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US Department of Peace

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  • Mike helsher
    http://www.hagelin.org/news/08_10_2001.html John Hagelin Meets With U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich To Discuss Department Of Peace Legislation (H.R. 2459) Hagelin:
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2007

      John Hagelin Meets With U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich To Discuss
      Department Of Peace Legislation (H.R. 2459)

      Hagelin: Congressman Kucinich you have introduced some very
      innovative legislation, legislation calling for the creation of a
      U.S. Department of Peace, a cabinet-level department which is
      supposed to prevent the outbreak of violent conflict and war. Tell us
      a little bit about that.

      Kucinich: Well, first of all, look at our society today. Violence is
      everywhere. It's in our neighborhoods, gangs, schools--
      police/community relations problems, racial violence. Now, some would
      say it's amplified by the media, but the truth is whether it's
      violence outside in the larger community or violence within the home,
      the problem of violence is an underlying theme in American society.
      The Department of Peace seeks to take the concept of non-violence and
      operationalize it, to make it an organizing principle in our society.

      If we view government as a thought form, in and of itself, government
      communicates a message as to what kind of society we have, what our
      priorities are. If we then change the structure of government to
      create a new department which addresses the issues of violence in
      this society in an organized, programatic way, we'll start to change
      the consciousness of the country so that war is no longer is
      inevitable. Peace is inevitable; non-violent conflict resolution
      becomes an everyday matter of how we conduct ourselves in our
      country, our homes, our workplace, and wherever we are. So if reality
      is socially constructed, then we can reconstruct this social reality
      towards something that's more peaceful.

      If we want to create a new nation free of the fear of violence and
      free of the violence of fear, then we have to look at the way we
      think and we have to begin to rethink the manner in which we
      construct our social reality. And in terms of specifics, we can
      educate our children in principles of human relations, how they can
      get along without having to resort to aggression, how to deal with
      their feelings. So the Department of Peace would have an education
      component that would take the message through the U.S. Department of
      Education and make it available to 50 states. That would have the
      whole curricula for peace, with many objectives at every grade level
      so that we would teach peace instead of war.

      H: You know, Congressman, I'm an educator, and I believe that
      education is the source and ultimately the solution to most of our
      national problems and global problems. I'm also a scientist who has
      done research in the field of conflict resolution and peace, and it
      is a scientific fact that war begins in the minds and hearts of men,
      and it is in the minds and hearts of men that the consensus of peace
      must be constructed. But research has found that rising tension,
      among warring factions or religious or racial or ethnic groups, is
      always a precursor to the outbreak of violent conflict. If there's a
      way through education to reduce the societal stress and tension, then
      we can perhaps prevent the outbreak of conflict. The idea of a
      department in the U.S. government dedicated to the prevention of war
      and the promotion of peace is very innovative and refreshing. I can't
      help think that with even 1% of the defense budget....

      K: Yes, the budget would be paid with 1%. The formula would be 1% of
      whatever the Department of Defense was spending. In this case, the
      Department of Defense spends $300 billion a year, so we would want to
      see at least $3 billion appropriated for a Department of Peace. In
      that way we enable our country to start to develop alternatives to
      military action as a means of resolving differences.

      H: Right in your proposed legislation, as one of the goals of the
      Department of Peace, you have the emergence of perhaps a new
      University of Peace or schools of peace that could really school
      people in effective means of conflict resolution. Imagine a
      University of Peace in the world that would be a counterbalance to
      the dozens of military academies and graduate war colleges all
      dedicated to promoting the art and science of war. There should be
      one university in the world dedicated solely to the prevention of war
      and violent conflict that can maybe create a whole new profession in
      the world, that of professional peacemaker.

      K: Well, that's what this legislation would seek to do. It would seek
      to create a peace academy which would be the counterpart of a
      military academy. It would seek to support existing programs in
      universities and support the creation of new programs to teach peace
      and to help equip teachers of peace. A new idea for a University of
      Peace is well taken, because we need to create an architecture for
      higher education in peace studies. Such programs exist in many
      different ways in many universities around the world, but to create a
      single university as a statement of the highest aspirations for such
      programs would, I think, be very meaningful for our world. And I
      think we'll probably see it happen someday.

