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The President's Corner

To my knowledge, the earliest Double-Think slogan was coined by the Romans: ‘If you want peace, prepare for war.’ On second thought, there is no open-and-shut case of deliberate deception against the Romans, because all they said was, ‘If you want peace…’ They didn’t say you were going to get it by preparing for war. Since then, we’ve had 2000 years of civilization, 2000 years of wanting peace (at least by most people), 2000 years of preparations for war, 2000 years of war.

War used to be sold as war: for its glory, for its patriotism; for its manliness. It looked as if people might stop buying. War is now packaged as peace. The modern public relations oriented version of the Roman adage is ‘If you are preparing for war, talk peace.’ Peace is ‘in’ as never before in history. The slogan of the American Air Force is “Peace is our profession’. The MX missile has been christened “The peacemaker”. the Russians have made their contribution to peace by balancing the power equation in Europe, and the Americans have made an even bigger contribution by balancing the imbalance brought about by the Russians’ balancing act. Both superpowers are cooperating to preserve the equilibrium, but some equilibria are more equilibrated than others.

Another public relations gimmick of the defence community is to ‘Talk Science’. To be sure, some people are mad at science, blame it for the threat of omnicide hanging over us and for the rape of the planet. But science talk still impresses, because that is the way experts talk, and a lot of people believe the expert ought to know.

An objective of SCIENCE FOR PEACE is to disconnect the pipeline from science to war and connect a pipeline from science to peace. The pipeline from science to war carries death-spewing gadgets and Double-Think. General Eugene J. Carroll put it neatly at the October Conference on Nuclear War in Vancouver. The scientists, he said, invent something. The engineers say they can build it. The military says they’ve got to have it. This is the way the gadgets get made and delivered.

Then some one points out that the gadgets are useless: they always shoot both ways. Here is where Double-Think takes over. The strategists say that the gadgets are still needed, because that’s the only way to make sure tney aren’t used. When it appears even to some strategists that this doesn’t make sense, they think up ways of using the gadgets to make them shoot in one direction more than in the other, to prevent war by a preventive strike. Or else the military clamour for new gadgets to prevent the use of the gadgets that might be used to prevent war by a preventative strike.

The pipeline from science to peace should carry few, if any, gadgets. It should carry mainly knowledge and ways of thinking to help make people immune to Double-Think. — A.R.

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