Glenn Paige: The Pioneering Giant for a Nonkilling World

Published: 05.05.2014
Updated: 13.01.2015

8th International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action


Glenn Paige: The Pioneering Giant for a Nonkilling World

Hishore Mahbubani, former UN Ambassador from Singapore, provides a rosy picture of our modern world in the first chapter of his book The Great Convergence (2013). He says:

Today, we can replace that Zeitgeist of pessimism with a new Zeitgeist of optimism. Without any grand strategy or comprehensive plan of action, humanity has succeeded in creating a new global civilization. The goal of this chapter is to document in detail how the human condition has improved dramatically for the vast majority of the earth's inhabitants. And this chapter will demonstrate how the world is becoming a more "civilized" place. We are killing each other less and less. We are understanding each other better and cooperating more and more. There is a lot of goodness about our world that has gone unnoticed. If present trends continue, as they are likely to, the human condition will become the best we have ever experienced since human history began. [1]

In contrast, Glenn Paige, a Korean War veteran, presents us with the reality that killings confront every individual of the global village from all walks of life. His call for a "nonkilling" world, fairly uncomforting to ears, demands action because nonviolent means have failed to achieve peace among people. Balwant Bhaneja puts it well in his review of Paige's Nonkilling Global Political Science:

The term "Nonkilling" unlike nonviolence is not as comforting because it confronts us with the modern violent reality that we witness regularly on our television screens. The reality is that mighty nationals still consider that they can assert pre-emptive wars, last experienced during the Third Reich and the Soviet period, without qualms. [2]

Bhaneja continues:

Paige shows that both violence-accepting politics and political science in the last century have failed to suppress violence by violent means. The study of government and international politics has been unable to lay the groundwork and methodology for policy advice that goes to the roots of the causality of global violence. [3]

Ample evidence exists against the rosy picture of the Zeitgeist of optimism presented in Mahbubani's book The Great Convergence. In his 2006 review of Paige's Nonkilling Global Political Science, Bhaneja took us from a common sense, reality based observation right to the forefront of the global stage: "We are about to enter the sixth year of the new millennium, and war and terrorism remain the norm to resolve international conflicts. All the experience of bloody wars of the previous century and the wisdom thereby gained seems to have been wasted." The global violence-in-nature reality, with width, depth and intensity that the previous century did not witness, begs global attention with demands for immediate action. It is no coincidence that Paige's pioneering calling for a nonkilling world was, in Bhaneja's words, "completely compatible," with its unprecedented study of global lethality undertaken by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000. Forwarded by the Late South African President Nelson Mandala, the "World Report on Violence and Health" was the very first comprehensive study of the problem of killing on a global scale. In the report, the WHO calls for taking human killing in all its forms as a disease to be eliminated by the same comprehensive public health measures that are applied to other diseases. It seeks to dispel the hopelessness that often accompanies any discussion on violence. WHO makes it clear that violence is preventable. Scientific and empirical experiences reveal that violence and killing are not intractable social problems and they are not inevitably part of human nature. The WHO points out in its 2002 World Report that the violence is a multifaceted problem with biological, psychological, social and environmental roots. In a similar but more convinced belief, Paige, in its Nonkilling Global Political Science, asks a much deeper question: Is a nonkilling society possible? His answer is a firm "yes." Paige's conviction for his firm answer is an easy contested truth: Most humans do not kill.

Then, who kills? And why? Our understanding to these fundamental inquiries can be, and should be, no more complicated than answering a basic "1 plus 2 equals 3" question. Killings are all man-made. From the most common sense and the easiest logical analysis, all the killings are conducted by man, and either claimed by man as victors or pronounced by another man as the defeated Most killings, despite being performed in different styles, counted for different reasons, resulted in different consequences, and committed in different locations, share with, and respond to each other, in one way or the other, a similar rational, that is that it is justified by man-claimed legitimacy attributed to political entities and institutions. The lineage of this single connection between political legitimacy, killings and the killed, has victimized hundreds of states, thousands of communities and millions of individuals. The most unfortunate fate that human society took upon its shoulders through its own hands is that we take for granted that human life is but a political game. This game is run according to man-made political rules, power-driven theories, engaged in violent conflicts and perceived as such before or after human modernity. Ancient philosophers and political thinkers left behind a mind and a legend, both of which have been duly and loyally inherited by modern man and man-created institutions. The mind continues to make the connection between political legitimacy, killings, and the killed, while the legend gives birth to a new form of violence, a new wave of killings, and plenty of tragedy to keep the world in the dark ages in the 21st century and beyond.

It is a shame when one does not think, and it is more shameful when one can think, but repeats the same thing, a tragic möbius script that started thousands of years ago. Glenn Paige, unlike many disgraced political scientists, found a keyhole to the outcry of human suffering with three simple but most meaningful words: No More Killing. However, the key is not in his hand. Paige is a giant, however, he is in no position to unlock the gate and set human beings free from killing. Who has the key? This is a centuries-old question, and it was answered by many political "giants" over the past several hundred years. However, these political "giants" gave their answers, result of which was more and more killing among human beings. It takes no brain to realize that these answers must be wrong. And yet, students of politics in our modern classrooms of 21st century or via online education on politics continue the traditional learning of realism, liberalism, and various theories, none of which aims to set human beings free from killing each other.

In a similar significance like what Mark Kurlansky calls Gandhi's nonviolence as a dangerous idea that changes human history, Glenn Paige's Nonkilling Global Political Science is the bible for global non-violence and human nonkilling. Paige is a challenger of traditional politics, an opponent of the established world order, even an enemy of the state, but more so he is the messenger for ultimate world peace, and the frontrunner of a killing-free, humane world.

"After a flash of inspiration," Beverly Deepe Keever, a world renowned journalist, wrote in her piece published in the Christian Science Monitor Weekly, "Glenn Paige wrote a book on 'nonkilling,' a concept now gaining momentum worldwide." In her interviews with people in the village of Kazimia in Congo, Keever tells the world that Paige's nonkilling concept, in the words of Bishop Mabwe Lucien of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church, was "new and revolutionary. Nobody in the region had heard these ideas." The village people of Kazimia wholeheartedly embraced Paige's Nonkilling concept. They built a school and named it the "Glenn Paige Nonkilling School." This school is a turnaround landmark of a violent circle that caused millions of deaths in the region that experienced endless wars, genocides and other political violence in the past 20 years. Bishop Lucien believes that the impact of Paige's teachings is enormous. He says as quoted by Keever that Paige's nonkilling teachings "have transformed the region."

While we remain mindful of a violent world in which killings occur in schools and between nations, Mahbubani's rosy picture of the less killing reality deserves certain credit for his Zeitgeist of optimism. His detailed illustration of our converging world testifies that "with each passing decade," in Mahbubani's words, "we worry less and less about being killed by a fellow human being." Paige's vision for a nonkilling world prepares all human being to live in peace, not in fear. Take the Village of Kazimia in Congo for example, Paige's nonkilling concept has transformed this war-torn place. His nonkilling for peace concept can be considered as the specific substance in what Mahbubani calls "consensual cluster of norms." While he thinks that the term may sound exquisitely and technically dull," and yet, Mahbubani believes that it may well provide the most accurate description of one of the most powerful forces ever seen in human history. Essentially conceived with moral integrity, Paige's ideal society with the major components operated by the nonkilling software, like Gandhi's "Satyagraha," are the ethical foundation for Mahbubani's consensual cluster of norms.

Paige is the most optimistic giant. Without hope and expectation, no one sees the possibility of a nonkilling future on a global scale. However, as Paige himself believes, we are still living in a violent world. Politics, he says in his Nonkilling of Global Political Science, has always been a relatively violent aspect of the United States, a country of democracy. Paige points out that century after century, generation after generation, and one political leader to the next, it is the killing, not peace, that gains more and more credibility. Killing not only serves as a necessity of gaining political power or overcoming something bad, more so killing is depicted as a way of life. Using statistics, Paige seems to penetrate the social fabric in which killing is an inseparable part of our cultural and social life. To no one's shock, there exists dynamic and varied types of killing manifested in genocide, murder, rape, abortion, suicide and so on. Standing on the shoulders of Machiavelli, Hobbes and Marx, Paige criminates the "giants" for their advocacy on violence:

The much admired Machiavelli (1469-1527) in The Prince contributes explicit justification for rulers to kill to maintain their positions of power and to advance the virtue, fame, and honor of their states. It is better to rule by craftiness of a 'fox,' but when necessary rulers should not shrink from the bold lethality of a 'lion.' He prescribes citizen militias to strengthen the power of the republican state.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) in Leviathan provides further justification for killing by governments to secure social order and victory in war. Since humans are killers, unorganized life in a state of nature results in murderous chaos. But since humans are also survival-seekers, they must consent to obey a central authority empowered to kill for their security, while reserving to themselves the inalienable right to kill in self-defense. Hobbes stops short of justifying armed rebellion.

