March 19, 2011


I have a Facebook account, but have almost entirely stopped using it. Because the things I really want to say don't fit the format.

A good example was the other day, when a "pacifist" posted that our military's humanitarian assistance to Japan was all fine and well, but that we should remember that an army is intended to kill people and destroy things.

Now that is a very stupid thing to write. But a rebuttal would bore and perplex most of those who are my "friends" on Facebook. (and of course would be wasted on the person in question.) Blogs are much better for such replies.

The problem with the statement is that an army is a tool of the state. And in a state like ours, a representative democracy, an army is a tool of the people. Of us! If our army smashes things, the real actors are the people of this country. If America bombs Bormenia, WE did it. You and I.

There is a certain type of person, very common these days, who want to fudge that point! Why? Because their pacifism, or anti-war activism, or whatever, is a sham! A pacifist is a person who has renounced violence as a tool to attain his ends. But these fake-pacifists are in fact people who have lost all higher meaning in their lives, and no longer believe in anything. They are people for whom nothing is worth fighting for. So their pretense that they are acting out of conscience or morality is a lie.

They try to create the impression that our military is some kind of autonomous death cloud, some miasma of evil. Then they can oppose the military, and pretend that that is somehow "pacifism." And feel moral and superior, even while enjoying all the good things our superb military provides us, such as peace and safety.

Actually, I suspect that if there are any "real" pacifists among the fakes, they are pretty much fakes, too. They all make sure to live in safe places. Which are kept safe by cops and soldiers. When I hear of pacifists getting killed because they won't call the cops when hoodlums are breaking down their door at night... then maybe I might guess they are for real.

But of course they do call the cops. And the police are also our tools, who do what we the citizens ask. If I call the police because someone's breaking in, I'm starting an action which may lead to people having large holes shot in them by my hired gunmen. Now I'm fine with that. I think about these things a lot. And I accept the moral responsibility. Including the possibility that things may go all random, and the wrong people are killed. That comes with the package.

And I think that's part of our duty as citizens. To make life-and-death choices. To think things through, and sometimes to decide that deadly force is necessary. Just as I thoughtfully decided (and still feel) that our invasion of Iraq was correct and morally justified. So I bear some of the responsibility, and some of the credit if things turn out well in the long run.

And actually almost any political decision has life-and-death consequences. If you vote for more money for X, that means less money for Y, even if you can't see Y. You have a duty to see it, to imagine it, to foresee the consequences and take responsibility. Choosing or voting for "good things" does not get you off the hook, morality-wise. People may suffer or die because you have starved them of the resources that went to your pet project. Even "pacifists" slaughter people in the voting booth.

And deciding to do nothing usually has life-and-death consequences too. Obviously so, though people wish to slither past this truth. Doing nothing doesn't get you off the hook. Doing nothing is often an evil choice.

US Cruiser fires missile Posted by John Weidner at March 19, 2011 9:17 PM
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