NOTE: For these 6 Finale videos, there is no accompanying written essay that matches each video, because the videos are each presentations given extemporaneously, with charts. The following text is a detailed synopsis of the video that doesn’t include all of the video’s material but that also contains much additional material not included in the video.

While the first two videos of the Finale presented the first element of the Paradigm for Peace model, the Roots of Violence, this video examines the second element of the model: the Mental, Legal, and Physical Escalators of Violence. Escalators of Violence are those factors that make it more likely a person, group, or government will choose violence in response to their defensive fears or aggressive desires.

Personally, I am most familiar with the Escalators of US Violence, which is what I discuss in this video. However, those familiar with the Escalators of Violence in other nations are welcome to apply this same framework. Most likely, many nations are suffering from similar types of Escalators of Violence to varying degrees.

Mental Escalators are the numerous conditions of mind and heart that distort our attitude towards truth and cripple our ability to connect with and care for others. In general, Mental Escalators create a negative attitude toward other people, animals, and other parts of the planet and also towards truth. This negative attitude can lead to dominating others and dominating and manipulating truth rather than cherishing either one.

Mental Escalators are highly numerous and extremely powerful. They require non-violent solutions. Yet they’re typically ignored by policymakers. Therefore, major opportunities to resolve and to prevent conflict non-violently are lost.

Two enormous Mental Escalators of US Violence are US propaganda and anti-Russian prejudice. As documented throughout numerous earlier essays of this series, Americans are basically encased inside an information black-out bubble where they’re fed certain information to manipulate their minds to believe that US policymakers’ enemies are Americans’ enemies and US policymakers’ wars, proxy wars, and weapon shipments are noble and just and deserve the sacrifice of our tax dollars if not our lives.

With regard to anti-Russian and anti-Putin prejudice, it seems that the majority within a society recognizes its principal forms of prejudice only in hindsight. When in the midst of actually feeling these attitudes of prejudice, society does not recognize this as prejudice but rather as moral indignation, moral fear, and proper disdain for evil. Whether the target is a Native American, African American, Asian, or gay, what eventually becomes commonly recognized as unjust, unwarranted prejudice was initially popularly experienced as nothing but clean and respectable morality.

Such morality-cloaked prejudice is also true of the prejudice experienced against an enemy during times of conflict, a prejudice always accepted and always carefully crafted by policy and media makers. Hating the enemy is never considered prejudice. Rather, it’s considered patriotic and moral! The US may consider itself so wonderfully advanced and beyond prejudice in its calls for diversity and acceptance for an assortment of all types. But patriotism in war is nothing more than the dressing up of prejudice in the sanctimonious garments of an abusive priest.

And so guess who is the victim of prejudice today? Guess whom US society is being so carefully trained by the US media and policymakers to hate as a matter of morality and humanity? Like every enemy in times of conflict, Russians are victimized by blatant US lies, especially Putin, who is obviously being taken down throughout the US media in preparation of becoming a target of a US-supported coup.

But this ganging-up, groupthink hatred based upon lies is not considered ugly, immoral prejudice but rather the self-righteous defense of humanity; the hatred itself is considered proof that Americans are superior, and the commitment to determine the truth of the anti-Putin smears is lost in the rush to feel the hateful superiority and dispatch the weapons to Ukraine!

Don’t forget, America, before prejudiced hate is recognized for what it truly is, it’s blindly accepted as self-righteous morality and the defense of humanity. Ask any KKK or neo-Nazi members why they think the way they think. They’re not so different, after all.

The prevalence of certain psychological patterns amongst US policymakers are also Mental Escalators of Violence that not only escalate violence but also make a mockery of democracy. These psychological patterns tend towards authoritarian, hostile relations with other nations and to a 245-year history of US foreign policy – beginning with US foreign policy towards the Native Americans – characterized by lack of understanding, lack of empathy, aggression, self-centeredness, self-indulgence, fearfulness, prejudice, competitiveness, hierarchy, and a preoccupation with rewards and punishments as the primary means of influencing others.

The peculiar absence of US policymakers capable of performing an impartial analysis of conflict is also indicative of the immature and imbalanced types of psychological patterns dominating the US foreign policy and media establishment.

Legal Escalators of Violence pertain to laws and policies, lack of laws and policies, and organizational structure and behavior that either enable a person or nation to get away with being violent, or that encourage the types of injustices that provoke a person to become violent.

For example, one major Legal Escalator of US Violence is the failure to enforce international law and to prosecute US leaders for unlawful invasions, drone killings, torture, war crimes, and lies. This Legal Escalator enables US policymakers to know they can forever inflict violence, tell lies, and violate international law with impunity. Of course, the idea that certain US government leaders are above the law is not only a violation of the law but also a violation of the principles of democracy for which the US government allegedly stands.

Other major Legal Escalators of Violence include the connection of money to political power within the US government as well as the undemocratic influence of certain lobby groups upon US foreign policy, particularly the fossil fuel and weapon industries as well as right-wing Ukrainian lobbyists, who are representative neither of Russians nor of Ukrainians as a whole.

