Monday, 20 January 2014

Pacifism, why we are not Pacifists

Pacifism, why we are not Pacifists

Pacifism has an elegant simplicity to it that provides much of it's appeal. It states that violence, murder, war, are all wrong. That all violence from slapping to genocide are interrelated, one leads to the other in effect. That violence breeds violence and therefore that it is best not to be violent or to support violence because it never solves problems, it can only continue or start new problems.

Of course in reality Pacifism has variants, not every Pacifist is "pure" so to speak. In practice very few people are Pacifists rejecting all violence, but many people who are not Pacifists will still support Pacifism, saying that it would be a better world if violence did not exist, if murder, war, assault and rape vanished from the world. It's hard to argue with that, of course it would be better, after all no one is lining up to be murdered, killed in a war, bashed or raped are they.

The Utopian vision within Pacifism is clear, that people can change the world, if only enough of us believe, if only enough of us stop using violence, if only our Governments behaved morally then violence would end. The history of the world be damned, ignore it, reject it and instead believe in the human power to change reality. Human nature either doesn't exist or needs to be resisted and changed. Remember your rejecting reality.

Sadly we do not and have never had the power to end war, specific wars yes but not all wars. Neither do we have the power, individually or collectively to end violent crime. The truth is we have only limited ability to control the violence of others, we do not even have total control over our own violence. Much personal violence is based on our emotions, are you totally in control of your emotions? Know anyone else who is? If you know someone who is your a very rare person, if you are in control of your emotions, your even rarer. The idea that we can control our emotions is very appealing, that we can control the emotions of others maybe even more appealing. Of course that doesn't mean people are uncontrollable, or that people should not seek to control themselves. That is a false division, the idea that only two extremes are possible.

Our Governments are extents of us, Governments are not people but they are made up of people. That is something that seems to be forgotten by many. That means that they share the attributes of people, or to be more correct the actions of Governments share the attributes of people, because they are made by people. It is people who make the decisions of Government. Pride, fear, anger, greed, ignorance, principles, ideals, love, hate, are just some of the emotions people feel. When people in Government make decisions those and many other emotions come into play and that includes when issues of violence are at stake. Many times violence will be rejected for one reason or another, there are more imagined wars than actual wars, but other times violence will not be rejected but used. Some may argue that if emotion was left out then violence would have no place, but logic often demands violence. Logic can be as cruel a master as emotions because the logical response to violence is often violence. Of course if it is accepted that violence breeds violence, then the next logical question becomes is there a limit to how much violence we may endure? If there is then the logical response is violence, if there is no limit than logic dictates that may mean extinction. Very few people are ever happy with that answer.

If all violence is wrong than beating someone else is just as reprehensible as them defending themselves. How dare those monsters defend themselves!

There is also no place for loyalty, your nations army is just as wrong as your enemies. Pacifists must always be on the lookout for wrongdoing, including by their own country, maybe especially. They are an Internationalist by default, the ultimate relativist.

If all war is wrong, if all violence is wrong, self defence is just as wrong as aggression. Unless everyone decides to be a Pacifist at the same hour on the same day it means that the principled are merely the victims of those who remain unprincipled. War and violence isn't right or wrong it is reality, it exists and Pacifism trys to pretend that if reality is unpleasant, than reality must chance. Reality must submit to ideology. Violence exists for a reason and because we do not always understand it or like it, does not change it.

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  1. "Unless everyone decides to be a Pacifist at the same hour on the same day it means that the principled are merely the victims of those who remain unprincipled"

    The Bible tells us that the meek shall inherit the earth. I'm struggling to think of any examples of the meek turning out to be winners. But I can think of plenty of examples where the meek have been mercilessly stomped.

    Pacifism to me is one of those belief systems that gives its adherents a feeling of moral superiority. There's a good deal of arrogance to it. To many people it offers the same attractions as socialism. Superficially it sounds morally superior so the fact that it has never worked in practice is conveniently ignored. So you get arrogance combined with ignorance, always a dangerous combination.

  2. Dear Mr. Doom

    Some very good points there.

    Mark Moncrieff

  3. Meekness is not what you think it means:

    It is not the loss of power but the redirection of it for another purpose. Meekness is fire that is under control that is not allowed to destroy but to provide heat, light and energy.

  4. The most closest approximation of meekness therefore is discipline.