Friday, June 18, 2004

There is No Such Thing as Pacifism

Merriam-Webster defines the word "pacifism" as follows:

Main Entry: pac•i•fism
Pronunciation: 'pa-s&-"fi-z&m
Function: noun
Etymology: French pacifisme, from pacifique pacific
1 : opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes; specifically : refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds
2 : an attitude or policy of nonresistance

To say that you are a pacifist because you believe in settling disputes by means other than war sounds nice. But what does it really mean when you have to put it into practice? Any answer that any pacifist gives would have to be based on some form of agreement between potentially warring parties whereby they found some common ground and avoided war. However, if a belligerent nation knew that its adversary faithfully embraced the pacifist ideal that belligerent nation would know that it could demand anything that it wanted from the pacifist nation in an effort "to find common ground.” Remember that under no circumstances would the pacifist nation resort to warfare to defend what it values against the belligerent nation. If it did have conditions that would lead it to war then it wouldn’t really be a pacifist nation it would be a “peace loving” nation which I believe is at least a little different. So what "pacifism" really means to the nation that embraces the ideal is really just a resignation to give its adversaries whatever they ultimately want so that war can be avoided.

This is not pacifism it is appeasement.

Thus you really can never be a pacifist...you can only be an appeaser. So there really is no such thing as pacifism in the end anyway. Furthermore…

You can never be an appeaser for long because eventually all appeasers will lose either their willingness to appease at all costs or their freedom to make the decision in the first place.

Do you see this? Once again…anything that a nation would do in the name of “pacifism” is really just some form of appeasement.

Those reading this might suggest that I am wrong and that all we have to do is find some means of getting the belligerents to be less brazen and then they won't demand unreasonable things and we won't have to even consider warfare to defend what we value. I would agree that this does work in some cases. Unfortunately, there will always eventually be a belligerent so maniacally bent on achieving something or other that they will resort to war at all costs. So you in turn will have to appease them or fight them. It is as simple as that.

I am sure that those who are critical of what I am saying here would avoid responding to the issue by countering with the evasive yet provocative question “So what is the United States then…it is certainly not pacifist but is it a belligerent nation or is it a ‘peace-loving’ nation?” That question is really about moral-equivalence which deserves broader treatment in a future post.

- The American Hawk

P.S. Note the nation from which the word “pacifism” comes.

1 Comments:

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