Carrots And Sticks: An Eye For An Eye Works In Both Directions

I've been working very hard to be a good father. My children are very young (4 and 2 years old). I'm enrolled in a parenting course - at the behest of my spouse. The main thrust of this course is to change styles of communicating with our children from negative to positive such that we are able to elicit good behavior and cooperation and listening and powerful, open communication by using a better carrot rather than stronger sticks. This led me to a whole mess of questions for the blogisphere to cogitate this weekend.

No run this AM as it's my rest day, but I have been ruminating over this concept for a few days. Answer any or all questions that you like in a comment below:
  1. What is it that is so very wrong about this pre-emptive war strategy to defeat terrorism?

  2. Might it not be that we are using the wrong device?

  3. An eye for an eye is easy to use as justification for using a bigger stick, but doesn't that slogan work both ways, and for all parties at either end of the stick?

  4. If we are always threatening a bigger stick, might not our enemies seek to trump our stick with a more grizzly and gruesome set of weapons all of their own invention (read, IEDs, or the "Hey, let's kidnap with intent to drill into GIs heads" strategy)?

  5. So, really, it might be that the war and fear mongering driven W, Rove and Co. administration is approaching the whole "war on terror" in the wrong way. In fact, shouldn't we be seeking a better carrot rather than a stronger stick?

  6. Moreover, if the existing carrot is rotten to the core, and we present a rotten carrot while threatening the stick, what does that get us: a) an end to the war on terror, or b) an indefinite, endless conflict that breeds only more pissed off and motivated terrorists?

  7. If we were to spend as much capital on building a better carrot rather than wielding a bigger stick, what would that carrot look and feel like?

  8. Would a better carrot be a swifter way to peace, that is, if peace is truly the objective?
I look forward to reading your comments. Blog on all. (Originally Posted at Educational Whisper, but crossposted here as I would know what folks think related to these questions here as well)


Deftblade13 said...

Regarding #8 -

George Orwell once wrote:

"It's not a matter of whether the war is not real or if it is.
Victory is not possible.
The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous.
A hierarchical society is only possible...
... on the basis of poverty and ignorance.
This new version is the past...
... and no different past can ever have existed.
In principle, the war effort is always planned...
... to keep society on the brink of starvation.
The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects.
And its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia...
... but to keep the very structure of society intact. "

Deftblade13 out.

Anonymous said...

That's a Great quote, and appropriate in so many ways. If you use this way of thinking in Wages, Jobs, Schools, etc, etc, it reaches an obvious conclusion that things would indeed get better. Following that Logic, would the people that Manipulate the Markets etc Want this?

A Great quote and too bad "an eye for an eye" is accepted by so many ; (

Lew Scannon said...

1> Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. Striking one first because you think they mat be preparing to attack you reeks of rampant paranoia. If one makes such claims, one had better be ready to back it up with evidence, as was sorely missing in the case of our invasion of Iraq.
2>If by device, you mean strategy, then yes, I believe so. Violence only begats more violence and will never end as each side demands retaliation. Find out the root causes of terrorism (it's not that they hate us because we're free, nor is it their desire to enslave the world under the Islamic religion)
3>An eye for an eye is rarely an even trade. If your view is to the three thousand killed on 9/11, we should have quit a long time ago. Also, vengeance is God's, according to the Bible, if you choose to go that route.
4>Escalation is always a hazard of war.
5>Yes. Indubitably.
7>It's not so much a matter of spending capital as much as it is changing the policy the US has had for years. One thing is our unequivocal support for Israel, even as they slaughter Palestinians at an almost 20:1 ratio and steal their land. Also, we have a tendency to prop up despots (like Saddam, or the Saudis) who are more friendly to US corporate interests than to their own citizens.
8> Unfortunately, because of lobbying efforts, the better carrot will never be used, as both political parties are more beholden to the lobbies than to their own constituents. But peace is not really the objective, at least not for the neocons. Their stated goal is total global domination. Which means we'll see a lot more wars before we'll ever get a glimpse of peace.

Anonymous said...

Totally off subject. My Dad sent this url, which is an art project and interesting:


shrimplate said...

I'm a big fan of Alice Miller, who wrote many books on the psychological development of children and parenting.

Basically, if what you do is not in the child's best interests, it's potentially harmful.

Please be careful with parenting classes. A lot of the
'spare the rod and spoil the child' types are really nothing but child abuse disguised as "discipline."

Adults need discipline. Children need caring adults to help them meet needs they are as yet unable to fulfill themselves.

Anything else is probably foolish.

And of course, never, ever, strike a child.

windspike said...

excellent answers all...although, I am not sure what to make of the "art project" comment.

Parenting is hard work, but we must not abdicate our responsibility in keeping the spoiled and soiled children leading our government in line.

Blog on all.

Anonymous said...

The art project is an interesting "anti-bush" installation:check it out...........

DivaJood said...

1. Pre-emptive war is a "Bush Speak" for invasion.

2. Absolutely the wrong device.

3. The spiritual opposite of "an eye for an eye" is "you go first, you make peace first."

4. Yes.

5. You can't wage war on an idea. We need a better carrot.

6. I'm not sure the carrot is rotton; rather, the people holding it (Shrubya, Rove, Cheney, Rummy) are rotton at core.

7. Respect for differing cultures; health care; environmental care.

8. With our administration, peace is so far from the objective, it sickens me.