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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Which is a bigger waste of time--answering a bumper sticker or commenting on a blog?

No need to decide--I did both! Eli at Left I on the News has a post about a bumper sticker he saw which said "War has never solved anything - except for ending slavery, Fascism, Nazism, and Communism." You can read his reaction on his blog; my reaction is here:
I know I'm probably wasting my time arguing with a stupid bumper sticker, but here goes. First, none of those four things have truly ended. True slavery still exists in many places around the world, and much sweatshop and field labor is little different from slavery. I've seen fascism defined as a corporate state, and that seems to be largely what we have in the US now, as well as in other forms in Japan, China, and elsewhere. Nazism would seem to combine fascism with racism and militarism, and certainly neither racism nor militarism have disappeared. And Marxist communism has rarely been tried, having generally been the professed ideology of totalitarian regimes. If the sticker refers to countries that call themselves communist, then the largest by population, China, is still going strong.

If by communism the sticker refers to the Soviet Union, the Mujahadeen war in Afghanistan might get the most credit. That's right, bumper-sticker guy--Osama beat communism! Of course, it's beginning to look like, in conjunction with his soulmate George W. Bush, he may defeat capitalism the same way.

And, of course, the wars only "solved" things for millions of people by removing them from this mortal coil for ever. Plus, most wars, whatever successes may be claimed for them, only provided the seeds for the next war: World War I led to Nazism and World War II; World War II increased the scope of Soviet communism and American capitalism, leading to the cold war; and the end of the cold war led to the "war on terror."

I'll confess to having lived a sheltered life, never having experienced slavery, fascism, nazism, communism, or war up close and personal. I'm guessing that bumper-sticker boy hasn't either. But from books I've read and people I've talked to, almost nothing is worse than war. People have given power to the Nazis, the Taliban, and the Republicans in order to protect them from the ravages and chaos of war.