Buying Peace
January 18, 2007
by William P. Meyers

"Honesty is the best policy, but few people can afford the best things in life."

I've seen civil disobedience. Publications - newspapers, pamphlets, magazines, books. Rallies and marches. Insurgent campaigns inside the Democratic Party and third party campaigns, most recently Green Party.

Nothing has lowered the level of corruption in the United States. Politics was corrupt here in the colonial legislatures before the revolution. The very first Congress under the new Constitution was a festival of corruption. There have been reforms over the centuries, but the growing inequality of wealth in the United States of America has always more than compensated for any legal reforms.

Maybe it is time to take a clue from the people who have a consistent batting average over the past two hundred years.

Maybe it is time to go shopping.

Maybe we should buy what we want.

Maybe we should buy Peace.

How much would peace cost? It is hard to say, since Peace is not wrapped in a bow, sitting in a glass case, with a price tag on it. It is something we would have to bid for in auction. The auction requires acquiring a collection, a set. We would need to have the winning bid on the President of the United States, a majority of Senators and U.S. Representatives, and a number of auxiliary figures. It might help to buy at least one major television news network as well.

So you can buy Peace for approximately however much money was spent in running for national offices in the 2004 round of elections.

Clearly not enough was spent trying to buy Peace in the 2006 elections. Some Democrats were bought, but they have not stayed bought. We would need to buy people who are clearly, irrevocably Peace candidates. Which means not relying on incumbents who are willing to take peace money but not really sell us peace.

Let us be clear, as well, about what we mean by Peace. I know what I mean. The complete cessation of U.S. aggression abroad, including withdrawing from all military bases that are not on U.S. soil. Plus an amendment to the Constitution making it illegal for the U.S. to take any military action that is not purely defensive in nature. Like the one the Japanese Constitution has, at least for now.

The great thing about buying Peace would be that, were we successful, their would be a Peace Dividend. Lower Pentagon costs would result in either more money to spend on the public good, or lower taxes. Having made financial sacrifices to buy Peace, I'll probably be needing the dividend in the form of lower taxes.

The cost, for a single election cycle, assuming the campaign is run by the best paid mercenaries and not by the Peace Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, would be a mere $4 billion dollars. That is not much when you spread the cost around. $1 billion apiece from 4 billionaires. Or $100 each from 40 million people. Realistically it would have to be a blend of donations at all levels.

But, alas, the peaceniks of the United States are scattered and confused. All too many belong to the ancient, traditional Party of War Crimes, the Democratic Party. Giving $4 billion to the Democratic Party to buy peace would be like giving Hitler the Sudetenland. It would not buy peace for long.

Still, it is a concept worth developing. Remember, Congressmen are for sale. Presidential candidates too. If you don't buy them, someone else will.