The Motley Fool Discussion Boards
Retirement Discussions / Retire Early CampFIRE
|Subject: OT: On Pacifism & History||Date: 9/18/2001 11:04 PM|
|Author: FlyingCircus||Number: 50867 of 779583|
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 either doesn't fit this equation, or has been executed by leaders with other motives,
has been a failure. Under this point, refer to World War I (but we didn't start that one, remember?)
Desert Storm? The Arabs have a point. We wouldn't even know what continent Riyadh was on if it didn't have a sea of oil under it. There was definitely an ulterior motive there. But our survival probably depended on it. It's a huge gray area. But does that give bin Ladens worldwide the right to kill American civilians in the name of jihad, in the phoniest posturing possible? If they spark off a nuke in upstate NY just because they can, are you only going to fight if they kill *your* family? Would you even fight then? Or are you going to wring your hands over the wrongs allegedly inflicted upon the Arab world? (By the way, fighting can mean just helping those who actually fire weapons. You don't actually have to "kill" someone. Does that difference help?)
It is not possible for a democracy to be created and ruled by pacifists, because if it were, over time that society would be eliminated. If, as the blunt Rayvt pointed out, U.S. citizens had not understood this, and had not come to the defense of a country that the Nazis "took a left turn over", France would not exist today. And the right of freedom to express your opinion on an Internet message board would not exist. But the pacifists just do not understand this fallacy. In fact, if Francehad been willing to attack Germany in 1939, to actually follow through on their commitment to Poland, it is very possible they could have beaten Germany right then and removed Hitler from power. Their military was stronger. But their people, leadership and belief systems were not. Because they were weak, and pacifistic, the opportunity passed, and Hitler was allowed to become stronger and stronger. At the cost of millions of lives that could have
been spared at the expense of a few. Churchill understood this. Chamberlain did not.
If no one had been willing to fight for freedom in 300 B.C., 1774, 1789, 1812, 1861,
1931 to 1945, 1946-90, and 1991, and countless other years, then we would not even exist to have the choice to fight for it in 2001. We must
fight the terrorists now, mainly bin Laden, and wipe them out as much as possible. That doesn't mean nuking Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and/or Palestine. Nuking innocent civilians whose beliefs are not those of their rulers would be one of the many definitions of evil. (Firebombing Tokyo, Dresden and others probably falls in this category too.) But killing 5000+ civilians and declaring innocent civilians legitimate targets is also the definition of evil. So a full scale "war" on the terrorist cells and any who support them is our only option now.
If we are not willing to do this, then we abdicate any right to live peacefully that was earned by the blood and pain of millions of citizens before us. We would not deserve the right to even debate it.
"Those who cannot remember history are doomed to repeat it."
FC (doing a very bad impersonation of Ambrose etc.)
|Copyright 1996-2015 trademark and the "Fool" logo is a trademark of The Motley Fool, Inc. Contact Us|