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Take Up The Sword You Young Progressives

 
 
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 01:54 am
What happened to the Lincoln Brigade?

Has pacifism trumped idealism?

Are there no noble fights for Wobblies?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,090 • Replies: 36
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 02:10 am
Re: Take Up The Sword You Young Progressives
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
Has pacifism trumped idealism?


Why do you implicate here that pacifism is no idealism? Shocked
0 Replies
 
NeoGuin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 06:51 am
Saw a shirt that said:

"Peace takes courage too".

And perhaps we progressives see no cause nobel enough to take up arms (Including Imperialsim).

If the electoral process seems to fail, I fear in 20-30 years we could see progressives taking up arms:(
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 07:40 am
I agree with Walter. Pacifism, too, is a form of idealism.
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parados
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 01:53 pm
[/QUOTE]Has pacifism trumped idealism?
Quote:


Perhaps the question needs to be, Has apathy trumped idealism?

As for the "20-30 years" progessives may take up arms.

Say you have a dog that just sits around and howls all day.
First you try to reason with the dog to make him behave.
Then when the dog growls at you, you ignore him, hoping he will just be quiet.
Then when the dog starts howling and chasing the chickens, you yell at him, hoping if you yell loud enough he will stop.

Finally when he starts to kill the chickens you pull out your shotgun and blow the dumb sob away.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 02:59 pm
It seems that both Finn and Parados assume that 'pacifism' somehow implies passive acquiescence to the status quo. Not necessarily so. Some pacifists lay their safety and even their lives on the line, protesting against unjust wars. One doesn't have to pick up a gun in order to fight injustice. There are subtler ways.

(Just for the record, I am not a pacifist, conscientous objector or anything of the sort.)
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NeoGuin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2005 10:22 pm
Actually parados is close to what I'm thinking will happen.

I'll explain later
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2005 10:58 am
Re: Take Up The Sword You Young Progressives
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
What happened to the Lincoln Brigade?

That depends. Where's the Spanish Civil War?
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Feb, 2005 08:38 pm
Excellent short essay on the subject:

Excerpt:

Quote:
Pacifists weaken their claims whenever they seem more eager to condemn our own violence than the violence of our adversaries. Those who espouse an absolutist creed should be especially wary of moral relativism.


Pacifists, Serious and Otherwise By E. J. Dionne Jr.

Friday, October 5, 2001; Page A37

When I registered for the draft during the late days of the Vietnam War, I checked the box opening the option to apply for conscientious objector status. I then went to work on a statement trying to explain my pacifism.

I labored over that essay. By the time I was done, there was only one problem: I did not convince myself. The exercise proved to me that I was not a pacifist, that I believed there were times when force and violence were morally justified in defense of our nation and of freedom. I kept myself in the draft pool. My draft number never came up.

The irony is that as I became ever more convinced of the problems of pacifism, I developed an enormous respect for individual pacifists and for rigorous pacifist thinkers. These were people who understood the seriousness of individual participation in war and asked themselves hard questions about their own responsibilities. I was glad pacifists existed, even as I was glad they were not making government policy.

The point of this reverie is to offer a hope that as a nation, we do not demonize pacifists in the coming months and years as we wage war on terrorism -- a war I support. There's a danger that we will.

My colleague Michael Kelly recently wrote on this page that pacifism was "evil." Many pacifists, he said, are "liars," "frauds" and "hypocrites." Human nature being what it is, I'm sure that all political movements, including antiwar movements, have their share of these three kinds of people. But pacifism is decidedly not evil.

The true pacifist -- as against, say, someone who uses pacifist words to justify anti-Americanism or the violence of our foes -- subscribes to a stern moral creed. The creed insists that human beings can never use violence against other human beings, even when it might be in their interest to do so, and even when, by the normal standards of the world, violence would be justified.

Most serious pacifists bear no resemblance to the hip, upper-class, self-indulgent anti-warriors who are so easily parodied and attacked. They are often devoutly religious people -- Mennonites, Quakers and many others -- who abhor self-indulgence as much as they abhor violence.

