Thinking as a Hobby

Get Email Updates
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

3476910 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

Peace Lovers
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (1)

I heard an interview with Bishop Desmond Tutu on NPR this morning, and he was droning on all sorts of vague homolies about peace, love, and caring. He said, among other things, that the elderly and the young are the ones who suffer most during war. He said, oh so sagely, that we should simply outlaw war.

Good idea, Desmond. What do you do when somebody breaks the law?

The reason ultrapacifism ultimately disgusts me is because it is not only morally simplistic, but it is morally repugnant.

It is even more morally simplistic than remarks of "good" and "evil" spouted by our President. War is bad? Peace is good? No shit, Sherlock. Puppies are cute and flowers smell pretty, too.

But there is very real ugliness in the world. There are people with very unpleasant motives, who don't mind crushing, killing, and raping (yes, the elderly and the young) for power and hedonistic self-indulgence.

And what is a strict pacifist's response to barbarity? Turn a blind eye? Or intervene?

You see a man beating a child with a crowbar. There is no one else around, and by the time you get help, the child will be dead. What do you do?

What would a pacifist do? Anything but raise a finger in violence, right? That would be wrong, wouldn't it?

So would walking away be the high ground? The moral choice? Would Gandhi stand between the man and the child, taking the blows himself, hoping the man's conscience would finally be roused at the horror of the act? But what if the man finishes with Gandhi, then turns back to the child. Was this the moral thing to do?

I've used this example before, and have heard no reasonable responses that explain why using force against the man is not only the just thing to do, but the moral thing to do.

The great moral weakness of ultrapacifism is believing that not using force yourself keeps your hands free of blood. simply doesn't.

Moral wisdom comes, not from denouncing the use of force in all instances, but from being able to distinguish between its just use, and its abuse.

I have no time for platitudes or Hallmark slogans. We're living in the real world, where ugly decisions have to be made. Not making them doesn't make you a good person. It doesn't make you morally superior. Quite the contrary. You cannot abstain from the real world.

This doesn't make you an idealist. It makes you a moral cretin.

Read/Post Comments (1)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.