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Post Pacifism Today; from Gary Moore
Created by John Eipper on 09/04/17 6:33 AM

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Pacifism Today; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA, 09/04/17 6:33 am)

Gary Moore writes:

Thanks for Istvan Simon's reply (Sept 3) to the questions about war raised by Timothy Ashby and by me, re Timothy's novel Devil's Den and my reference to the book War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.

However, by pointing out the illusions of war I was not arguing per se for doctrinaire pacifism--and yet not arguing against it. Istvan's example of his own somber heritage in Hungary would seem to support rather than refute what I was saying. Hungary wasn't brutalized because it was pacifist or too soft to fight (witness the bravery of 1956), but because the force ethic had come to power next door.

Nazi Germany glorified the one face of war (Mythic War, the grandiose thrill), and finally fell to the second (Sensory War, the pain and horror). One of the dilemmas in the two faces of war is that there is always a time to resist force--but there are always illusions saying the time is now, when maybe it's not. The appeal to mythic thrill made to Hungary by Voice of America in 1956 was waving the glorious banner: The time is now! It wasn't.

JE comments:  Is pacifism a more effective tactic now that we have one interconnected planet?  Meaning, any bald aggression today will be put on the Internet for everyone to see, and world opinion always sympathizes with the peaceful side. 

Imagine if the Hungarians had Twitter/Facebook et al. in 1956 (or the Chileans in 1973).  Would it have made a difference?

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  • Hungary 1956, Chile 1973: Would Social Media Have Made a Difference? (John Heelan, UK 09/05/17 3:39 PM)
    JE asked on 4 September: "Imagine if the Hungarians had Twitter/Facebook et al. in 1956 (or the Chileans in 1973). Would it have made a difference?"

    History seems to show that primary targets after an invasion or a coup appear to be the centres of news circulation (and propaganda?) such as TV and radio stations. The Trump campaign went one stage further in his preemptive capturing those outlets (Breitbart, alt-right, Fox News, etc.) to proclaim his messages and continues to do so via social networks such as Twitter. (In the UK the pro-Corbyn Momentum movement used similar techniques to rally the student vote in support of the Labour Party.)

    Perhaps in the future, preemptive cyber-strikes will be aimed at silencing these communications hubs? As Marshall McLuhan famously said, "The Medium is the Message!"  He sometimes changed the last word to "massage," "mass-age," "mess-age": each interpretation carrying another level of meaning.

    JE comments:  We could go one further.  If a strike against democracy/the people/etc. shuts off phones and the Internet, the result would be paralysis--and absolute control.  In the pre-Social Media Age, people still knew how to organize without these tools.

    Is it possible to shut down phones and the Internet?  Think of the multiplicity of providers and networks in developed countries.  In authoritarian regimes, the infrastructure is much more centralized and controllable.

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  • Nations with Limited Internet Access (Brian Blodgett, USA 09/07/17 6:09 AM)

    John E, in his comments on Gary Moore's post of September 4th, mentioned having one interconnected planet. It is important to point out that access to the Internet is still very limited in some countries. In fact there are 13 countries that limit or do not allow its citizens to freely use the Internet. These include Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Libya, Maldives, and Nepal are just starting to let their citizens access the Internet. Many other countries may have the Internet in their main cities, but a large number of their citizens do not have access for a variety of reasons.

    Ignoring these facts, a more important one is news apathy. I know many people who simply do not watch, read, or listen to the news. Many newspapers and channels focus more on local news than events that have worldwide or even just national impact. This, to many US citizens, was evident in the months leading up to last November.

    Even more importantly is whether the leaders of countries that may be considering aggression against a neighboring country even care what others think. If they are not concerned about public opinion, either within or outside their countries, and the potential economic impacts that could result from their actions, then they are likely to do as they wish and no matter how much others sympathize with the other country's pacifism, cold, hard brutal aggression is still likely to occur.

    JE comments:  I am surprised to see Tunisia and Belarus on this list.  How especially did the latter become such a dysfunctional and near-totalitarian state?  Consider that Lithuania, which has a connectivity far faster than the US (I observed this in June), is right next door. 

    Has anyone in WAISworld visited Belarus in recent years?

    Brian Blodgett adds another variable to the equation:  news apathy, and its close cousin, news burnout.  We WAISers don't suffer from either, but what about the world's masses?

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