As my government begins to rattle sabers to enter another war, the Italian senate rejected an effort last month to halt the purchase of 90 new F-35 fighter jets which will cost 11.8 billion euros over 45 years. The controversy came up because Italy has the largest debt burden of any nation in Europe, national budgets for social welfare are being slashed and, as our aunt Daura with a fighter mechanic son attests, the planes totally suck. Unmoved by criticism, the Italian Defense Minister Mario Mauro justified his unwavering support for the order by saying that “weapons are not good or evil by themselves. There are, however, adequate or inadequate military instruments…” Indeed. Just check out how many bombs you can put on this thing:
How do we know if we know if we have adequate instruments for peace? Living in a world hellbent on internationally-sanctioned imperial suicide, sometimes we forget what instruments of peace even look like. Perhaps they are truly gorgeous and inspiring moments?
Yes, but beautiful moments are fleeting. Perhaps instruments of peace are also reminders of our fragility, our place as creatures among other creatures who live in interdependent cycles of life and death without instruments of war?
Sure, but often we start to focus on our singularity and specialness as humans when nature disappoints or mystifies us. Perhaps instruments of peace are also communities of people who support each other, who sit down and talk about God and their dreams together, who stick together.
But sometimes when people get especially close with the people they love, they can forget that there’s a whole lot of other people out there needing love and support and tools to build a revolutionary future. Another tool to peace must be loving your community, handing out what you have to complete strangers and working on something you barely understand together.
Adequate instruments for peace need to be worked, need to be tried and tested and shared. Instruments of war always bring the same results after being tried over and over and over again. They’re all inadequate. They don’t bring people back from the dead and they never resolve the problems they were sold to solve. Just think of what we could do in this world by averting the effort, sacrifice and eventual destruction created by 90 new F-35s. More people need to try out living in beautiful places, close to nature and natural rhythms, where communities of mutual aid teach them about the hard work of creating peace. They need to be invited to these places and they need to trust that these places are for real. We need tons of these places in networks with each other, reaching out to more and more people and bringing leaders to their knees. I plan to create one of those places, starting here on this farm, and though I know the task is daunting and sometimes hard to explain, I believe we have adequate tools to start. Except perhaps the cash value of one of those F-35’s taillights or something.