I disagreed with the peaceniks for a number of good reasons, but the underlying philosophy didn’t hit me until that program. They believe that people are inherently good. To them there is no natural depravity inherent to human nature. We’re all products of our environments. If we just invest in people, they’ll do right.
See, I knew this. I did. If only Osama had not been some poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks he wouldn’t have done what he did. If only he’d had someone investing in him. Oh wait.
Osama bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in early 1957. His parents were some of the wealthiest people in Saudi Arabia, allowing him an affluent upbringing. He was the seventh son and had nearly fifty brothers and sisters. He made a fortune working in this family’s construction business.
I guess that doesn’t quite answer the question, does it? This guy had nothing but “investments in him,” yet look what he’s done. Chances are, when given the choice, people on their own are going to do whatever they want and think they can get away with.
Of course war is a terrible, ugly, dirty thing. No one in his right mind is going to choose war over peace. But war is often a necessary means in bringing peace. While significant rebuilding efforts must obviously be undertaken and funded in Iraq and Afghanistan, simply “investing in people” who are just as depraved and sinful as you or I isn’t the silver bullet they’re imagining it to be. It’s just a bit more complex than that. The absence of war does not mean peace. Just look at the Cold War years between the US and Soviet Union. Strive for real peace–just peace, which may only come from the spilling of blood.
You simply can’t get there when you naively imagine that human beings are inherently good and nice. Theologically it doesn’t hold water. And it’s been proved time and time again throughout the history of mankind on the earth. Even if you can’t be a good theologian, at least be something of an historian.