Since World War II, several wars involving the United States (for example, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan) have been launched with initial public support. However, these conflicts lost their popularity when more and more Americans became aware that their government had been less than honest in linking invasion and occupation with noble principles such as bringing democracy to brutalized people.
Rejecting the pseudo-moral arguments for these wars, many people have embraced principled moral arguments–asserting, for example, that war is a violation of the Golden Rule, that no human being has the right to decide who will live and who will die, or that war and torture violate the hard-won international human rights agreements that grew out of the unrestrained violence of World War II.
Recognizing and rejecting pseudo-moral arguments and living by life-affirming principles is a challenge, particularly in a fear-mongering environment, but millions do it.
Tomorrow is the International Day of Peace. Established by a United Nations resolution in 1982, the celebration begins with the ringing of the Peace Bell at the U.N. The Day is often celebrated with greater enthusiasm and hope in other parts of the world than in the U.S.
Do your part this year. Consider the words of Miss Nida Ashfaq, member of the International Young Catholic Students (IYCS) from Pakistan, “Peace is not the absence of war; it is respecting and accepting each other and promoting human rights.” Then light a candle and formulate your own moral argument in favor of peace. Please share your thoughts with us.
Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology