We’ve all heard about warmongering. But what about peacemongering?

When we were kids, once in a while one of our parents would yell, “I need a little peace and quiet around here!” We knew what this meant. Don’t invite any friends over. Don’t argue. Don’t do anything that could lead to arguing, such as discussing things you disagree about, or playing games that are too challenging or competitive. Don’t play rowdy music. If you want to play loud, go outside. But if you do go outside, don’t do anything that could lead to getting hurt. Above all, don’t come to Mom or Dad with any questions or requests.

Everyone needs “a little peace and quiet” once in a while. It’s only dangerous when we try to force our communities to give it to us all the time. When we try to shut down discussion about conflicting ideas. When we harumph and complain about loud art, or vigorous games, or too much laughter or yelling. When we lock our doors against new ideas or new people. When we resent questions or requests for help.

That’s not peacemaking. It’s peacemongering.

Advertisements