Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mere Peace

When I drive my daughter to school, at some point, she's there and I'm on my way back. On the classical station, I've been hearing ads between the music for a performance of the local master chorale.

November 18th, the chorale will present 3 pieces: Haydn's Mass in Time of War; Andriessen's The City of Dis or: The Ship of Fools, the first section of a five-part opera-in-progress based on Dante's La Commedia; and Tormis's God Protect Us From War.

From the program notes:

Opening in a minor key, the gloomy timpani again utter frenzied throbbings when the music suddenly blossoms with trumpet fanfares, a dance-like tempo accelerating as the chorus insistently intones, “Dona nobis pacem,” an entreaty for peace. (Haydn's Mass)

And:

Featuring chant-like melodic motifs and the underlying tones of a gong, the impression of an ancient prayer wrapped in a mysterious veneer comforts us... (Tormis's God Protect Us From War)

Peace. Comfort. The absence of war, conflict, disagreement. Consensus.

Not victory. Oh, God no. Not success. Not even prayers for the well-being of the troops.

Peace. As in, "Bring the troops home!" As in, "No blood for oil!" As in, "peace in our time".

How is that peace maintained? By whom? At what cost?

"Don't know" And "don't care"

But peace is good! And right! And must be made now! So that the peaceful lotus-eaters are not disturbed in their dreams of...peace.

Interesting. I had not realized that peace is an artifact, made by man. I'm not saying that war is the natural state of mankind, but peace is something made, something that does not exist naturally, without support, without attention paid to it, without the infrastructure to wage war...to make peace.

This selection of music for the performance is an affirmation--a re-statement--of the obligatory, not-up-for-discussion chant "Peace good! War bad! Peace good!" There's no consideration, no room for consideration, of how peace is made. And kept.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Presidential Pick

I'm conservative, so I look to the Republicans for my salvation (if there were a truly conservative party in this race, I'd be there in a shot).

I heard some clips today from Sunday's ABC debate (Sunday morning? Sheesh.) on the Hugh Hewitt show today. Romney sounds grave and concerned, but Giuliani sounds sharp and responsive. Aggressive, even, against the moderator George Stephanopoulos.

I don't know the man, only his recent history as mayor of NYC, and his 9/11 experience. I have to go by what other conservatives say about or present of him--I'll most likely vote for Rudy Giuliani for President.

Do I like his stance on gun rights? No.

Do I like his stance on the war on terror? Yes.

Do I trust him more than any other candidate? Trust how? He's a politician running for office. When he's not kissing babies, he's stealing their lollipops. He'll say what he thinks will get him elected.

It doesn't matter who wins--we're all fucked.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Kenn Blanchard - A Reply

Kenn Blanchard has a post up titled Violence in Our Society. He asks several questions that I'd like to try to reply to:

How can we stop the violence in our society?

I believe that violence is part of the human nature; so is the seeking after of truth and salvation. I don't believe that it can be stopped, only struggled with.

I see two ways of combatting violence: 1) Inappropriate violence must be met with sudden and overwhelming violence in response, and 2) the unchecked and uneducated impulse towards violence must be controlled and re-directed into honest pride.

But social engineering is a road paved with good intentions, viz. the War on Poverty.

What can we do to repair our communities without given [sic] up the essential liberties that made this a great nation?

I can't comment to this without knowing more about who 'we' and 'our communities' are, as well as the 'essential liberties'.

What are you willing to do to protect your family from violence?

An interesting question! While I think I'm willing to do violence to others to protect my family, I've never been put to that test and God willing, I never will.

But what about non-violent methods? I'm not active in my neighborhood (not 'community'), I don't belong to a church, I don't set a good example for boys and young men by leading a Boy Scout troop. I'm pretty much a schlub.

What are your working in to make that a reality?

Again, I'm a schlub.

Can we stop violence?

As I said already, it's part of human nature. It's part of my nature, yet it does not drive me or consume me. I'm untrained in martial mayhem, yet big enough to do serious damage to small, weak or unsuspecting victims--but I don't. I own guns and have enough ammunition on-hand to kill a dozen, a score, a hundred--but I don't.

Why not?

Because I have more tools in my emotional and intellectual toolbox than only violence. The urge to do violence is bound closely to feeling disrespected; I have other ways to respond to the feelings of being dismissed, ignored, or looked down upon.

But I would not want to delete my ability to do violence, because I might need it at some point. I trust my own judgement as to whether I need to be violent. I don't trust everyone else's judgement about their need to be violent and spend most of my time in Condition Yellow.

Mr. Blanchard continues with a long ranty paragraph about rabid PETA advocates, unsocialized dogs, ignored children, the failure of parenting, time-saving devices, the lack of interpersonal skills, and the exploitation of the lonely and confused.

Children and the elderly have become the targets of everything wicked. Why because their innocence offends the very nature of the world today. What are you going to do about it?

Children and the elderly are always targets of the wicked, because they are easy prey. I look out for my own family, and to the extent that I can, I keep an eye on those around me as well. But I can't save everybody and I refuse to feel shame for not being able to do what I am incapable of doing.