The Hobbes-Locke double justification for ruler-ruled lethality is extended into economic class warfare by Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) in The Communist Manifesto. Propertied classes can be expected to defend and extend their interests by lethal force. But when material and social relations reach a critical stage, exploited classes can be expected to rise in violent rebellion to change the economic and political structure of society. In a few special cases of modern electoral democracy peaceful change might be possible. Sometime in the future when economic exploitation ends, the class-based lethal state will disappear. But in the period of transition economic factors will predispose to killing. [4]

It is no doubt that Paige, as a pioneering giant for a nonkilling society, finds himself between a rock and a hard place. Is it possible to build a nonkilling human society from the bloody foundations of humans hunting each other for centuries? Where does one start?

Optimistically, Paige is convinced that there is a narrow path, from which the journey for a killing free world can be adventured. It is a road to right the wrong, to pacify violence, to combine the means and ends, and to disgrace the infamous maxim of the defunct Roman Empire, "If you want peace, prepare for war."

In the Global Governance section of The Great Convergence, Mahbubani optimistically stipulates:

For millennia, humanity as a whole has been divided by geography, history, religion, culture, verbal language, and body language. Today, despite this rich residue of differences, we are converging on a certain set of norms on how to create better societies. To put it simply, this global convergence is a big deal. [5]

On a pessimistic note, as Bhaneja pointed out:

Paige shows that both violence-accepting politics and political science in the last century have failed to suppress violence by violent means. The study of government and international politics has been unable to lay the groundwork and methodology for policy advice that goes to the roots of the causality of global violence. [6]

Confronting with the reality, Paige manifests his nonkilling philosophy in the actions he prescribes:

Governments do not legitimize it; patriotism does not require it; revolutionaries do not prescribe it. Intellectuals do not apologize for it; artists do not celebrate it; folk wisdom does not perpetuate it; common sense does not commend it. In computer terms of this age, society provides neither the 'hardware' nor the 'software' for killing.[7]

In his introduction to Glenn Paige's Nonkilling Global Political Sciences, James Robinson necessarily makes known of Paige's understanding of the State power in human society. Robinson says that Paige's "fundamental postulate became that prevailing conceptions of the state, notwithstanding occasional contrary voices, and scientific studies of the state are grounded in assumptions that emphasize killing over nonkilling."[8] Paige comes to this understanding after a long observation of the power processes in various arenas at local, State, and national community levels in the United States and at varying levels in several other countries.

Looking into the Zeitgeist of optimism as Mahbubani inspired, it is true that the great convergence is a big deal. However, Paige's nonkilling world may not become a reality as a result of the global convergence on a consensual cluster of norms, if the essential component of the global governance consists of the legitimacy of violent force for the sake of social order. However, on a more positive note, as Paige has hoped, the current nation-state "may become obsolete."[9] Jost Delbrück, in his "Multi-Ethnicity Challenges to the Concept of the Nation-State," defines the State as the dominant form of political organization and the nation state as the universally realized form of political organization of societies (people). After reviewing the history and development of the nation-state, Delbrück concludes that our modern political and social environments have altered the traditional notion of the nation-state. Delbrück acknowledges that there is a "growing concern about the future of the traditional concept of the nation state," and "there are indications that could suggest that the nation state may become obsolete."[10] In the midst of this change, Delbrück points out that "Politicians are becoming concerned about a serious loss of State authority and power, both externally and internally."[11]

It is an optimistic moment when our human society comes to this stage where change can happen, despite the various forms it may take. The new development of the technology provides us an option as not to look into our past for answers. Humanity, in particular, should re-examine the traditional political theories, and draw the lessons from numerous bloody wars fought by the state, which is the "sole source of the 'right' to use violence."[12] Because if we do not heed this warning, then the examples of killing in our world that is cast upon our televisions during the evening news is only a harbinger of what we can look forward to. Killing is currently at a point where it has metastasized so strongly into culture and society that even our children find just cause to kill each other. Thus our hope for a future has committed to killing without even knowing that a nonkilling world is possible, let alone can even exist. The absence of justice visited upon the state is immoral and unethical; worse yet, when it survives scrutiny the result is still more killing.

Paige's call to delegitimize the government to kill is the first step for humanity toward the nonkilling society. This is the key to the dawn of global peace.


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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Body
  2. Brain
  3. Fear
  4. Glenn Paige
  5. International Conference On Peace And Nonviolent Action
  6. Munich
  7. Non-violence
  8. Nonviolence
  9. Science
  10. Singapore
  11. Violence
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