Like individuals who take vows of poverty, pacifists challenge our usual ways of doing business. The person who gives up all worldly goods to help others reminds the rest of us that we're not nearly as good or moral or generous as we think we are. The pacifist reminds us that the violence we commit, even in the name of what we may rightly see as good ends, is still, in some sense, ungodly.

"We who allow ourselves to become engaged in war," wrote the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1940, "need this testimony of the absolutist against us, lest we accept the warfare of the world as normative, lest we become callous to the horror of war, and lest we forget the ambiguity of our own actions and motives and the risk we run of achieving no permanent good from the momentary anarchy in which we are involved."

Niebuhr offered these thoughts in an essay criticizing pacifism. Those who believe the United States has no right to take military action against terror might usefully ponder the theologian's critique of those who thought it wrong for the democracies to confront Hitler.

"Whatever may be the moral ambiguities of the so-called democratic nations," he wrote, "and however serious may be their failure to conform perfectly to their democratic ideals, it is sheer moral perversity to equate the inconsistencies of a democratic civilization with the brutalities which modern tyrannical states practice."

That, in a nutshell, is why I decided I couldn't be a pacifist and why I believe a war against the tyranny of terror is justified now. But for those who are pacifists, there is also a lesson in Niebuhr's words. Pacifists weaken their claims whenever they seem more eager to condemn our own violence than the violence of our adversaries. Those who espouse an absolutist creed should be especially wary of moral relativism.

Here's the paradox: The fact that we live under a political system that honors the right of individuals to object conscientiously to engaging in war is one of the reasons why ours is a system worth defending. Osama bin Laden's world does not allow for pacifists. Ours does. To stand up for pacifists -- even when you disagree with them, and especially when they're unpopular -- is to protect this moral difference.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company
http://www.herndonfriends.org/messages/pacifists.html
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2005 12:01 am
Re: Take Up The Sword You Young Progressives
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
Has pacifism trumped idealism?


Why do you implicate here that pacifism is no idealism? Shocked


Those who chose to fight against Spanish fascism were hardly pacifists, but they were idealists.

I suppose that a bevy of pacifists awaiting extinction rather than taking up arms might be considered idealists, but can you identify them?

Identification doesn't imply validity, but it does tend to suggest it.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2005 12:03 am
NeoGuin wrote:
Saw a shirt that said:

"Peace takes courage too".

And perhaps we progressives see no cause nobel enough to take up arms (Including Imperialsim).

If the electoral process seems to fail, I fear in 20-30 years we could see progressives taking up arms:(


Perhaps you (current) progressives do see no cause nobel enough to take up arms, in which case I strongly suggest that you consult your opthalmologist. Your predecessors had no such failure of vision.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2005 12:11 am
Merry Andrew wrote:
It seems that both Finn and Parados assume that 'pacifism' somehow implies passive acquiescence to the status quo. Not necessarily so. Some pacifists lay their safety and even their lives on the line, protesting against unjust wars. One doesn't have to pick up a gun in order to fight injustice. There are subtler ways.

(Just for the record, I am not a pacifist, conscientous objector or anything of the sort.)


Indeed. There is no one more courageous than a true pacifist.

Unfortunately, there are so very few true pacifists among us. Instead we are are met with dilettantes who profess to abhor war but who will clamor for the protection of the military as soon as their pseudo-intellectual asses comes into peril.

To be willing to give up one's life and/or liberty rather than to do violence (under any circumstances) is the mindset of a blessed fool, but it utterly admirable in it's purity of belief. How many such people walk our streets?
127?

I admire true pacifists. I despise the phony ones (who are the majority).
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2005 12:13 am
Re: Take Up The Sword You Young Progressives
joefromchicago wrote:
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
What happened to the Lincoln Brigade?

That depends. Where's the Spanish Civil War?


How droll.

Take your pick:

Burma
Russia
Syria
Suadia Arabia
Lebanon
Nigeria

etc etc etc
0 Replies
 
NeoGuin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2005 04:05 am
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
NeoGuin wrote:
Saw a shirt that said:

"Peace takes courage too".

And perhaps we progressives see no cause nobel enough to take up arms (Including Imperialsim).

