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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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112. Elders: Who Are They and Do We Really Need Them? - [74]

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110. What’s Your Favorite Element? - [119]

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98. Would You Live In A Haunted House? - [166]

97. What Natural Objects Are On Your Altar? - [103]

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 16,991,253  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 153

Lurker/Post Ratio: 214 to 1

Question of the Week: 95 - 1/19/2003

How Do You Feel About War?

‘Yes I'm talking about this war dance/ A patriotic romance./And I know all you poets/Have seen it all before…’ – Colin Moulding, XTC

Colin: ‘The words were originally prompted by the Falklands War in 1982. But it was too much on one piece of history. Then along came the Persian Gulf War and I put the revised lyrics to a new piece of music. It was time to bring war out of the closet again.’

And again, it would seem. How do you, from your own spiritual perspective or tradition, view and/or cope with the ideals and realities of war and armed conflict?

Do your political leanings influence how you feel?

Do you have a difficult time explaining/defending/advocating your position to other Pagans or Heathens? Non-Pagans?

 Reponses:   There are 153 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Why Can't We Just All Get Along? Jan 21st. at 5:57:15 pm EST

Leisaie (Michigan USA) Age: 14 - Email

I don't know about the rest of you, but my mummy taught me that we shoudl get along, that we should share, and above all she taught me that it's Not Nice to over-analyse people's weapons declarations. And really, everything we needed to know we learned in primary school--and from the Rede. I believe passionately in 'An it harm none, do as ye will'. What about the innocent civilians? What about the children and the storekeepers and the writers and the mothers? Will they all just DIE because of America's folly?
I'm a vegan, a born-two-decades-too-late hippy and a pacifist. I don't believe that there is any excuse for killing innocents, and it would take a lot to convince me otherwise.

Get Real Jan 21st. at 5:40:47 pm EST

Skeggi (New Zealand) Age: 32 - Email

Why not kill everyone then. Its the only way to be sure.
You cant seriously think this has anything to do with the Gulf War.
How do you combine what happened on 11/9 with Iraq?
Your government has proven why people will always hate America with how they are treating the prisoners held in Cuba. Would they be abble or willing to treat your citizens that way?
So America proves once again its a case of one rule for us and another for you. Or do as i say not as i do.

Good God Yes! Jan 21st. at 5:21:46 pm EST

wolfsbane (texas) Age: 43 - Email

Even as I write this I am waiting for my husband to be deployed.
With mixed emotions I send him.
If we would have finished this before in the Gulf War we would never have had a 9-11.
But the question remains, if we fight and win, the decendants of those killed will still hate America with even more vigor.
How do you stop a whole country of hate without destroying the entire population.
War is a need. It can clean as well as destroy. Terrorists must be stopped at all costs to every country.

My Ideas Have Changed Jan 21st. at 2:11:39 pm EST

squib (oregon) Age: 33 - Email

on things since 9/11. I had family killed on flight 77. That's some of my DNA splattered on the pentagon. And they were killed because they were American, and for no other reason at all, excuses about US foreign policy be damned.

The problem here, i think, and its what a lot of people fail to see, is that the enemy is already identified, and he walks among us, protected by our laws on religion and free speech. Our enemy is not some country far away. Our enemy threatens to kill women who walk unveiled or hold government jobs (as seen recently in an area of Kashmir), our enemy would very much like to have nuclear weapons pointed at us (as recently mentioned by a Mullah Al-Khutbari), and would no doubt not hesitate to use them on us, our enemy sees us as the oppressors, while they allow their people to live in filth and squalor because it pleases their god for them to live that way. Our enemy kills people for making jokes about their god or daring to speak out against twisted leaders, stores munitions in mosques, and desecrates other faiths houses of worship. Our other enemy, the one who doesn't walk among us, houses prison camps who's size exceeds the largest Soviet gulags, with three generations of dissidents' families in them, practices forced abortion and infanticide, destroys its environment (quite willingly) through massive deforestation, starves its people, and works them to death.

The first, in case anyone is going to take me out of context, is -radical- Islamists (please note i specified "radical".) The second is North Korea.

The goal of radical Islam is worldwide Shari'a. No less. Nothing else. You will submit to allah, or you will be killed or enslaved. That's their stated goal. (see any given speech on IMRA). You simply cannot reason with someone who believes their god tells them all non-believers must be killed or forcibly converted.

The goal of N. Korea right now is extortion, pure and simple. NK has run itself into the ground. Dear Leader is unable to keep his people (the amount of immigrants from NK to China has grown substantially in the last 6 months). He's out of money. He's out of food. Who has the deepest pockets in the world? Why, the US. Figure it out.

