Murphy: “Happy to. Shall we start by exploring how come, after all this time in academia, you still seem to be unwilling to dig into the rumors behind the meme?”
Kris: “When doing so gets you accused of murdering babies?”
Murphy: “They can accuse all they like, because my answer is, by failing to dig, you become a murderer of those children for real. No rumors need apply.”
Kris: “Dammit, Murphy! Isn’t making a living in academia hard enough these days?”
Murphy: “Thanks for the admission, Kris, and I had thought better of you than that. When concerns over ‘making a living’ become more important to a so-called intellectual than dispassionate acquisition and analysis of fact, then away with the Academy, and the academicians deserve to be done away with.”
Kris: “Well, that’s self-correcting. If you can’t make a living as an intellectual, who would become one?”
Murphy: “The ones that don’t have to make a living doing so. The scions of the wealthy. As has been the case throughout history. No one else need apply, and it can be argued that it’s personally and socially irresponsible for anyone else to try. Now that there aren’t any more monasteries or nunneries to ensure that the costs to society of impecunious individuals attempting to enter the thinking classes are minimized.”
Kris: “Your assaults on my character aren’t getting that antagonistic picture of yours explained. I thought that historians and sociologists had, despite appearances, identified the period after the Second World War as the ‘Long Peace’, and that peace appears to have been prosperous enough to allow you and me to survive in academic circles long enough to gain tenure.”
Murphy: “While cooking the world in the process, and ensuring that few of the survivors of that cooking will have the wherewithal, or public support, to follow in our footsteps. Yes, there’s been a Long Peace. For those of us who have been living in the richest countries in the world.
“For the poorer countries, it’s rather a different story. And, to quote directly from the analysts, “This good fortune at home, coupled with the complexities of foreign interventions, go a long way to explaining the difficulty of mobilizing ‘political will’ in the richer countries to recognize, let alone meaningfully address, the complex problems associated with armed conflicts in the poorer countries’.
“And what types of war are we talking about? Not the big international conflicts that generate all the worship – yes we do, look at all the profits Hollywood makes from war movies, so don’t even think about arguing with me on this – but the little local wars, especially the revolutionary wars in which one aggrieved party finally gets to the point where it’s got no alternative to extinction except warfare. And those wars are getting more frequent. Along with the ethnic wars that amount to the same thing, except that it’s an ethnic instead of a political group that feels like it’s been backed into a corner and has no option but fighting.
“And what have all the peace movements in this country since the 1960s contributed to this? The universal refrain, Keep your hands off my stuff! And if somebody dares to press their claims loudly enough, like people of color, or women, or labor unions, or the Sanders movement during the 2016 elections, or the demonstration at Speaker’s Corner last week that had the temerity to slow down traffic and got the police slamming down on them as a result, what do they get told? How dare you disturb the peace?!?”
Kris: “So you want all these people to start shooting at each other?!?”
Murphy: “We shoot enough of us, global warming might actually get to slow down. Of course I don’t want that! But as far as I’m concerned, the ‘peace’ movements of the last several decades have made that outcome pretty much inevitable. Not for nothing did Ambrose Bierce define ‘Peace’ as ‘an interval of cheating between two periods of fighting’, and ‘War’ as ‘a byproduct of the arts of peace’. Nobody wants peace, except as a means for a person to ensure minimum interference with the quest for personal advantage. If we all wanted peace, we would all endure the hard work to ensure that all persons had ample material and emotional reasons to support the social status quo. Even if that effort cost us, however temporarily, some advancement of our own. And even given the likelihood that there aren’t enough material resources on the planet to effect that goal – at least, not without some serious commitment to population control.”
Kris: “For which, throughout history, the only socially acceptable controls have been drought, famine, pestilence, and …”
Murphy: “War. Our worship of which, that we profess through media of all types plus our celebrations of ‘the sacrifice of our soldiers’ (they sacrifice so we don’t have to), declares how comprehensive is our acceptance. Declares our ‘peace’ movements to be the filthiest of hypocrisies, serving only to make the wars they make inevitable more devastating, to train the warriors that will fight them on whom to do the most damage, how to effect it, and why. Did that bottle get opened?”
Kris: “An hour ago. I would have mentioned it if I could have gotten a word in edgewise.”
Murphy: “Order another. Two might be enough for us tonight.”
Kris: “Or not.”