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« From the comments | Main | Senator Loses Handgun »

From the Comments: Department of Peace

Linda Henderson wrote in the comments to "Department of Peace":

Well, it seems clear why this column is named the "Uninvited" Ombudsman. The dismissive and arrogant nature of your report on the Dept of Peace legislation (HR 808), was heavy on the superficial fiscal critique, without analyzing in depth the reality of spending our tax payer money on the wrong end of the equation.

The World Health Organization identified that we spend $300,000,000,000 a year on interpersonal violence in this country alone.

What is so scary for you about having our government research the underlying causes of this violence and address them on the front end? Nonviolent conflict resolution is not a left or right issue...it is a less expensive means to a less expensive end. Rather than falsely conjuring up fears about more bureaucracy and people taking away your guns...perhaps you could bring yourself to consider the wisdom of this proactive initiative to address murder, rape, domestic assaults, gang violence, racial violence, school shootings, prison overcrowding, mental health crisis, homelessness...the list goes on.

As to your allegation that the Defense Dept would have to clear everything with the Dept of Peace before it could act...this is simply not supported by a reasonable reading of the legislation...which by the way...this supporter of the bill has in fact done many times.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply to my assessment of the Dept. of Peace proposal. On re-reading it I see it is a bit more snide than I would prefer. Thanks for making me aware of that. Further proof that, despite the rumors, I'm only human.

As to your other points,

1- In reviewing the merits of the proposal, I saw no need, as you suggested, to examine existing federal spending patterns (a huge subject worthy of scrutiny to be sure), so there is none. The gigantic spending proposal for DOP was a sufficient topic in and of itself.

The WHO "interpersonal violence" budget (spending?) figure you quote seems highly politicized and not germane, but I imagine it would make a fascinating study I'm sure. What does it comprise? Who spends the most? On what exactly? Protection and aggression costs combined?

2- I agree that creating a think tank to study the issues you single out (murder, rape, domestic assaults, gang violence, racial violence, school shootings, prison overcrowding, mental health crisis, homelessness, etc.) is a good idea, and in fact many exist, including the Institute of Peace already within the govenment. Huge sums are already lavished on these never-ending issues.

I'm not so sure however about the wisdom of sending us headlong further along a path of the nanny state, social welfare, social engineering, big government and increased spending. This is a cabinet-level position with policy making powers and broad, sweeping authorities. That is so far from "having our government research the underlying causes of this violence" as you put it as to be in different worlds.

Most of the ills you site are the clear province of the states, i.e., crime control. We are a government of limited, delegated powers, are we not? This is what has made us different from others, to the betterment of everyone. Failure to recognize and observe this founding principle continues to get us in trouble. Increasingly, driven by mindless media and ambitious politicians, people think government should do whatever a majority may wish even on a whim. It is not a path to continue pursuing. It is not the proper role of government. It moves us toward demise, not health.

3- The balance of power between this cabinet position and the Defense Dept. is so vague that on those grounds alone the current language has little chance of advancing. If enacted as currently written, a power struggle between the two (and between other powers) seems innevitable, and will depend more on who's in power than rule of law, a situation I can't imagine anyone championing -- if they were cognizant of the possibilities.

4- At the risk of again seeming arrogant, the whole bill is so far left and utopian, and is being promoted by such a left fringe from its chief sponsor on down, that it should be summarily defeated and free up time for serious work. But I think it makes people feel good, so it will likely linger independent of merits. Pursuing its goals with private funding though would be delightful. Is the only plan to force money from the public through taxation to pursue these agendas? Where is the moral legitimacy in using force to finance the Dept. of Peace? That's so wrongheaded I'm out of adjectives.

5- That said, I welcome the chance to "research, facilitate and articulate peaceful nonviolent solutions to conflict," which is the sales line for the bill, but not its written content. I'd discuss the content too, but found its supporters ignorant of the subject and unwilling to go there.

6- For example, what powers are actually conveyed here:

The Dept. shall (6) take a proactive, strategic approach in the development of policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution of conflict, and structured mediation of conflict;

The Secretary shall-- (1) work proactively and interactively with each branch of the Federal Government on all policy matters relating to conditions of peace;

Perfect work for The Uninvited Ombudsman -- peeling the onion's layers.

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Comments

darf

Who needs another money sucking, do nothing government agency? NO ONE. Sure as hell not me. Problem can be simply solved. Build a wall. Keep illegals out. Round up and imprison gangs, politicians, nanny staters, aclu, peta, hsus, enviro whackos and al gore. 90% of all laws on the books are un-constitutional, get rid of them. That will solve many of the ills of this great land.

Alan Korwin

Although your comments appear intentionally web-excess styled, many Americans frustrated with the way things are don't disagree with you in principle. Now, if you write with a bit more decorum, and adhere to the basic constitutional principles you say you favor, you should try for ink in mainstream media and have an effect, instead of just venting. Go for it.

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About the Author

  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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