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$22B for more war toys and ignoring a #GreenNewDeal



“I wondered about how perfectly normal human beings can act on views that clash with all generally accepted morality, including their own…”

Here is a recent tweet from Senator Jack Reed: “Good news for RI: New $22.2 billion @USNavy – @GDElectricBoat #submarine contract will enhance nat’l security & RI economy. This contract means sub production at @QuonsetRI continues full speed ahead & will bring a host of economic benefits to the state.”

Congressperson James Langevin gushed: “Big news for Rhode Island! Thrilled that in addition to new submarines for our fleet, eight will increase their tactical edge with the Virginia Payload Modules that will be built by Rhode Islanders at Quonset Point.”

Not a word about the fact that money spent on tools of war is an inferior way of creating jobs, as the chart reproduced from this publication clearly demonstrates.


The celebratory tweets of these members of the Rhode Island congressional come just days after the recent United Nations Emissions Gap Report 2019 report. The following quote from the report clearly illustrates the gap: “Translated into climate action, the analysis reconfirms that nations must triple their current efforts — as reflected in the difference in projected emissions between current policies and conditional NDCs [nationally defined contributions]— to limit warming to 2°C and multiply their current efforts by at least five times to align global climate action and emissions with limiting warming close to 1.5°C.”

At about the same time the distinguished science journal Nature published an article with the ominous title Climate tipping points—too risky to bet against. The subtitle is: “The growing threat of abrupt and irreversible climate changes must compel political and economic action on emissions.” As far as tipping points are concerned, the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, aka the Third Pole, are particularly at risk.

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Not a word from our representatives about the fact that money spent on “national defense” is at the expense of investments needed to save the globe and to create a #GreenNewDeal. The tweets seem to be completely oblivious of the existential threat posed by the unfolding climate catastrophe.

I grew up after World War II in Holland where 75 percent of the Jewish population was murdered by Nazis, while most people looked the other way. I didn’t live through a concentration camp experience of my grandmother, who, apart from a brother, lost her whole family. I do remember her stories and her never-ending nightmares. For as long as I can remember, I wondered about how perfectly normal human beings can act on views that clash with all generally accepted morality, including their own. This apparent inconsistency has for ever occupied social scientists, ethicists and philosophers.

Fred E Katz in his Confronting Evil: Two Journeys developed the concept “Local Moral Universe.” By that he means moral standards adopted by small, cult-like groups that allow them to consider moral what outsiders to the cult consider a high point of evil. It seems that the congressional Armed Service Committees creates such cultish environment that fosters a deviant Local Moral Universe.

Peter Nightingale is a theoretical physicist and teaches at the University of Rhode Island. He strives to leave behind a more just, peaceful, and sustainable post-capitalist world for future generations, and for his children and grandchildren in particular.

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