A change in Princes is the Joy of Fools. ~ Old Romanian Proverb
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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Musings on Peace.

Last night (21-Feb-05), I watched Deepak Chopra on The O'Reilly Factor and I was struck once more by what an ass he seems to be. It's not just that he is a pompous prig with a messiah complex and one of the most irritating voices I have ever heard, but rather it is the nature of his message that so irks me. It's a message that I have heard from others with equal righteousness (and better voices) and has generated no less annoyance in me.

Essentially, Chopra is a peace promoter. Peace is Good! Peace is Wonderful! War is bad! Duh! Of course war is bad, Dr. Chopra! No one will tell you that faster than a seasoned warrior (which I freely admit I am not). The astounding simplicity of the message is not what twists my underpants in a knot, though. Chopra compared the terrorists to the war on terror saying that in both cases the participants on each side must "dehumanize" their opponents in order to kill them. He takes exception to Mr. Bush's referring to Al-Qaeda opperatives as "evil-doers," as though planning and executing the live cremation of thousands of people qualifies them for Nobel consideration. They are evil-doers! They might not see it that way, but so what? Since when does their self-image constitute a claim on our forebearance? A threatened people must be accorded the right to act in their own self-defense. No other choice is possible on this Earth, in this existence.

But not for Chopra. To people with Chopra's attitude, it takes two to make a war, and both sides should be held responsible for the conflict. Implicit in that position is the notion that war is the worst fate mankind can endure. But is it? It's not good, but are there not more terrible things to endure. Would an Afghani who had lived through the Taliban agree? Would any of the peoples who had survived in Nazi-occuppied Europe concur? Or their bretheren from the former Soviet satellites? “War has become a habit. We reach for it the way a chain smoker reaches for a cigarette, promising to quit but somehow never kicking the habit.”

Non-violence is a noble pursuit and those that choose that path for themselves are welcomed to it. But the key word here is "choice." Chopra resides in a culture which tolerates his choice, even honors him for it. But who made that choice possible for Chopra? Those who sacrificed to defend freedom, with their lives in all too many cases. Those who fought made that choice possible. Chopra merely excercises his right to that choice paid for by better men than he, men he now equates with those who recruit others to to strap live explosives to themselves and travel on public conveyances before immolating themselves in a manner designed to kill as many strangers as possible.

It does take only one side to make a war. The Kuwaitis can confirm that for those in doubt. Chopra may deplore the invasion, but his way offers no solution save endurance. Existence on the higher plain of human potential loses it's attraction when a sweaty Republican Guard soldier can entertain himself with the women of your family at his own discretion. Chopra and those of like mind are powerless to make a society in the face of a regime determined to impose it's will through terror and violence. Chopra loves to quote Ghandi and no doubt draws inspiration from the liberation of India from British Colonial rule. But the British were a far sight more civilized than either the Soviets or the Nazis. It was possible to embarrass the British with their own standards of conduct. A more savage occupier would not care about the non-violent nature of Ghandi's followers and would respond to peacful protest with Tiananmen-like brutality, and do so with a clear conscience.

Chopra lives in a world made for him by others he would not emulate. Inevitably, those that will not fight to defend their way of life risk losing it to a determined enemy willing to use force, and we are not in short supply of the latter.

Deepak Chopra is a luxury of a militarily strong society. One with an annoying voice.