      I think we're finding all over the world this hunger people have for
      connectedness. Those of us who view the world in a holistic way,
      seeing it as an unbroken whole, understand that there is an essential
      interconnectedness which we all have. And when people awaken to the
      pulsation for peace which is out there, when they hear of programs
      that work to further it, they can get very excited about it. Which is
      why, interestingly enough, this proposal has already gained attention
      in countries all around the world. It's astonishing how quickly an
      idea starts to move, and that's why a university of peace would be a
      prelude to a world of peace. It's interesting though, I've talked to
      people who just look at this and go, "Oh, God, another pie in the sky
      idea." You have to believe in a benevolent nature. We have to believe
      that this world can be a better place. We have to believe that our
      highest aspirations can be achieved. And so, I believe that the power
      of an idea whose time has come is the sphere that surrounds the
      Department of Peace.

      H: Well, I think this idea has even emerged through the window of
      science. What I particularly like, and what I think taxpayers would
      like, is your emphasis on field-tested programs. No one wants to
      waste taxpayers' money on something that may not work, but the idea
      that this department is going to research and promote solutions that
      do work is, I think, a great strength of this legislation and should
      hopefully silence some of the critics who might be concerned about
      decreasing the military budget. There's no doubt to me, however, how
      much we could save if we succeed in preventing even one war.

      K: The creation of a government department, from its inception, ought
      to be about saving money. A Department of Peace would bring a new
      measure of economy to government because through working to eliminate
      war, we eliminate the greatest waste invention in the world--the
      waste of lives, the waste of natural and economic treasure. But,
      beyond that, if you look at the domestic applications, think of the
      cost of racial violence. Think of the cost of gang violence. Think of
      the cost of crimes involving drugs in our society. Think of the
      tremendous toll which domestic violence takes. And some could
      say, "Well, this is just inevitable." No, it's not. We have the
      ability to address this and to change our culture. It's a long haul,
      but the thought in which we are all united has the ability to create
      a moment of qualitative transformation once we get enough people
      interested. And that can be of great value to the society. It can
      save not only money and lives but it can put America on a new path.

      I believe America has always been destined to be the light of the
      world, but sometimes we go astray. Sometimes we don't know how to
      handle this great power that we have, and then we think others do not
      have any power. It's a misunderstanding of the nature of power which
      is a deep, interpersonal sense and sharing in that unified field that
      you've talked about. So, the Department of Peace aims at developing
      more respect. It aims at supporting community groups that are already
      doing this work. It aims at celebrating the potential of all of us.
      And it also aims at providing a measure of hope in a society where
      there's a lot of fear today.

      H: You've mentioned something, I think, that's very, very critical
      here, and that is that phase transitions can come quickly in the
      moment of a thought.

      K: Absolutely.

      H: A week before the Berlin Wall fell, many people heard the
      president of East Germany say on television that this wall will stand
      for 100 years. Nobody doubted it. There was no reason to doubt it at
      the time, but it was only a week or two later that the wall simply
      fell. Enough people realized that that wall dividing humanity from
      humanity was unnecessary.

      And when that critical mass was gained, it was like a phase
      transition in the collective thinking of society. So I completely
      agree with your thoughts. And your bill has, as you probably know, a
      remarkable amount of grassroot support, popular support. It may not
      be strongly supported yet by the Republican side of the aisle during
      the current Bush administration. I understand now that co-sponsorship
      is going quite quickly within the Democratic party.

      K: It is, and there will be a moment where I'll present this to the
      President for his consideration. Because I take a holistic view, in
      terms of my activities in the congress, I don't have any difficulty
      going to the other side of the aisle and asking people for help. I
      don't even think of it in terms of the other side of the aisle in
      terms of my own presence in the House of Representatives. I'm moving
      throughout the chamber all day long. And so, I wanted to rally people
      from the Democratic side to this, and then I'll work with my friends
      in the Republican Party and go to the President and ask for his
      support. Because I think that all around this country, there are
      people who want more peaceful communities. They want to see how they
      can have peace at home in their households. People need help on that.
      And so, this is one of the things government can do.

      There are people, by the way, who say, "Why should we have government
      involved in something like this?" Well, the fact of the matter is,
      the government's a reality in our life. When our government was
      created, it carried the thought of freedom. That was what the
      Declaration of Independence was about, and the inception of our
      Constitution and Bill of Rights. It was a thought of freedom, and
      that was inherited from the French Revolution and the great thinkers
      of the 18th century who understood that freedom was the message.

