Pacifism

–noun

1. Opposition to war or violence of any kind.

2. Refusal to engage in military activity because of one’s principles or beliefs.

3. The principle or policy that all differences among nations should be adjusted without recourse to war.

In my post yesterday I mentioned that a so-called conservative friend on my facebook page had posted a video from The Iraqi Veterans Against War website which displayed an Iraqi veteran ranting about the illegal war he was forced to take part in and his belief that this war was some conspiracy by the rich corporate types to keep poor people in their place.  I don’t remember all of it off the top of my head as I was slightly agitated by the stupidity of his claims, but it did make me want to research his pacifist belief system and comment on it a bit.

Pacifism, in and of itself, doesn’t sound like a bad idea.  In fact, I would be happy to support pacifism and become a pacifist myself at the point that I could be assured all evil in the world had been eliminated and that every other member of this world was now also a pacifist.  As soon as the U.S. Pacifist Party can confirm this to me I am onboard.  Until then, I contend that the entire philosophy is dangerously flawed.  The bumper sticker type logo displayed on the Party’s website states:

“Defense By Nonviolent Resistance”

My question is this…what type of defense would this be?

Let’s say that another country dislikes us, I know, I know, try to use your imagination.  Let’s say this country begins building up their armies and their weaponry…just for the sake of the purely hypothetical example, let’s call this country…Iran.  Imagine they start making threatening statements about our pacifist nation.  We now, as a pacifist nation must implement our “defense by nonviolent resistance.”  Would this defense include attempting to speak to them and convince them that we mean no harm?  I know this is a stretch, but let’s imagine this doesn’t deter their aggression.

They are now threatening to invade and/or destroy us with a nuclear device.  What is our next step in the “defense by nonviolent resistance” ladder of escalation?  Would we all hold hands and sing Kumbaya as they invaded, in the hopes that they might see us not resisting and feel guilty.  I honestly have no idea how this would work, so I decided to take a look at the party platform for the last election.  Certainly this will clear things up and show how pacifism will succeed.  This is what they have listed:

“Preparation for nonviolent resistance against possible invasion and occupation attempts; This would include establishment of a national Department of Peace, and an unarmed service corps trained in strategic nonviolent defense and equipped for mobilization anywhere in the world”

Ahhhh!!  Now I feel safer about the whole situation.  We would establish a national Department of Peace.  Maybe we would even have a Secretary of Peace that would certainly deter aggression.  Furthermore, we would have a Service Corps which would be trained in strategic nonviolent defense and equipped for mobilization.  My first thought is…what are they to be equipped with?  Happy face stickers?  Make Love Not War signs?  Seriously, what does a nonviolent Service Corps deploy with?  How well would you sleep at night knowing that an unarmed corps of peace advocates stand ready to defend you and your family?  Furthermore, what type of training is included in their “strategic nonviolent defense” schooling?  Strategic surrender 101?  Laying in Front of Tanks 201??

As I stated before, pacifism itself is a nice idea, but it is based on the flawed theory that with enough education and enlightenment, human beings will eventually evolve to the point that they will no longer have any selfish desires which would cause a want of power or greed.  I do not find this to be a realistic possibility whatsoever, and this is ultimately what will cause pacifism to fail in every setting.

I believe C.S. Lewis explained the flaws better than any:

“We must increase by propaganda the number of Pacifists in each nation until it becomes great enough to deter that nation from going to war. This seems to me wild work. Only liberal societies tolerate Pacifists. In the liberal society, the number of Pacifists will either be large enough to cripple the state as a belligerent, or not. If not, you have done nothing. If it is large enough, then you have handed over the state which does tolerate Pacifists to its totalitarian neighbor who does not. Pacifism of this kind is taking the straight road to a world in which there will be no Pacifists.”

~C.S. Lewis, “Why I Am Not a Pacifist”, The Weight of Glory (1949)

Armies which stand ready to do battle in defense of freedom are the only deterrent to others who would want to take it away.  That is the reality of it, whether you like it or not.

“The dustbin of history is littered with remains of those countries that relied on diplomacy to secure their freedom.  We must never forget…in the final analysis…that it is our military, industrial and economic strength that offers the best guarantee of peace for America in times of danger.” President Ronald Wilson Reagan

Ronald Williams maintains a political blog at www.silentnomoremajority.blogspot.com

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