This work is dedicated to the people of the world as a forcible and enforceable statement of the causes and cures of war. It was written in the expectation that the mass mind, so credulous to the well-phrased falsehood, will be as credulous to the well-phrased truth. It was published anonymously, so that all may claim it as their own insofar as they live its truth, and so many authors must remain nameless.
War is man's violent diversion from his own self-division. It is the defense of a society which, not having given human life sufficient dignity, dignifies taking it; it is the defense of a society who's Institutions, having replaced individual responsibility, assume that the individual is irresponsible, and so by means of fear, seek to repress the depravity that fear itself creates.
The Church has become the spiritual institution which fails in its duty to correct man's faith. The school has become the mental institution which conditions man to depravity. The State has become the moral institution which exists for the repression of man's depravity. The military has become the Amoral Institution of the society which releases that depravity which the State so ineffectively represses. The Economy has become the material institution which exploits man's depravity. It is based on the premise that man's resources are limited, while his desires are unlimited, and that the situation, by manipulation, can be kept this way. The economy's most lucrative manufacture is the public opinion that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and eternal super-subsidizing of armaments the price of eternal vigilance. The economy is the basic institution of a society whose basic drive is material possession, for man strives to possess matter when he does not possess what matters; material possession is an impoverished substitute for self-possession.
War is a disorder of enforced order within a society whose institutions, having become their own end, are their own mutual reinforcement. The fear which allows the individual to relinquish his responsibility to institutions is that which allows him to defend their status quo with blind ferocity. Such fear allows those who profit from the status quo to maintain the status quo by playing on this fear in war games.
The only unity of a society with discord within is discord without, and the emergency dictatorship of the status quo for which this discord without is a pretext. If gunfire cannot weld dissident elements, it can shoot them down.
Thus, the poor and the youth make soldiers and corpses of the first rank: the poor because they desire what the rest of the society has; the youth because they do not. The poor threaten the society as the embodiment of its false ideals accepted, the youth as the embodiment of its true ideals forsaken. The first to die defending their country from its enemies are those whom their country has deemed the enemies of its status quo.
An enemy is a screen on which our own depravity is projected and enacted; not one whom we defend ourselves against, but one whom we defend ourselves by. (That which needs defending does not deserve it.)
War has for centuries been defended as the greatest means to end all wars. After centuries of wars to end all wars, this defense is finally justified; with the technology developed from centuries of wars to end all wars, this last century has developed the war that can end all.
War has been defended as the greatest catalyst to man's ingenuity, since some of his greatest technological breakthroughs have come during war. War is not the greatest catalyst to man's ingenuity, but the greatest result; for men, to war, have had to rationalize themselves into directing their creative power for destructive ends - probably their own.
War has been defended as that which defends the future freedom of our children, when it is our children who die without freedom of choice, defending their future freedom without their present freedom to live. War cannot be defended as the defense of freedom, for life, which it destroys, is the essential freedom, without which none other can exist.
War has been defended as the defense of just causes. It is assumed that God will be on the side of the just; but in war, there is only one side - the side of destruction. All want God on their side, but who is on the side of God?
War has been defended as the necessary release for the depravity of human nature. There is no depravity in human nature, but in the human artifice which distorts it, and causes man to fear himself. Fear is the subconscious result of insufficient self-realization. Self realization is the individual responsibility of every man, and war is the result of shirking this responsibility by identifying the self with the society, instead of identifying the society with the self. War is the result of the inward conflict of a society, and the inward conflict of a society is the result of the inward conflict of its individual members.
Peace is attained when force given superfluous and destructive outward expression is used in its own inward control. The real terms for peace are not settled upon, but acted upon. The only valid peace movement is that which moves men to outlaw war in their daily lives. The battlefront is right in front of us; war begins where charity ends, and that is often in the home.
We must come out from behind our barriers, reflecting the light of our common humanity, and knowing that such naked light will not disclose the darkness of our natures, but displace it; thus we shall reinforce, instead of our mutual wall, our mutual will to peace. The fearful hatred which we do not feel we will not see in our enemy, for the fearful hatred that he does not see in us he will not feel in himself, and we need never use again the weapon of war. Trust, a calculated risk, will bring forth good - uncalculated and incalculable.