840 Pacifism revisited

I like to think things through thoroughly ... and inspire readers to
think about things the way they never thought about them before.


I had reason to revisit the issue of pacifism. In an e-mail exchange it was said:

"The thing I didn’t completely agree with was “Pacifism; war is wrong, period”. Pacifism is a great concept in theory but the implementation of it is where I get lost. You’d really have to get EVERYBODY on the same page, or you’d have some real problems on your hand. There’s always going to be evil in the world, it’s just human nature for some and somebody has to be willing to do something about it."

The oft mis-understood concept of pacifism puzzles many people, so that indeed is a statement many would agree with; but ...

... so I believe the doctrine: “Pacifism; war is wrong, period”  holds. 

The implementation - of course - is the all-important issue.

Most people think of pacifism as the act of not responding to an acute threat with appropriate action, i.e. if one is attacked, the pacifists will not retaliate, since they do not take up arms. This line of thought - in my view - is a “spurious digression”, it is avoiding the crucial issue of functional, implementable, effective, realistic pacifism. 

The pacifism I am talking about is a force that works in a longer time-frame than just the immediate threat (if your family is threatened, you do what is required in that situation; there is a fist in “pacifist”). So, pacifism applied today in the form of considered negotiations (take the issue of North Korea) will prevent war tomorrow.

Let's for a moment linger on the issue of North Korea. We may be on the brink of war, where two leaders use extraordinary language to position themselves as the ones having the upper hand in a conflict that is created  through the perception that if the DPRK gains nuclear weapons they will upset the balance of power to the detriment of America - on the one hand - but where the leadership in N. Korea - on the other hand - are full well aware that only the ownership of nuclear weapons guarantees their survival (Kim Jong-un probably thinks all day long about that Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi would be alive, had they had nuclear weapons). While it is clear that North Korea will soon have nuclear capabilities, few world leaders disagree that their intentions are defensive; they know a nuclear war would utterly destroy their country. Importantly, the German leader Dr. Merkel takes the unequivocal position that "diplomacy offers the only way out of the crisis". Note her wording, it is the "only" way ... this is pacifism at work. The difference in her approach and the approach by the US president is peace-consciousness vs war-consciousness ... I have an essay on the subject (see links below).

It is often said, “pacifism doesn’t work, just look at WWII”. Other than my essays on PACIFISM there is FIGHTING FOR PEACE; you may say, “… somebody has to be willing to do something …” However, the crucial point is just what it is somebody does and why. In my essay (links below) I relay the story of the US entering WWI ...

... America were compelled to do so in order to resolve the impasse of France & the United Kingdom being bogged down in a year-long war of attrition with Germany. At the time Germans and Allies were close to negotiating peace terms. The entry of the US into the war lead to a resounding victory for the Allies. As a result very unfavourable conditions for surrender were imposed on Germany in the Paris Peace Conference. The outcome were stifling economic depression in Germany and renewed nationalism. This gave rise to Hitler and eventually caused WWII. 

Thus pacifists can claim that when the USA entered the fray in 1917 in order to "fight for peace” - where they were compelled "to do something" - they were instrumental in starting another war ... their engagement resulted - indirectly and inadvertently - in WWII. The beginning of WWI, by he way, was a result of over-the-top notions of nationalism and patriotism on behalf of Austria-Hungary, when the heir to their throne was assassinated. Note: this was the statement that started this discussion; among other issues, my book en.light.en.ment is about ...

Pacifism; war is wrong, period. So is nationalism & patriotism 

The closing line to my essay is: 

"Actions have consequences. 

One never knows what consequences Fighting for Peace will have; 

quite possibly, though, not peace.” 

I have essays PACIFISM 1, 2 and 3, As well as PACIFISTS,  FIGHTING FOR PEACE and WAR/PEACE CONSCIOUSNESS in my book with no title, but three definitions for the term en.light.en.ment ... as well as my PACIFIST MANIFESTO

And - last not least - PEACE