Vision and objectives
Our vision is that global elimination of nuclear weapons can be achieved when the mass of public opinion endorses and reinforces morally accountable government decisions.
The project objectives are:
- to provide the means for everyone to make a well-considered rational decision on the morality of using nuclear weapons as a deterrent,
- to make the results of those decisions available as a global scorecard of informed opinion, and
- to publicly challenge the decision-makers in the nuclear armed nations to make the same moral assessment of their policy.
We believe that all weapons of mass destruction are morally indefensible, but clearly not everyone thinks so. (In the UK, for example, one reason why the government intends to retain nuclear weapons is that many of its people still think this is a good policy.)
At the heart of this project therefore, is a process by which people can analyse, be confronted by, or clarify their thinking on this issue. This process has been developed as a decision flowchart. The flowchart is gaining acceptance as a practical contribution to the debate while being enhanced through careful application of feedback from users. This is the first phase of the project.
We have to recognise that most of the people who think that the nuclear deterrent is a good idea are good people. They do not see an inconsistency between their position on the deterrent and everything else that they believe in.
Some moral confusion is not really surprising. What we have is a complex problem which is embedded in history and political culture. What seemed to be an ‘answer’ sixty years ago has grown to be a monster – a web of physical and moral dangers that could destroy the world.
In the face of this danger we need vigorous logic and sound arguments; but the place to resolve the problem is in people’s minds. They must do this for themselves.
This is the basis for the decision flowchart. It is a simple way for individuals to face all the questions and the consequences – the lines of the flowchart connect one to the next relevant question so that both disarmers and defenders of deterrence have to face the consequences of their decisions and be responsible for them. The chart can also be used in a workshop or classroom study programme and as a powerful incentive for moral responsibility among decision makers in Government and Parliament.
The project is relevant to any weapon of mass destruction that could be used in a deterrent mode, but for various practical reasons it is focussed on nuclear weapons. By limiting the scope to morality of nuclear weapons used as a deterrent it is feasible to present a basic analysis, with all the truly relevant questions, on one page. This is a critical feature – books have a wider scope, but on a single page the problem is far more accessible and the logic is inescapable.
There is a clear delineation between moral questions and other practical questions. All the questions are configured to have only two possible answers, basically Yes or No. At the level of the individual conscience the chart is an algorithm – that is a process whereby, if you put in the right data then you get the right answer – the right answer for you.
The flowchart is available as follows:
- Work out and record your own solution on screen
- Download and print the pdf version
- Order A3 size printed copies by using our contact form
Phase 1. Provide a clear basis for personal decision
The flowchart is already gaining acceptance as a practical contribution to the debate. The on-line interactive version, newly available, will enable anyone to work out and save their own solution to the problem. Though basically a secular document it carries an invitation to faith communities to develop special versions – an opportunity to apply their teaching to an urgent moral problem.
Phase 2. Implement a popular decision process
We have to introduce the idea to all the people who care and ask them to participate. This is being done through contact with as many of the current players as possible, national and international, and will be extended to schools, universities, churches and other organisations, along with all the other sectors of civil society including the media.
The on-line interactive version makes the practical use of the chart globally available. We have the potential to build a global scorecard of analytical opinion. We expect a highly rational and therefore powerful response from those people around the world for whom it may well be unacceptable that a few countries should endanger the Earth for the sake of their own security.
Phase 3. Take the message to policy and decision makers
The third phase is to take these results and the chart to the responsible policy-makers, parliamentarians and governments. Working directly and via news media, we can require that they should have a complete, rational and morally accountable basis for their policy. In the simplest case, presented with a highlighter pen and a decision flowchart, they will have to demonstrate a moral and rational approach to the problem.