The Value of Peace

The waste of war is enormous. The value of peace is priceless.

Econation supports peace, and denounces war. War, and the threat of war, is unnecessary, and whatever is unnecessary, is by definition, a waste. Peace on the other hand is sustainable.

As long as there are aggressors there will be war. War is about power one way or another. Power games are totally unnecessary.

There have arguably been moral grounds for waging war, but that does not doesn’t mean that war is ever good. Whether a war is justifiable, or not, generally depends on which side you are on. Defence against aggression can be justified. Aggression is never justified, even if the aggressors think it is. The problem is that attack is often seen as the best form of defence, and many aggressive attacks have been done in the name of defence.

War is a chicken and egg situation. Wars are often waged because of some retaliation or redemption for a previous wrong or for a present threat of wrong. Who did wrong first, and why? I still believe war is the worst resort.

It is not possible to prevent all conflict, although it is possible to avoid a lot of conflict. In particular, nearly all violent conflict can be, and should be, prevented. Conflict can be resolved, or at least managed, in a variety of ways that are not violent. Through diplomacy and a spirit of goodwill, conflict can be resolved peacefully without the waste of people’s lives and planetary resources. Unfortunately, for all sorts of reasons, there is ill-will between groups of people who take sides.

The value of peace

Peace is not just the absence of war, or the gap between wars, it is a way of life based on understanding, tolerance and unity. It is a spirit that heals division.

“While pacifism hopes to get rid of war chiefly by refusing to fight and by carrying on a propaganda against war, Gandhiji goes much deeper and sees that war cannot be avoided as long as the seeds of it remain in man’s breast and grow and develop in his social, political, and economic life. Gandhiji’s cure is, therefore, very radical and far reaching. It demands nothing less than rooting out violence from oneself and from one’s environment.” – Bharatan Kumarappa

Gandhi used the Hindu idea of Ahimsa meaning ‘do no harm’. Gandhi famously defined Ahimsa as non-violence. This is the basis of peace. The interesting thing is that non-violence is active. As the quote by Ghandi’s friend and collaborator Bharatan Kumarappa says, peace is something we need to strive for and fight for peacefully. The peaceful fight is the idea behind civil disobedience which Gandhi successfully championed to get Indian independence.

On the other hand if the cultural spirit is one of competition, an-eye-for-an-eye, avarice and righteousness, then there will be a penchant for war. The larger and more powerful the country, the greater the penchant. The economist and author Leopold Kohr believe that if a country is powerful enough to believe they will win they will almost certainly wage war. In other word he believes conflict and war is inevitable. He believed the only answer is to not let countries get so powerful.

Peace is a choice

As the author George Orwell said “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.”

Aggressive war is chosen because certain people believe that they will win and benefit from it. No-one would go to war if they thought they would lose and/or not benefit in some way. When a war-monger says they have no choice but to attack

Likewise, peace is chosen because people know they will benefit from it, no matter what. The key is for the majority to choose non-violence. This starts in individuals’ hearts. Choosing peace is not weakness, on the contrary it is strength against power and violence, and it is an active striving for the things that most people care about the most.

“A people free to choose will always choose peace.” – Ronald Reagan

The value of peace

In summary, the value of peace includes:

  • It is moraI and right
  • It is unifying, not divisive
  • It is loving, not hating
  • It is creative, not destructive
  • It is not wasteful
  • It supports human values including empathy, altruism and love
  • It is freedom, allowing people to get on with their lives without unwarranted and unwanted interference