      Well, we have freedom, but we don't have peace. So, for the 21st
      century, government can be the vehicle for peace. And because of
      government's overarching role in all of our lives, it can serve to
      facilitate and share the peace. And we know that government has the
      potential to go the other way. The truth is, 100 million people died
      in the 20th century in wars that were of course sponsored by
      government. So we know the connotations of war and peace.

      H: That comes as a ray of hope that maybe the American people think
      differently from the current elective....

      K: Well, I think that each new leader brings his or her own
      experience to the national or international forum. There's a lot of
      fear-based activity going on in Washington today. Witness the
      weaponization of space, the National Missile Defense Shield, the
      withdrawal from the Kyoto global climate change treaty, the attempt
      to cancel the Antiballistic Missile Treaty and cancel the tenets of
      the non-proliferation treaty to stop the progress of Start II and not
      go forward with Start III talks to withdraw from the chemical weapons
      treaty, to get away from talks on reconciliation on racial issues.
      All these things tend to reflect that America is withdrawing. But we
      can't withdraw, because America is a nation of great consequence in
      the world, and America is looked to by people all over the world as a
      fount of new ideas. And we need to quicken our position.

      I think the concept of the Department of Peace has struck such a
      responsive chord among officials in other nations and among non-
      government organizations in other nations because it really resonates
      with the idea that America has been a leader in so many different
      areas of endeavor, and it puts America back on the upland road. It
      also creates for America a position of creating higher thought and
      setting a higher tone. As you know, in physics, the concept of
      entrainment says that a slower vibration will attune to a faster
      moving vibration. So this quickened thought which represents this
      Department of Peace will bring up the dialogue in the rest of the
      world and get more people involved in trying to find ways of
      resolving their differences without resorting to conflict.

      People are aware, all over the world, that we need to do better in
      the way that we address human relations. And so I'm gratified by
      seeing the response to this idea, which isn't original because there
      are thinkers throughout time who have looked to ways of trying to
      quicken this evolutionary impulse and to improve human potential.
      It's just our job. We who are here now, it's our job. It's our turn
      to carry that message forward.

      "Maybe I'm not going to be happy. Maybe the roof is going to fall
      in." That's part of our human condition: we have these uncertainties.
      So part of what it comes down to is faith--faith in ourselves, faith
      in our nation, faith in the future and a belief that we can, with our
      own thinking, with our own words, with our own deeds, create a world
      which we'd be proud to pass down to the next generation. And so we're
      about that work today. And this Department of Peace is just part of
      that work, and it's the thinking that gets people involved in
      saying, "Maybe we can change something. Maybe this can be better."

      That's what's so exciting to have a chance to do--and to work with
      you. I want to say that your contribution to this country and the
      world has been enormous. The possibility of lifting people's
      consciousness up--because this is what we have to do. We have to give
      people an opportunity to free themselves from these limitations in
      thinking. And give people a chance to know how powerful each
      individual can be. And when you do that, the nation becomes stronger,
      and then the world becomes stronger. So thank you for the work that
      you do.

      H: I would also like to agree that you can't let the government solve
      our problems for us, for government is a refection of us. When we
      elect our government, our government really can't give us what we
      ourselves don't create in terms of wealth, what we don't generate for
      ourselves in terms of health. I think it's a perennial experience
      that you can find this tremendous unity awakening in an emerging new
      era. And I think that we have scientific reasons for optimism. We
      have science as a benchmark (?), as they say, because in the past the
      relationship between us and our universe, or between one and another,
      wasn't so clear. Now, at least, we know that at our core we are all
      one. And I don't think it will be more than a generation, because it
      never is, before this change in the way we scientifically understand
      our universe makes its way through the schools and into the way that
      we ultimately structure our society and govern ourselves. I think
      it's a great time coming, but it finally takes a leader to break the
      ice and introduce those new structures of government that accurately
      reflect the global reality of life. And this Department of Peace that
      you have introduced is a very, very timely piece of legislation which
      reflects great leadership on your part. Many of us would like to
      thank you for taking this step. We'd like to pledge our support very

      K: Thank you very much, and thanks for the opportunity to talk about
      it. And each person makes a difference here. I'm grateful for the
      chance to serve in the Congress so that I can help to advance this
      idea, but the truth of the matter is that hundreds and hundreds of
      people have been involved in discussions that have helped to shape
      this proposal. And I've agreed to carry it forward, and I'm grateful
      for the chance to talk about it.
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