I love visiting bookstores. I spent my childhood living next to a public library and reading is still a pastime that is both educational and enjoyable for me. Last week while visiting the Tempe, Arizona area I was able to spend some time at the Changing Hands Bookstore on McClintock Avenue there. Changing Hands is a great store. They sell a large selection of books, cards and even some bumper stickers. One of the books I purchased there was called, “Peace Prayers.” It’s filled with prayers and quotes from Gandhi, Martin Luther King, St. Francis of Assisi and dozens of other writers and thinkers. I like this quote by Albert Einstein who may not be usually associated with peace. “Think of what a world we could build if the power unleashed in war were applied to constructive tasks! One-tenth of the energy that the various belligerents spent in the war, a fraction of the money they exploded in hand grenades and poison gas, would suffice to raise the standard of living in every country and avert the economic catastrophe of worldwide unemployment. We must be prepared to make the same heroic sacrifices for the cause of war. There is no task that is more important to my heart.”
In the United States war is good for our economy and we’ve seen to it to keep creating enemies to sustain the war machine. This year we will appropriate nearly $700 billion for war. Imagine how much good we could do with a fraction of that money. Of the money spent world-wide on war, the United States spends nearly 50% of the total. Few Americans realize that most of our tax dollars go to the care and feeding of the war machine and not to the care and feeding of our citizenry. Our war machine is bankrupting the country and is counter-productive to our real national interests. “Every gun that is made, every warship lauched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.” -Dwight Eisenhower.
For more information consult the Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities website.