"Peace Studies" Gone Bad · 16 December 2004


By Lee Kaplan--FrontPageMagazine.com--12/17/04

Three Indiana "Peace Colleges" are operating a Peace and Conflict Studies program, designed to undermine the United States' military and foreign policy. Among other things, these programs teach students how to become "conscientious objectors" to war and help enlisted men and women to shirk their duty in wartime. Manchester and Goshen universities call their programs the Plowshares Collaborative, while Earlham University claims its Peace and Global Studies program, which covers the same subject matter, is based in the school's Quaker ideals, as codified by the school's American Friends Service Committee. All three schools share a $13.8 million endowment from the Lilly Foundation.

The Plowshares Collaborative takes its name from a verse by the prophet Isaiah: "And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

But while pacifism is nothing new, such brazen, institutionalized opposition to U.S. national interests breaks with tradition. Moreover, the Bible does not teach pacifism. Jesus advised his disciples to take up arms in self-defense: "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one" (Luke 22:36).

Pacifists sometimes misrepresent biblical verses to support their advocacy of military non-response. In doing so, they ignore the real meaning of biblical pacifism. In the Fourth Century, St. Augustine wrote, "We do not seek peace in order to be at war, but we go to war that we may have peace."

The courses taught in programs like Plowshares use a scripted phrase to describe their goal: they purport to teach "peace and social justice." And, of course, what decent human being would be opposed to "peace and social justice?"

In truth, this catch phrase has become a slogan for seditious left-wing groups like International ANSWER, its parent group, the International Socialist Organization, and the multitude of Palestinian and Muslim solidarity groups who have set up camp in the U.S.. The anti-globalization movement, too, cloaks itself in the banner of "peace and social justice" in meetings like the World Social Forum, a conference of communist and anarchist groups funded by repressive regimes like North Korea, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and the Palestine Authority.

We can all agree that peace and justice are values to be cherished. Far less certain is whether campus programs like Plowshares provide the intellectual means to these ends -- or whether they do the exact opposite. On most accounts, the course materials focus less on preserving freedom and democracy, and more on blaming the U.S. for global conflicts. Revisionist historians busy themselves with blaming America for Pearl Harbor, for the bloodshed of World War II, and for 9/11.

To specialize in Peace and Global Studies at the undergraduate or graduate level, an Earlham College student must complete a course in "postcolonial theory." This refers to a specialty of Edward Said. A Palestinian activist who taught English literature at Columbia, Said wrote in Orientalism that only indigenous people could write the history of former colonies, given that Westerners displayed a "colonialist perspective." It is academic nonsense to discount scholarship based on nationality or race, but Said's untested theory paved the way for the America-as-imperialist perspective pushed in Middle East Studies courses these days and throughout much Liberal Arts education.

Marxist-oriented professors have become a self-fulfilling bureaucracy on our campuses. That is, they train students in Marxist ideology to go forth and multiply on other campuses. And why not? Such an outlook can only flourish in the ivory tower as Marxism fails in practice throughout the world. So, too, do the proponents of Peace and Conflict Studies strive to broaden the availability of their courses across the nation.

The 2004 website of the Peace and Justice Studies Association conference showcases programs that preach anti-globalization and characterize America as an "empire." Among the speakers is the University of San Francisco's Stephen Zunes, a virulently anti-American and anti-Israel professor. One panel deals with anarchism on a global scale, while an untitled program claims President Bush's policy in the Middle East is a "dangerous policy for an interdependent world." Evidently, the conference reflects just one side of peace and justice.

A panel open to high school student offers tips for anti-globalization activists. Another program stars non-academic activists Jim Haber of the war Resisters League. Haber has written that the US was unjustified in fighting World War II. Featured guests also include Mubarak Awad, who was deported by Israel because of his links to terrorism and promotion of violence.

Most appallingly, the "Peace Colleges" make no secret of their narrow approach to the broad subject at hand. The department website at Manchester University's Peace Studies program quotes leftists radicals like Noam Chomsky, Abbie Hoffman and Emma Goldman - and an excerpt from the Rage Against the Machine: "Yes I know my enemies! They're the teachers who taught me to fight me! Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission, ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite! All of which are American dreams..." The closest figure to offer an alternative viewpoint on the website is Martin Luther King Jr..

Now is the time for American taxpayers to look critically at the material presented as fact at our nation's colleges. Today's students are the next generation of leaders. How much longer can we afford to entrust their education to those who misinterpret "peace and justice?"
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Lee Kaplan is a contributing editor to Frontpagemag.com.