Daily Archives: October 10, 2011

The Normalcy of War In Our Times

I was thinking about how when I was growing up, at least from the time I became conscious of world events, my country has been at war more often than it has not. My socio-political views were shaped by the Cold War with the Soviet Union during the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Vietnam War during the mid-60s to early 70s, the conflicts in Nicaragua, Lebanon, Caribbean, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. Add them up: I count eight. Those were just the wars/conflicts fought outside of our borders. Just as influential to my formation were the race riots in our own cities during the mid-60s, the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy.

War has become the norm, not the abhorred exception.

I have wondered about this. What effect has the reality of war had on our social fabric as Americans, especially the development of our attitudes on family and marriage and what effect has our change in experience of marriage and family had on our global activities with other nations?

I would imagine some might think there is such a remote relationship between the personal experience of relationship and the country’s experience on the world stage that such questions are irrelevant or trivial. I for one think there are important connections.

Let me explain. Anyone who is continually subjected to distress/anxiety eventually will either become unaware of its corrosive effects, only to collapse from within, or that person will externalize that distress in a reactive or defensive manner. Furthermore, continual exposure to distress leads to a lessening of the natural avoidance of distressing situations and a corresponding increase in an opposing force which essentially is an experience of release carrying with it a certain level of pleasure.

If as a country we are continually exposing ourselves to the horrors of war, we eventually decrease our natural avoidance of such killing and experience an increase in “pleasurable” release that such actions can bring. In other words, winning a war brings us a high.

We weren’t created to find pleasure in war. It is not in our nature. It is in our corrupted nature perhaps, but not integrative to the human person.

I have come to think that such national behavior filters down into family life. The tolerance for unhealthy conflict increases and our capacity to then inflict harm on ourselves, be it our marriages or our families, also increases.

Marriage, as an institution upon which family is built, then either implodes from inner corrosion, or it explodes into conflict that tears it apart.

It is my thesis that if we really want to have healthy families, strong marriages and a stable society, then we have to stop shooting at neighboring nations.

Just stop shooting. Don’t pull the trigger. Save a life and a whole bunch of money.

God knows our families need both: life and money.

One of the biggest delusions we have is there are too many people out there (i.e., too much life) and that there is not enough money to care for each other. There is more than enough money –  it is just we as a nation are spending it foolishly; and we need more life, more living, and a lot less killing…. a lot less killing not only on the battlefield but in the abortion mills and the divorce courts and the living rooms of our families.

Let us pray for peace. God bless all of you.