In this case, i'm all for war. Am i positive Iraq should be the first target? No. I'm sure there are other ones far better suited. I don't believe NK should be a target, because of their present goal (free money in order to shut down their nuke program) makes them a mere annoyance rather than a valid threat- unless they get desperate enough to sell their nuke technology (or finished products) to groups like Al-Quaeda, which is a very real possibility.

To anyone who goes to peace rallies sponsored by A.N.S.W.E.R., be aware of their parent organization, the WWP (Worker's World Party). It may seem a fairly innocuous and innocent quasi-socialist group, but they support Dear Leader, they supported the Chinese government during and after Tienmen square, they defend Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein (known killer of his own people, drainer of marshes, lighter of oil fields, dumper of crude into the sea). Support peace and be an activist all you want, but denounce the WWP and ANSWER at every turn.

My position is not widely liked in the pagan community. I've been called a bigot for it. But i call it as i see it, and when a group of people wants me dead because of what religion or nationality i am or am not, well then, a bigot i am. There is no easy solution to the puzzle we now find ourselves in. Group hugs will not solve this. Dialogue will not solve this. Capitulating to demands (paying danegeld) to save our butts will not solve this. There are large groups of people who want every US and Israeli citizen dead. The war is already on.

War Only As Ultimate Last Resort Jan 21st. at 1:46:11 pm EST

Slaine V'algar (Austria) Age: 30 - Email

In the army, we had a saying:"War is hell, but the sound-effects are great". Sure, it's fun to watch on tele, or at the movies. Just ask the families who have been hit by bombs, or those who have lost limbs due to mines, what they think of war. I care less about the human suffering than I do about the suffering we cause our Mother Earth. How many chemicals does one bomb release into our atmosphere? How many organisms, other than human, are destoyed by a single detonation?
Sure, war on terrorism sounds great, but then fight a clean war.Stop the drug flow, this money supports terrorism. Stop armament, work toward finding a common ground. Dispose a dictator, sure, but do we need to sacrifice thousands to rid the world of one person?
Remember this: bombs do not only kill people, they destroy ecosystems that took centuries to establish themselves. This planet is all we have, and we seem to be doing our darndest to destroy her. We already have enough problems with polution, over-population etc. War just adds to the damage we cause.Everything we take from Earth, took millenia to develope, give her a chance to recover before she turns on us.
Have your war, if you feel the urge, but then invite your enemy into your own space, and have it out one-on-one. LEAVE THE REST OF US OUT OF IT!

Politics Vs. Economy Jan 21st. at 1:39:56 pm EST

Heidi Salguero (Pottstown) Age: 27 - Email

What people fail to understand is the difference between democracy -- a political system -- and capitalism -- an economic system. Anyone who believes deeply in democracy can and should fight to uphold it -- yes, through violent means if necessary. If a people are being systematically oppressed, tortured, and murdered by their government, we have a right to intervene. Because fighting man's inhumanity to man is EVERYONE'S responsibility. What no one on CNN or the evening news seems to want to say right out loud is that this impending 'war' is purely an economical one, as was the Gulf War. The focus of this attack we are planning is oil, not human rights, and that, my friends, is ALWAYS wrong.

War Is A Symptom Of Anti-Culture Jan 21st. at 1:18:48 pm EST

Erin Christine Rausch (Napa, CA) Age: 30 - Email - Web

Ophelia and Orlando: Picking at the Scab of Anti-Culture
2002 Erin Christine Rausch

"This is a terrific piece, and if I had a Corpse to put it in I would. Alas, the Corpse is in suspended animation for one year, while we print an anthology and CD from its benighted pixels. All the best, A.Codrescu" (Andrei Codrescu, known for works such as 'Road Scholar', 'The Muse Is Always Half-Dressed In New Orleans', and 'Blood Countess', commenting on my article 'Ophelia and Orlando: Picking at the Scab of Anti-Culture' in September 2002, quoted here with his permission.)

Ophelia has a Moment of Clarity, during which, she is determined, by the sociopaths who surround her, to have lost her mind. She is suddenly able to both acknowledge and eloquently express that she has lost her family to violent attempts towards controlling others beneath a facade of false altruism, that the socio-politically elevated role-model for the feminine is both timid and blindly opportunistic, and that she could see value in herself, even when her most intimate trust had been misplaced. What does not become clear to her in this moment is that her value as a person is relevent. Tragically, she falls into a pond and drowns afterwards. Could this be symbolic of being overtaken by her realizations? Could she have been pushed to her doom by an anonymous murderer? Or could she have been the only character in William Shakespeare's play 'Hamlet' who was not murdered? Perhaps she was overcome by her realizations, pushed over the edge figuritively (with literal results) by those she had confronted, and thus the foundation for an otherwise innocent accident was laid, answering 'yes' to all of those questions. Ophelia's mistake was in becoming too absorbed in what others around her wanted her to be and do, and then, upon becoming ovewhelmed, rejected her society, her roots, and lost her footing altogether. Had she stuck around, tended to her own person while still observing those around her, she would have remained standing while those around her were felled by their own plots in the end. She would have been able to further develop her hard-earned insight into human nature, and perhaps helped bring about positive changes within her society. Alas, she did not. She had her epiphany, ran away, and died, becoming immortalized as a teenaged rebel.

