“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of a moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse,” wrote political philosopher John Stuart Mill in the 19th century. “A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight — nothing he cares about more than his own safety — is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
The “miserable creature” has reared its ugly head once more in the form of the San Diego Veterans for Peace. The group has launched an effort to end the Miramar Air Show within the next five years because it supposedly “promotes war” and teaches our children that “military action is a solution to our problems.”
Instead of showcasing our military might, wrote Veterans for Peace member Dave Patterson in the Union-Tribune, “We need our youth thinking out of the box if we hope that they will get us out of this cycle of endless war.”
Oh, to live in such delusion.
Yes, we should teach our children peace. We should also get a solid eight hours of sleep each night, drive within the speed limit and eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. But that’s not reality.
There are, and always have been, forces against peace — no matter how many times Patterson and his buddies sing “Kumbaya” in a drum circle. Despite our best efforts to “think out of the box” and create a peaceful world, the likes of Adolf Hitler, Slobodan Milosevic and Osama bin Laden still exist. And you don’t stop them by holding hands and listening to John Lennon. The real world is nothing like a kindergarten playground where everyone gets a turn and we all must share.
Peace, like freedom, is won — often at the cost of life and limb. Those who volunteer to make that sacrifice deserve our respect, honor and appreciation at events like the Air Show. Such displays give us a glimpse into all they do to ensure our freedom and, yes, our peace.
While Patterson and the Veterans for Peace boycott, the rest of us will be saluting the sky. That’s where the “better men” will be — this year, next year and five years from now.