Reference the recent letter about militarization of youth and eternity [“The Militarization of Our Children,” May 23, Xpress]: The ideals of peace, freedom, wisdom, culture and education have always struggled side by side with the threats imposed by man’s inhumanity to man, aggression, cruelty and selfishness.
History clearly demonstrates over and over that the ideal culture can only exist and thrive in a secure, well-defended situation. The late St. John Paul II once wrote in a historical thesis that over a period of 3,380 years, there were only 240 years without a war. That’s because there will always be those tyrants and aggressors who think they can succeed by taking advantage of weaker or unprepared nations. They seek better resources, nicer weather, access to warm seaports, revenge or “Lebensraum,” in the case of Adolf Hitler.
But it doesn’t take 3,380 years to show this factor in human existence. Just look at the last 100 years. World War I, “the war to end all wars,” had hardly ended when Hitler was already plotting the next war. He only succeeded as far as he did because no one else was ready when he attacked. If Hitler himself would have been more educated, he would surely have realized that eventually the world would turn against him and come back and destroy his own country. But such “leaders” are very shortsighted.
The list of dictators and aggressors is very long, and their death toll on the world is counted in the millions. We already mentioned Hitler; then there was Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, etc., etc.
There is another very disturbing trend in the history of conflict, which has become apparent in recent history. As world population increases, not only the number of people killed in wars has increased, but more alarming is that the percentage of the world population killed has also increased. Thus we face the threat of self-extinction if these trends continue.
So wisdom demands that we acknowledge these risks to freedom, civilization, culture, etc., in our education system so we have the capability within our country to defend ourselves.
There is one thing aggressors respect, and that is someone who is prepared and ready to defeat them. That capability comes with the requirement that we prepare our young people to deal with these very real threats to our own existence. Preparing young people to defend our country is not keeping them from learning. It is making their education more realistic and comprehensive.
— Paul Lang