On Violence



Hanna Newcombe

The remedy? (We did say that peace research aims to prevent, not only predict, the ravages of disease.) First, the bringing up of children in a loving, caringly permissive, and consistent moral environment, in which adults set good examples rather than merely preaching about right conduct and character.

Secondly, avoiding propaganda attempts to dehumanize anyone, even if it at first sight some individual leaders seem to deserve it; and resisting mentally the influence of such propaganda if it is beamed at us. (“The truth shall set you free”, says the Bible.)

Thirdly, never performing acts that we are ordered to do without first measuring them against the yardstick of our moral conscience, regardless of the exalted or superior social positions of the person ordering it. This may involve active civil disobedience at times, even at great personal danger; but we are obliged to do it under the higher law of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal’s precepts.

Fourthly, trying to prevent crises or stressful situations or mutual frustrations; this may involve international (United Nations) mechanisms of preventive diplomacy or preventive peace-keeping.

Fifthly, staying away from fanatical beliefs of any kind; never claiming absolute truth for which we must fight, perhaps even giving up on the Utopia of a future perfect world. Leonard Cohen (“The Future”) warns us: “Forget your perfect offering…There is a crack in everything…that’s how the light gets in.”


How Things Come Together is a collection, in three parts, of essays and occasional writings by Hanna Newcombe.


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