The Beyond War movement aimed to build consensus around the idea that war is obsolete, that we end it or it ends us. This movement saw hope in the idea that when a new idea arrives in a population a small percentage is open and adopts it. This group they referred to as early adopters.
Market research established that if 5% of the population adopts an idea it is embedded in the culture. When 20% adopt it is unstoppable, it will spread of its own momentum.
In building consensus it is obvious that the appropriate target for persuasion is early adopters. Focusing on late adopters – those who will resist, deny with tenacity to the very end before, maybe, finally coming around – would be a waste of energy.
Unfortunately we are in a situation at a critical moment in history where late adopters in the U.S. hold a crippling majority in the Senate and fully occupy the White House. A fair election would decisively change that arrangement but since this zealous minority has shown it will create as many obstacles as possible to prevent fair elections, a greater than usual effort needs to be funneled into the electoral process.
In the 80s when Beyond War was born, the major threat to our species was nuclear war. That has not diminished and may have gotten worse.
Climate change along with increasing population must now be factored in as major threats. This latter has a particular role in the COVID-19 pandemic as expanding population relentlessly encroaches on wilderness habitat releasing or transferring deadly stuff our way. The central faith of late adopters seems to be in laissez faire capitalism – the very driver of climate change, blind militarism, and the need for desperate individuals to encroach on wilderness.
It seems true that we end war or it ends us. It is also seems true that we end laissez faire capitalism, unbridled consumption, and overpopulation or they will end us.
Image Credit: Editorial cartoon of a big money taking a bite out of the earth on Earth Day was created by the author, © Tom Ferguson.