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Subject:  OT: On Pacifism & History Date:  9/18/2001  11:04 PM
Author:  FlyingCircus Number:  50867 of 800607

The recent "I am a pacifist" post in the "I wonder" thread just struck me as amazingly naive and ignorant of history. I've been silent on this until now. The only reason I'm posting this here is because the earlier thread was here.

Pacifism is logically corrupt. In a democratic society, it has been proven this way countless times. Yet, because of wishful thinking and avoidance of pain, it continues to exist.

The fallacy of pacifism is that it assumes that democratic societies have the option of being pacifistic with their true enemies. Many history lessons - and millions of lives - have taught the cruel lesson that the enemy of democracy is evil itself. The only way for democracy to survive is to destroy evil when it is truly threatened by it. Yet this knowledge, sadly, escapes many of the pampered members of our modern democracies. And the only way to destroy evil, as difficult as it may be, is to fight it.

Democracy itself arose as a response to evil. The American Revolution started primarily because a remote, monarchic society was brutally exploiting a colony. The colonists spent years and countless lives trying to change the system politically and legally. When all those efforts failed, and the exploitation was stepped up in response, then a band of fanatics escalated matters. By fighting. Does anyone think the
militiamen's families wanted their sons and husbands to stand up in front of redcoats, certain they would probably be mowed down like wheat? For over eight years? Of course not. But they understood
what had to be done. Because the people they were being oppressed by were evil. And the only way to stop it was to fight it. There was no choice. Likewise any colonial rebellion in the last 150 years.

When Sherman marched to the sea, declaring war is hell, it was as a response to an evil system that was going to be perpetuated by the evil belief in slavery. That belief had permeated Southern society to the
point where Sherman understood that the only way to win that war was to utterly destroy their will to resist. Was what Sherman did (pillage and burn a 50-mile swath from Atlanta to the ocean) evil itself? It's arguable. But the survival of democracy - and all that entails - depended on it. The existence of a divided society here, where the division was based on an inherently evil belief, was not acceptable. There was no choice. (if you feel the need to flame me over bringing this up, I understand.)

Pacifism has always been a significant belief in the U.S. In 1939-1940, the US public was completely split between isolationists and war activists (as has been mentioned in earlier posts.) Brewer is probably unaware that FDR could not even win approval for sending then-20 year old destroyers to England for self-defense until England won the Battle of Britain! And even then, the U.S.' main interest was in carving up and taking over the remains of the British Empire after Hitler was through with them. Friends? No thanks. We'll take the ocean bases.

Speaking of Hitler (and Tojo), let's go there. It was only as a response to a direct attack on Pearl Harbor that the American public finally realized that the U.S.' very existence was threatened by evil. Not a different currency, skin color, or Communism, or fascism, or parliamentarism. A large minority of the U.S. - and Britain! - wanted to join the war on the side of the Nazis, because they were more afraid of Stalin than Hitler. The execution of over six million in the name of ethnic purity and racism is evil. The sacrifice and slaughter of over 11 million (Stalin) in the name of political purity is evil.

A system that perpetrates such acts, the people who believe in it and their leaders are evil, a direct assault on democracy and must be eliminated by democracy or democracy itself will perish.

And now to brewer who apparently bases his entire opinion on the Vietnam War. The American public did not support the Vietnam War because it did not fit this very simple criteria. And no matter how much spin was put on it, Americans never really believed it. It can be argued that the perpetration of the war by the U.S. was in itself evil. And while it lasted too long, that explains why-eventually-we walked away. Every military action the U.S. has engaged in that