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First They Ignore You, Then

Mahatma Gandhi

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”  This is an arguable Gandhi quote that nevertheless makes sense, and has ended up on a lot of t-shirts.  It also makes sense to explain my campaign of ideas to validate a paradigm shift in peace studies, I’m using it as the basis of this release.

Two Years Ago

On December 5, 2013 I began a two year long weekly press release campaign that included the Peace and Justice list-serve.  That first press release was “Crime and the Military”, the first statistical connection to the social decay component of empires in decline.  I immediately got both accolades and resistance.  The accolades seemed to come mostly from the masses, while the resistance came mostly from the leadership.  That first December, I received this friendly quote from a well know person just after “Football and the Military”, “I have enjoyed some of your latest posts to this listserv.”  But on January 9, 2014, I received very intense interest in my chart comparing Peace Economics and Peace Studies, but ran into controversy with these remarks:

“The problem I have with mainstream peace and conflict resolutions programs is the almost exclusive emphasis, when it comes to war or peace, on mediation and peace making.  The problem with that is that it assumes an approach of damage control after the fact of a conflict.  I would prefer to prevent conflicts in the first place.  Most of those in peace studies would agree with me, let’s prevent conflict in the first place.

“I welcome the structural violence debate, but I worry about other means of preventing conflicts.  Many people assume that we must ‘be the peace we want to see’.  Modeling is a good thing.  But we already have many models in the world worth following.  And we still have wars.

“I come from the position that we will always have wars if we perpetuate the institutions of war.  The military industrial complex has great creativity in finding ways to justify its existence.  Leaders have all the incentive to go to war and perhaps become a great leader in the minds of followers for generations to come.”

First They Ignore You

Then someone left  off the word “almost” and wrote:  “I must be encountering a different field of peace studies, because I’ve never seen ‘exclusive emphasis, when it comes to war or peace, on mediation and peace making’ (Bob)” and yet goes on to conclude:

“The public face of peace studies often skews toward conflict mediation and alternatives to violence — both incredibly important fields of work, to be sure — but I’m surprised anyone intimately involved in the peace studies field thinks those are the sum total of what’s going on. Even the messages on this mailing list should clue you in to more than that.”

That accusation of being clueless when the accuser obviously didn’t understand my whole email, lead to my overreaction and then another person reacting with:

“Bob, I’m sorry but I’ve been putting up with your arrogant self promotion on this list without complaining for years. But this level of abuse is simply not acceptable.  You may believe you have proved various things but you know ?  Others are not convinced. And hurling insults at them is neither intellectually nor socially appropriate.  So my personal opinion is that if you cannot manage to engage in ways that are minimally civil and in keeping with academic norms you should cease participating on this list.”

Clearly both critics were ignoring me and oversimplifying everything I said and attacking me with “straw man” arguments.  But an organization that claims to want new ideas then has a board member try to kick me off the list seems inconsistent.  And how long has this second person been gunnysacking?  Is it arrogant to have ideas and believe in them strongly?  Then I plead guilty.  Is it self promotion to try to overcome the “ignoring” by sharing those ideas while giving people some idea of who you are?  Guilty again.

Another supporter said after my angry outburst “The problems is, as you well know, peace educating is an underdog’s journey.  No matter how many facts you present or how rational your arguments are, you will not get a lot of support or agreement on anything.  That’s because most people are petrified of controversy and don’t want any part of it.”

Or as Thomas Kuhn explains in his “Structure of Scientific Revolution”:

“In the absence of a paradigm or some candidate for paradigm, all of the facts that could possibly pertain to the development of a given science are likely to seem equally relevant.  As a result, early fact-gathering is a far more nearly random activity than the one that subsequent scientific development makes familiar.” (Kuhn, 1962, 1972)

Then They Laugh At You, Then They Fight You

In some versions, this is, “then they ridicule you.”

My main critic then has an ally to try to talk me down with:

“When you put on your own site, ‘Copernicus put the sun at the center, instead of the earth, and science advanced. Reuschlein puts military spending and temperature at the center and economics advances.’ It gives the impression you think your work is comparable to his.  That in hundreds of years people will put your work on his level.”

Excuse me, but when the odds of all four of my major economic proofs (against military spending) being wrong is one chance in 100 million, I think it is time to think paradigm shift. The cute Copernicus quote comes after a list of 13 statistical correlations averaging .97 with 8 over .99. Copernicus was not even recognized in life, but only after death, and yes I think I’ll be known one hundred years from now, I’m not claiming five hundred, you are.

Then You Win

My tracking statistics suggest over 10,000 viewings of my press releases on the Peace and Justice list-serve, with another 1000 that read the additional reading link at the bottom of each release on  That suggests my average, of 100 press releases, has 100 readings and 10 who continue reading with a related paper on academia.  Then there are 50,000 viewings on

Some other quotes from peace professors:

“I appreciate being on your list and enjoy your questions and how you think things through.
I have been in the field of conflict resolution since the mid 80s and have had the good fortune to have been taught or worked with some creative, intelligent and thought provoking innovators.  Your writing reminds me of my time with Ken Boulding who introduced me to the economics of peace and conflict in a blindingly energetic class back in 85.” 1-9-14

“I say this to point out you have allies in PJSA who would agree with you completely.”  1-9-14

“Terrific piece, Bob.” 9-1-14

“Your content is probably great, Bob.” 11-30-14

“I hear your frustration. I know that organizations can become insular and exclusive.” 8-31-15

“Thank You” 10-10-15

Here is a key points summary of the Reuschlein theory of empire & global warming:

Hint: to read this paper for free, you must click on the tiny word “read” in the middle of the bottom of the screen after you go to the above link on

Professor Robert Reuschlein, Dr. Peace,

Real Economy Institute, Madison,Wisconsin

MESSAGE: 608-230-6640


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