Wednesday, April 2, 2008

War, what is it good for?

"A nation that continues to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death".

Dr. Martin Luther King

What do you think? Is he prophetic? Is a high priority on military spending the right path for a nation? Or is this a misplaced value of our democracy?


Steve said...

I will always believe that as long as evil exists, there will not only be war, but often a need for war. For example, the biggest mistake we made in WWII was not getting involved earlier.

Jesus Himself is described as a mighty warrior...

As for spending money on social programs, I think history has shown mixed results. Some are actually good and necessary, and others were complete debacles. Either way, money by itself is never the solution.

Of course, I am speaking as a typical political conservative. But even though I do not consider myself a hardcore or typical conservative, the fundamental premises of political conservatism are mostly sound.

KG said...

So you are saying that you disagree with Dr. King?

Let me make sure I hear you. It is not a problem to spend more money on guns than on food and shelter for people as a nation.

Just asking? I'm not saying that I disagree with you, but something just doesn't sound right about that.

Steve said...

I disagree with Dr. King. I know that's sacrilege!

His comment assumes that there is no such thing as a just war.

I'll use WWII as a less complicated example. At that moment in time, the number one priority on the planet was to stop Hitler.

Had we held back and not built lots of guns and tanks and ships and planes, we would all be speaking German today and there wouldn't be any minorities to talk about, because Hitler would have liquidated them all.

So King's statement is terribly simplistic.

That's not to say that it's OK to spend billions per day on the Pentagon budget to the neglect of people. I'm not advocating that. And again, there have been very effective programs at various times in recent history.

But if LBJ's Great Society taught us anything, it's that simply putting money into problems is not the answer. Government programs are not the cure all. That entire concept has been so thoroughly disproved.

I think a society that lives in the real worls knows it has to put money into defense and it has to invest in its people. Sometimes how to prioritize those things gets tricky. But if we have no "guns" (military) the reality is there are bad guys out there who will come and take our nation away. Then what happens to the poor?

Polarized statements such as Dr. King's that create false dichotomies (either defense OR people) are not helpful at all, in my opinion.

Steve said...

And this... Does spending money on "programs of social uplift" = spiritual life?

I agree that they're good and necessary, and show a cxoncern for the poor, but do they really equal spiritual life? Or are they merely a component of caring for people?