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 AFWW Newsletter #17  July 2010 - AFWW, Sarah Palin, Origin of War, Empathy

Conservative Women
Origins of War
Quotable Quote
"... one cannot prepare for war and expect peace."
- Albert Einstein

A Quick YouTube Video
Empathy - Audry Hepburn

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A Future Without War
Believe in it.
Envision it.
Work for it.
And we will achieve it.

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We want to provide newsletter readers with a reminder about our extensive website,

The materials can be a reference for personal use, something to share with friends or colleagues who doubt that it would ever be possible to abolish war, and as thought pieces to stimulate discussions, for example, by your students, a book group, or peace activist organizations. You will find on the site:
  • A Mission Statement
  • Capstone Essay: "To Abolish War"
  • "Overview" Essays - 7 essay explaining the core rationale for why it is reasonable to believe we could abolish war if we make it a priority.
  • "Cornerstone" Essays - 9 essays explaining each of the broad categories of "good works" that we need to attend to simultaneously in any campaign to abolish war and maintain that state into the future.
  • "The Books" - a Table of Contents, reviews, and FREE download of Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace, links to purchase that book and also A Future Without War: the Strategy of a Warfare Transition"
  • A Link to the AFWW Blog
  • A Map of Nonviolent Cultures
  • A Video of Dr. Hand
  • Several Movie and Book Reviews
  • Archives of  AFWW Newsletters
  • Links to over 150 Organizations involved in some aspect of the campaign to abolish war
  • Miscellaneous AFWW Essays
  • 7-Part Video Series - "No More War: the Craziest Idea Imaginable." Why we make war, Reasons to believe we could abolish war, A strategy of Constructive and Obstructive programs required to end war, How long it might take. (will be added in late 2010).
 These are titles of and links to current Miscellaneous AFWW Essays:
AFWW also now has three TWITTER pages: JudithHand, AFutureWOWar, and WagePeaceEndWar.  Please do join us at one or all of them.
BLOG - you can also sign up to receive our occasional blogs by e-mail.  The sign up link is halfway down the right hand column.
Why Are All Women Not Progressives?

The Rise of Conservative Women: An Unintended Consequence of the Women's Liberation Movement?

It's often said that actions begun in the late 1800's to give women the vote set off the "women's liberation movement."  In the United States, women have had the vote for just under 100 years. In that time they have fought for rights guaranteed for men: to vote, to get an education including higher education, to choose any profession they wish, to become business and political leaders.

It was progressive women who waged this struggle.  I'm using the word progressive simply, to refer to a person whose world view is open to accept change, as opposed to being conservative, which simply means the person's world view predisposes them to keep things the same...or even perhaps to change things back to some imagined "better time" in the past.

Now as the saying goes, the chickens hatched by the women's liberation movement have come home to roost.  As a result of the decade-long struggles of all those progressive women, women who are in no way progressive now have found their voice and are embracing their power, including political power. Most notably among recent examples are that force of nature, Sarah Palin, and also Carli Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Nikki Haley, Sharon Angle, and Michelle Bachman.

Is this good?  Is this bad?  For many women, and the men who have supported women's struggles for liberation and equality, it comes as a somewhat ironic example of unintended consequences.

So now as women, and the world, look into the future of a troubled humankind and the planet we inhabit, what role will the increased participation of women play-both progressives and conservatives-in shaping that future?
  • Will progressive women continue to seek changes for the better, including the abolition of such curses as poverty and war? 
  • Or will even progressive women sit back on the laurels of their past victories, satisfied that they have done enough?
  • If progressive women continue the struggle for positive change, will their efforts be effectively canceled by conservative women?
Which begs the question, "Why are all women not progressives?"  What drives Sarah Palin and her conservative female colleagues?  What lies behind the resonance so many women feel when Sarah Palin proudly talks about being a "mamma grizzly?"  In an essay, "Sarah Palin and Why All Women are Not Progressives", Dr. Hand addresses these questions from the perspective of human biology. As one reader put it after reading the essay: "At last I understand so many things that have puzzled me for so long about conservative women." Go to the Essay

Origins of War and Human Destiny

If we ever hope to abolish war, how we view ourselves and how we view our deep evolutionary history has significance.  If our men are born and bred warriors, if we are a species that became what it is today because it made war, hope for ending war and envisioning how we might do so becomes problematical. The man-the-warrior hypothesis, the one science has been embracing for quite some times, tilts us heavily toward pessimism.
But the times are a'changin.'  This view of humanity's deep past is being seriously questioned by recent date and reanalysis of old data. Check out this AFWW blog post for an update on the thinking about the origins of war, an issue that is critical to a campaign to end war. 

The New Buzzword - Empathy

Empathy is an ability that has many definitions.  It includes a concern for others, experiencing the emotions that others are feeling, basically being able to put oneself in another person's shoes that includes a desire to help them out.
Our capacity to have empathy, and it's importance for human social organization and for altruistic behavior so characteristic of humans, is explored fully in Sarah Hrdy's masterful book, Mothers and Others: on the Origins of Mutual Understanding. See our review of the book.

Any hope to ultimately eliminate war, including the basis for the nonviolent strategy used to end war, rests on the reality of empathy. Two AFWW essays explore this aspect of empathy:
      Essential Human Goodness
      Darwin, Gandhi, Obama, and Berkeley University's Greater Good Science Center all Agree - Humans are Basically Good
Empathic CivilizationNow we have two recent books that jump on the empathy bandwagon:

Jeremy Rifkin's The Empathic Civilization
, and Frans de Waal's The Age of Empathy
Even businesses are getting the idea that you'll sell more if you up your empathy. Dev Patnaik, Founder and Principal at Jump Associates writes a fascinating article "Innovation Starts with Empathy - The importance of developing deep connections with the people you serve."
You can use these resources to familiarize yourself with the wonderful human capacity to relate to the needs and desire of others: the roots of the behavior spring from our primate past (de Waal), the expression of the behavior is a keystone for our success as cooperative breeders (Hrdy), and empathy must and will play a primary role in any campaign to end war (the AFWW essays).
Links A Reminder About AFWW Links

Don't forget that AFWW has completed an initial listing of over 100 links to a selection of organizations in the vanguard of efforts to create a better future. These organizations have been selected not only because of the good work that they are doing, but because THEIR WEBSITE PROVIDES LINKS TO OTHER ORGANIZATIONS!  In other words, these organizations are a great "link resource" for you.

If you didn't check out the links earlier, here they are again. If you belong to or head up an organization, you may find your organization listed.  Check under the Nav Bar "Links and More".

A Future Without War
Contact Info
A Future Without War Dr. Judith Hand P.O. Box 270074, San Diego, CA 92198