It is always amusing, and unsettling, when politicians mimic what happens in books that were written to warn the populace about such politicians. A California democrat has introduced a bill in the house to create a new department complete with a new cabinet position: The Department of Peace-building. Being a fan of George Orwell’s 1984, I could not help but think of Oceania’s Ministry of Peace. In the novel about a dystopian society, the Ministry of Peace is in charge of keeping Oceania in a perpetual state of war, in order to use up the excess resources of society, therefore keeping people in a constant state of struggle, which leaves them little time to learn about the true nature of their government.
The Ministry must maintain a delicate balance in its wars against East Asia and Eurasia (depending on the day) in order not to tip the scales in favor of one country, or against another. War is fought in a no-man’s-land Africa, with Oceania propaganda reporting constant battle victories, all attributed to their fearless leader, Big Brother. The name of the department makes sense in the novel, because citizens have been taught doublethink. Doublethink is the practice of holding and whole-heartedly believing two contradictory ideas, such as war is peace, which allows the department to be called the Ministry of Peace.
If the bill is passed, and the U.S. gets its very own Department of Peace-building, it will be tasked with developing policies and strategies to prevent violence, according to the Daily Caller article.
The department would work with other agencies, sharing peace findings and assisting the international community in peace endeavors, including fostering conflict resolution initiatives.
The department would also create a four-year Peace Academy in the model of the military service academies, and offer grants and incentives for peacebuilding initiatives. The Secretary will also encourage Americans to observe and celebrate “Peace Days.”
I think this department could easily set the stage for the Department of Defense to team up with the Department of Peace-building to keep us in a perpetual state of war. Currently it takes a bit of doublethink to believe that the offense strategies of our military provide us with a good defense, so we are already moving in an Orwellian direction. The only problem is that people are growing tired with our perpetual wars in the middle east, so what better way to keep the wars going than with a Department of Peace-building. This way, once the American populous becomes tired with war, we can send in the peace-builders who will employ their peace strategies. These strategies will involve disarmament, which will set the stage for the next strongman to come in and wield his power. At this point we are ready to pull back the peace-builders, and send in the defenders. Rinse and repeat, and we will be in perpetual war.
Don’t believe my analysis? Check out the consequences of peace-building before WWII, according to Thomas Sowell.
An even larger array of the intellectual elite in the 1930s opposed the efforts of Western democracies to respond to Hitler’s massive military buildup with offsetting military defense buildups to deter Hitler or to defend themselves if deterrence failed.
“Disarmament” was the mantra of the day among the intelligentsia, often garnished with the suggestion that the Western democracies should “set an example” for other nations — as if Nazi Germany or imperial Japan was likely to follow their example.
As a result of this failure to prepare for war, American pilots needlessly died in the beginning stages of WWII, because of inferior aircraft. Likewise many more American tanks were destroyed, and their inhabitants killed, than German tanks, because Germany had built up their armory, while the peace-building policies of America meant scaling back their arms. In the age of tanks and planes, this meant more soldiers losing their lives. In the age of Nuclear bombs, it could mean whole cities being destroyed before a counter attack can halt the carnage.
This could be achieved if the Department of Defense and Department of Peace-building work lockstep to ensure that the scales are not tipped to one side by too much. If we build up too much military might, we risk winning the wars outright, and there will be no other way to destroy the nations resources in order to keep the proles from rising. If we completely disarm ourselves, then other countries will take over, and the people in power will have lost it. The best plan for the leaders of America to emulate Oceania, is to keep one side fighting for war, and the other fighting against it. Never too weak, never too strong. Never victory, never defeat.
“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” -George Orwell, 1984