Another overlooked Legal Escalator is the capture of the US foreign policy mission by the missions of other groups, including the fossil fuel, weapon, and nuclear corporations, the Department of Defense, and the CIA. To aim towards peace and justice, the US foreign policy mission must be much more comprehensive and significantly more noble than the missions of any of these organizations, and its primary tools of action must not be threats, bribes, sanctions, or weapons.

The lack of a sound decision-making process and democratic control over US weapon shipments, proxy war, and war is yet another Legal Escalator of US Violence.  In this land of “freedom” and “democracy,” we have absolutely no voice over whether or not we approve of war, proxy war, or weapon shipments to Ukraine or any other nation. Even if these decisions ever were determined in a public referendum, brainwashed Americans might vote the way their brainwashers prefer.

Truly democratic control over these processes requires a well-informed citizenry which in turn requires the elimination of the lies and twisted half-truths of propaganda and the provision of impartial, comprehensive information. Decision-making that results from propaganda is not democracy but puppeteering. Such propaganda is indicative of authoritarianism, not democracy, of an attitude of patronizing superiority, not equality and respect.

Legal Escalators, which are also numerous, can be addressed – not with violence – but with legal solutions. Yet, like the Mental Escalators of Violence, the Legal Escalators are typically ignored by policymakers, especially by policymakers and their financial donors who want the Legal Escalators to stay the way they are, and so major opportunities to address conflict non-violently are squandered.

Physical Escalators of Violence include the existence of physical equipment, structures, technology, finances, vehicles, training in inhumanity, and cruel orders that physically enable or prompt a person to commit violence. Paradoxically, they also can include a lack of physical equipment, structures, technology, finances, vehicles, and training that prevents people from adequately defending themselves.

In the case of US violence, Physical Escalators clearly are not an absence of weapons and technology but rather the existence and eager use of far too many weapons, especially those that are high-kill, fast-kill, and sloppy-kill. How can judgment that is already cloudy, judgment about the origins and location of goodness and evil in conflict, possibly be enhanced by weaponry? Like arming a three-year old with a gun, arming such clouded judgment is a recipe only for major disaster, injustice, and despair.

Shockingly, despite the very public consequences of the use of these weapons and the pollution and radiation from their manufacture and transport, we have no voice in deciding whether we approve of the manufacture of such weapons. This lack of control is even more absurd and undemocratic given the fact that our tax dollars largely support the conventional and nuclear weapon industry, which makes the bulk of its contracts with the US government.

How is it possible – especially in an alleged democracy – that we are taxed for such a highly-consequential, controversial activity but have no voice or input? This lack of democratic control over weapons manufacturing and shipments, while a Legal Escalator, could also be considered a Physical Escalator of Violence.

And so we have three groups of Escalators of US Violence, enormous Escalators that US policy and media makers have no intention of changing and no intention of discussing, for every one of these Escalators is needed to serve the purpose of war. Is there any wonder that WW3 is upon us?

Is there any wonder, with the explosions of Nord Stream 2 and the all-too-hasty Western accusations against Russia, like the explosion on the U.S.S. Maine in 1898 and the false accusations used as pretext for the US to initiate war against Spain, with propaganda, prejudice, undemocratically skewed lobbying, US policymakers restrained by neither international law nor democratic oversight, and the existence of abominable weapons all interwoven so masterfully, that we’re all in a giant whirlpool going down?

Yes, quite likely many nations suffer from similar or even worse Escalators of Violence. But it is unfortunate that the US could not or chose not, in its decades of superpower status, to use its leadership skills to demonstrate how to effectively address these Escalators and remove them. The US has role-modeled only the use and entrenchment of these Escalators rather than the remedies for them.

And American civilians, even if aware of these Escalators, are trapped by them, powerless against them, allowed to speak out – for free speech is proudly proclaimed to be “democratic,” but with no purpose to that speech, no response to it, as if barely a soul is really out there breathing or listening or even existing.

It is a mockery of freedom to possess merely a freedom of purposeless, powerless dissent. You shout out for cooperative dialogue, for understanding, for truth, for intelligent reasoning, for an end to weapon shipments and sanctions, and nothing answers you back but a sneering laugh in your mind for your ever being so gullible as to believe that your voice could count and your mind could help. And the silence in response to your words feels like losing one’s voice and one’s being into the crushing gravity of a black hole.

Kristin Christman has been independently researching US foreign policy and peace since 9/11. Her channel focuses on US-Russian relations at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuNEw9-10lk-CwU-5vAElcg. Kristin graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with a BA in Russian, and she holds Master’s degrees in Slavic languages from Brown University and public administration from SUNY Albany. She is a contributing author to the peace anthology Bending the Arc: Striving for Peace and Justice in the Age of Endless War (2020)edited by Breyman, Amidon, and Aumand. Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice recently published her article on suicide, culture, and peace in their special edition on suicide, Vol. 33 No. 4.  kristinchristman956@gmail.com


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