If the electoral process seems to fail, I fear in 20-30 years we could see progressives taking up arms:(


Perhaps you (current) progressives do see no cause nobel enough to take up arms, in which case I strongly suggest that you consult your opthalmologist. Your predecessors had no such failure of vision.


Our predecessors also did not have technology that can make thier voice heard.

Anyhow, could taking up arms be a way to "Cull the herd"?
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2005 09:01 am
I always wonder how far an honest pacifist takes pacifism? At what point will it be deemed appropriate to embrace violence in the face of violence?

We all have a some kind of sense of right and wrong, but we all draw the line someplace. Is it wrong to snitch a grape or two
in the grocery store while shopping? How about a whole bunch of grapes? Or can you taste a grape to ensure its sweetness before buying the whole bunch--one grape would not affect the store's bottom line, etc.

Moving this analogy to pacifism, the true pacifist would think it wrong to take up arms to go fight in the foreign legion in wars that were none of your business. How about to save millions of Jews from the Nazi gas chambers and ovens? How about to defend one's country against foreign aggression. How about to protect your business from vandals? How about against gunmen randomly shooting school children at their school? How about to defend your person from somebody intent on doing you harm? How about to defend your wife, husband, or child against a crazed murderer/rapist?

I suppose the true pacifist would not act in the face of any threat to his person, his family, his neighbor, his community, his nation, other people/other nations. But I think there is a point there somewhere that most of us would engage in violence. The next question of course, for the principled person, is where that point is.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2005 09:20 am
I am a true pacifist, I keep a loaded winchester 30-30 at my front door in case anyone chooses to disagree with me.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2005 09:43 am
Well, Foxfyre, I don't know, from where you got your description of "true pacifiscm".

I think that pacifism is generally "the opposition to war and violence as a means of settling disputes".
Quote:
There are two general approaches or varieties of pacifist behaviour and aspirations. The one rests on the advocacy of pacifism and the complete renunciation of war as a policy to be adopted by a nation. The other stems from the conviction of an individual that his personal conscience forbids him to participate in any act of war and perhaps in any act of violence whatsoever.
(Quotes from Britannica

Quote:
How about to save millions of Jews from the Nazi gas chambers and ovens?


I don't see any connection to pacifism here, it's more moral courage, which is questioned here (besides others).

Quote:
Personal pacifism is a relatively common phenomenon compared to national pacifism. Members of several small Christian sects who try to literally follow the precepts of Jesus Christ have refused to participate in military service in many nations and have been willing to suffer the criminal or civil penalties that followed. Not all of these and other conscientious objectors are pacifists, but the great majority of conscientious objectors base their refusal to serve on their pacifist convictions. There are, moreover, wide differences of opinion among pacifists themselves about their attitude toward a community at war, ranging from the very small minority who would refuse to do anything that could help the national effort to those prepared to offer any kind of service short of actual fighting.
(Source as above)

Pacifists always belonged to the group, which would be accepted as conscientious objectors in Germany.
However, when I was drafted, they asked exactly questions like yours. (And so I didn't start objected, since I definately would defense my family's life - the question, the procedure usually started.)
The Federl Court of Constitution years later ruled this unlawful, because objecting service in an armed force/ to a war is different to personal defense, even for pacifists.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2005 10:10 am
Walter, I do not quarrel with the notion that one can be a conscientious objector and still be willing to defend his/her person and/or loved ones, etc. And I will accept that you equate conscientious objector status and pacifism as the same thing.

My comments were purely to demonstrate that we all draw a line someplace. You questioned me including the Nazi extermination of the Jews in the example. With that history behind them and in the national conscience, do you think most Germans would now look the other way and allow that to happen? I don't. So does it violate the pacifist's convictions against war to physically act to stop such inhumanity to man?

If the French got a burr under their saddle and decided to invade Germany and take it over today, would the German pacifists just put their hands in their pocket and passively allow it to happen? I bet most wouldn't.

I think we all draw that line someplace--we all might draw it in a different place, but we all draw it.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2005 10:12 am
For the unprogressives: is there any cause you would not fight for?
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Mar, 2005 10:58 am
Define unprogressive Smile
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