What a society taxes it gets less of, and what a society subsidizes it gets more of.
For various social, economic, psychological, emotional, and other reasons, societies around the world, throughout history, have taxed peace, while subsidizing war.
This is not a statement of judgment, just one of objective observation.
We honor dead soldiers, and only occasionally talk about dead peacemakers.
We have thousands of anonymous soldiers who go out and make war, as we have thousands of anonymous peacemakers, who go out and make peace every day. But only one group has a flame burning eternally for them at Arlington Cemetery in the US.
We honor the dead soldier, because we (and by ‘we’ I mean humanity as whole) value valor, honor, respect, dignity, and the ideals of revenge and justice, far more than we revere those same values at the peacemaking table. This dichotomy is the most obvious at scale, where there are holidays honoring the sacrifice of life of the soldier, but no parades in your town for the generations of deceased divorce mediators.
These are not a statements of judgment, just ones of factual observation.
When we do choose to honor the diplomat, or the statesman, who brought us peace, we tend to honor the ones most vociferously who also guided us through war. Churchill is lauded far more than Chamberlain.
Unfortunately, as was pointed out years ago by the band Pink Floyd, the statesmen turned diplomats are the very same ones who sat in the rear of the line (or sat in an office back at home) and commanded “Go forward!” even as the soldiers in front, out on the line, died by the thousands.
Young men have always died valiantly fighting old men’s wars.
The fact is, we will always have more people willing to make war, than we will have people willing to make peace. This is a sad fact of the fallen state of humanity.
This is not a statement of judgment, just one of spiritual observation.
On this Memorial Day, let us take a moment to remember those who made the peace, as well as honor those who fell in the war, because, if humanity is to move forward in any kind of meaningful way, we need to subsidize the peace, and place a higher tax on the war.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org