Virginia Woolf's character Orlando is castrated before his testicles have even fully dropped and kicked into gear. He is convinced that this will improve his vocal talent, and thus prove he has value as a person, sacrificing the value of his masculinity before it can even be realized. He can not be a woman, and wouldn't want to be even if he could because women are predominantly not valued as people in his society. However, by embracing Life as an andogynous eunich, rejecting before even knowing what he could love and achieve in Life as a whole man, he can hopefully achieve acceptance within this narrow niche. Surrounded by male role-models who frequently exude brutishness, beligerence, and visciousness, particularly towards those younger / smaller / weaker than themselves, such as a young lad, perhaps sidestepping one's own masculinity could be misconstrued as a means to not become a 'monster'. The possibility that no one, male or female, has to be a 'monster', that these thinking patterns and behaviors are choices, does not enter the picture in time. Of course, Orlando does achieve acceptance, transiently, as an icon, but not as a person, not as himself. He becomes immortalized as a teenaged conformist.

When Pop Culture occures, it is a cultural epiphany, a confrontational medium, a revolution. It plants seeds for free expression of and appreciation for both classical and alternative themes. But then something tragic happens. Ophelia runs off, overwhelmed, and drowns, afraid of what is happening, leaving her garden unattended. Orlando sacrifices his balls before he can use them, afraid of what he might become. The philosophy of Pop Culture becomes elusive, and thus degenerated. The transition from The Beatles to The Sex Pistols might be a fair example of this. (Incidentally, Jonny Lydon has produced extraordinary material since the end of The Sex Pistols.) When seeds are planted, and then abandoned, some grow into strong plantlife(or whatever other variable is placed here), while others become sickly as they grow through sprouthood, if they make it at all. These sick sprouts occasionally do survive, 'immortalizing' as a disease that can and does harm other plants. When Pop Culture is followed by Anti-Culture, this is what has happened.

Social anger, fear, and guilt are rarely without substance. Yet, when this warranted social (and self) dissatisfaction is used as an excuse to reject culture, rather than take responsibility for reforming it, it become superficial. Currently, Anti-Culture frequently sounds like a monotonous, whining, screeching, bout of hiccups erroneously advertised as 'music', or like "I'm a victim of society.", "My abusive / neglectful parents made me do ___" (fill in with anything from idiotic to evil), "There is no ___ ."(insert 'reality', or, more accurately 'perspective' - I assure you there is quite a bit of both), "Teen Angst", and "Peerpressure". Anti-Culture frequently looks like the symptoms of an oncoming migraine. It almost always contains slogans, and rarely ever any actual information, let alone genuine sentiment. It is mind-numbing, disenchanting, disinforming, and disempowering. Pop Culture is the wound exposed. Anti-Culture is the wound's excrement that has formed a scab, and inevitably flakes off. What is then revealed, after the scab is spent, is flesh and scar tissue, a detailed, accurate, substantial, unobscured view of what has happened, what is strong, what is healing, and what may need medicine. What specific type of medicine needed can even be determined at this point, as opposed to the general antiseptic of Pop Culture and bandage of Anti-Culture. We know this flesh underneath it all, the flesh that has been with us since the beginning, the flesh of our ancestors who have already seen Pop and Anti-Culture come and go thousands of times before we were born, this cultural flesh that will, through pleasure and pain, be with us to the end.

But that's just Diet Anti-Culture.

A full course meal of Anti-Culture can include suicide to genocide. It includes the adolescent compulsions to select ideologies that feed the ego during a time of insecurity and change, to be hypocritical and hypercritical, to host pep rallies to falsely justify their ideology through hyped up enthusiasm and protests against opposing ideologies to advertise their own without taking direct action, to compeat for and defend these ideologies to the point of degrading people who do not fit in with them, 'policing' them the way they feel their parents have or perhaps should, and even brutally enforcing these ideologies through theft, vandalism, beatings, rape, torture, 'gang' wars, terrorism, and sometimes even murder. Some teenagers will resort to selling illegal wares covertly to help fund their ideologies, then be shocked when their clientel comes back to haunt them, often violently. They are also frequently shocked when someone they have had in their grip explosively retaliates. Sometimes troubled teenagers go through rehabilitaion programs / regimes, the alumni of whom either progress beyond, sometimes even sharing what they've learned to help others heal / reform, while other alumni slide back into destructive patterns with blind opportunism.

