The admonition, “Don’t compare apples with oranges,” familiarly used when contradictory data is presented, often references such  metaphor to express the point  that dissimilar subject matter is not to be postulated in the discussion of principle.  While useful in debate, these two items are, in fact, compatible, when placed in a glass bowl.

Two items that cannot, incontrovertibly, be seen as comparable or compatible, are steel and oatmeal.  Steel has historically been used in the production of weapons and instruments of warfare and death. Oatmeal, on the other hand, is nourishing and life sustaining. Yet it is constructively necessary to include both for our purpose despite their obvious and myriad differences.

It would not take much of a stretch to postulate the principle that the greatest drive of man and beast is survival,   Want and famine ineluctably lead to fear, hopelessness and life-threatening insecurity. This condition, historically, has made it ripe ground for messianic demagoguery and consequential  war. Causes of warfare also include xenophobia, desire for aggrandizement, as well as clashes of culture and religious belief (see Blog #3). While the causes are many and disparate, the solution here proposed would serve as a universal deterrent.

P. has the memory of being driven along the Hudson (or was it the East River) when he was very young, and observing the very large number of retired World War 11 naval ships, rusting and falling into further disrepair  There are, surely,   a great many more throughout the country. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful idea to engage in the wholesale manufacture of nourishing oatmeal, on a vast and continuous basis, and deliver it by ship, or otherwise, throughout the world, wherever needed, free of charge and without conditions. It may be envisioned that there would be no refusals. Whether those served had previously liked or hated us would be irrelevant.  People need food to survive. Once it were  universally credible, and regularly conducted, the causes of war would be ameliorated and predictably, more people would live in a situation of world peace.

For those who would be somewhat inclined to remark that  this solution is reductive and the product of a naïve mind ,they could be reminded that, historically,  diplomacy, copious treaties, ententes- cordiale, World Organizations, alliances, the  balancing of national  power, international conferences and other complex efforts at peace have had dismal results .One  hesitates to reference the adage “a dog does not bite the hand that feeds it”  because we are here dealing with no less than human beings,  many of whom live in dire straits. The recommendation also calls  for a  commendable act of true, brotherly empathy.

Oatmeal is friendlier and much cheaper than napalm.


Published by


Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s