Bruce Bawer on the Peace Racket
Bawer is the author of "While Europe Slept" - essential reading on the problems facing Europe from radical islam. In this article, he looks at anti-west, anti-capitalist programs masquerading as 'peace studies."
The people running today’s peace studies programs give a good idea of the movement’s illiberal, anti-American inclinations. The director of Purdue’s program is coeditor of Marxism Today, a collection of essays extolling socialism; Brandeis’s peace studies chairman has justified suicide bombings; the program director at the University of Missouri authorized a mass e-mail urging students and faculty to boycott classes to protest the Iraq invasion; and the University of Maine’s program director believes that “humans have been out of balance for centuries” and that “a unique opportunity of this new century is to engage in the creation of balance and harmony between yin and yang, masculine and feminine energies.” (Such New Age babble often mixes with the Marxism in peace studies jargon.)
What these people teach remains faithful to Galtung’s anti-Western inspiration. First and foremost, they emphasize that the world’s great evil is capitalism—because it leads to imperialism, which in turn leads to war. The account of capitalism in David Barash and Charles Webel’s widely used 2002 textbook Peace and Conflict Studies leans heavily on Lenin, who “maintained that only revolution—not reform—could undo capitalism’s tendency toward imperialism and thence to war,” and on Galtung, who helpfully revised Lenin’s theories to account for America’s “indirect” imperialism. Students acquire a zero-sum picture of the world economy: if some countries and people are poor, it’s because others are rich. They’re taught that American wealth derives entirely from exploitation and that Americans, accordingly, are responsible for world poverty.
If the image of tenured professors pushing such anticapitalist nonsense on privileged suburban kids sounds like a classic case of liberals’ throwing stones at their own houses, get a load of this: America’s leading Peace Racket institution is probably the University of Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies—endowed by and named for the widow of Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, the ultimate symbol of evil corporate America. It was the Kroc Institute, by the way, that in 2004 invited Islamist scholar Tariq Ramadan to join its faculty, only to see him denied a U.S. visa on the grounds that he had defended terrorism.
Peace studies students also discover how to think in terms of “deep culture.” How to prevent war between, say, the U.S. and Saddam’s Iraq? Answer: examine each country’s deep culture—its key psychosocial traits, good and bad—to understand its motives. Americans, according to this bestiary, are warlike and money-obsessed; Iraqis are intensely religious and proud. Not surprisingly, the Peace Racket’s summations of deep cultures skew against the West. The deep-culture approach also avoids calling tyrants or terrorists “evil”—for behind every atrocity, in this view, lies a legitimate grievance, which the peacemaker should locate so that all parties can meet at the negotiating table as moral equals. SUNY Binghamton, for instance, offers a peace studies course that seeks to “arrive at an understanding of contemporary violence in its ideological, cultural, and structural dimensions in a bid to move away from ‘evil,’ ‘inhuman,’ and ‘uncivilized’ as analytical categories.”