In my lifetime so far, I have seen significant portions of international and infranational politics demonstrate destructive adolescent compulsions, ranging from the slight to the severe. Perhaps part of a solution to this is in the hearts and minds of adolescents. Teenagers who feel that what they have to offer intellectually, mentally, physically, and spiritually is valuable, tend to avoid engaging in destructive activities in order to protect their developing, contributable abilities. They thrive on exchanging their Poetry, whatever form it takes, with others who are also willing to do so. Whatever competiveness lies therein tend to wane rapidly under mutual appreciation, respect, and support. Conversely, teenagers who do not feel this sense of self-value tend to devalue others, wanting to drag down who they feel is enviable and demolish the pathetic. The irony is that valuable assets and abilities are usually what are employed in corrupt means to achieve these perverse ends. This observation implies that in order to stop destructive political patterns, we must start Valuing Culture.

Post Script Jan 21st. at 12:54:01 pm EST

Etain (Ohio) Age: 31 - Email

I do want to add something to what I said earlier. I do not believe in war as I have stated before. But I do feel our country needs to protect itself...of course it would be silly not to protect ourselves. But it would need to protect itself from an enemy that is clearly identified. It's not clear who the threat is. A group of terroists attacked us...yes, but they're dead. They have a connection with Bin Laden...yes, as far as we know. Does this tie into Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass tell me. That's a hell of a jump if you ask me.

I never heard the U.S. gov't's explaination on why they thought the terrost group was connected to Hussein and why we are after him again. Doesn't anyone else think that it's too much of a coincidence that we went through two terms of Clinton with no problems (except maybe keeping his p***er in his pants)and now we are doing the same dance with this guy in the Middle East?! I suspect retribution for pissing off daddy Bush in the early 1990's. If someone here knows all the answers please tell me. No seriously, tell me why we may be going to war. And please give some concrete, substantial evidence that doesn't point to oil, money, saving face for King George I, or retribution. I am all ears and would sincerely listen.

I must add that, technically, the men that attacked our country are DEAD!!! If our elite US intelligence & military knew the force behind these men (some claim to and some do not)then they could have gotten rid of them with out a war. Forgive me if I've read too much Tom Clancy, but the fact is that we have paid assassins in our military that do their job. They get their targets. What we have in this country is a propaganda problem.

There is a lot we don't know about folks. Every time you read or watch the news, question it! You're not being told the truth. Example: go to the article on the Vox about "UU President Wants to include God in creed" This is absolutely NOT true. I checked. The president had to send a statement of apology b/c the reporter quoted him incorrectly.

To the person that asked if "we vote". You bet I do. Every election, locally and nationally. But then I think you should direct that question to the thousands of black voters in Florida that voted and were erased from the voting rolls. But then that's another story.........

Morgan Winterfrost - On Canadians Jan 21st. at 12:28:07 pm EST

Tina Horn (Washington, DC/Columbia, MD) Age: 34 - Email

My grandfather fought in WW2 as a navigator on a B17 bomber called Boom Town. He worked with Canadian fighters in England and was always a little in awe of them. When we could get him to talk about it, he would say that they were "...the fiercest bastards..." (in a complimentary way). And he wouldn't have ever messed with someone from the Canadian forces. No draft up there, by the way, my fellow Americans, just volunteers.

Over 10,000 Years Of Evlolution?????? Jan 21st. at 12:23:53 pm EST

serindipity (Florida) Age: 40 - Email

Well, the human species has been evolving over 10's of thousands of years and this is the VERY BEST that we can do or accomplish as a species ---- PATHETIC!!!!

We as a species deserve mass exstiction if we cannot do any better than this!

A No Win Situation Jan 21st. at 12:18:40 pm EST

Tina Horn (Washington, DC/Columbia, MD) Age: 34 - Email

I think that, even if you win a war, you lose. Especially now, in the global village that we live in. There's not any way to win. I would love to live in a world where there were no war, and I don't know or understand what drives nations to war. That's probably hopelessly optomistic, but then, if you don't have a goal, you'll never get anywhere.

I do know that there are individual people who feel called, as strongly as a religious calling, to be warriors. I know that if my loved ones were directly attacked, I could defend them. I don't know if I could start something though...

No War! Jan 21st. at 11:47:15 am EST

Jo (CO) Age: 23 - Email

I think that war is the most useless, foolish, and foul thing ever created. I believe that all the weapons are terrible and I wish that science had not discovered most of them. Now, I understand that this war might help the ecconomy and all, but that just angers me. Why does killing mean that people will be able to get a job? It doesn't make sense. I'm the first to admit that I am very politically illiterate, so maybe that is why I don't understand.

I also hate the idea of war because not only do innocent people die, but so do plants and animals that just happen to be in the way. It is a completely painful process and I am very angry that this country is throwing itself in that direction. I wish that the people in charge could learn that killing their citizens is only a way to temporarily end a conflict. There has to be another way!!! To bad no one cares to discover what that might be.

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