Friday, September 30, 2005

Why pacifism doesn't always work

With my joining the armed forces, I'm sure you've figured out I'm not a peacenik. I hold a high value for freedom for my friends and family...and am willing to fight for it. For some out there, peace is something that they feel *must* be pursued; even to their own doom. While I respect their outlook, I cannot understand that they have nothing they would ever fight for.

One of the main visionaries for these people is Ghandi. While (once again) I respect his outlook, I cannot fathom his choices when dealing with some opponents. While dealing with the British with acts of civil disobediance may have worked, it was a major failure when dealing with the Muslims...and, arguably, led to more deaths. In this fascinating post by neo-neocon, she goes into excellent detail on the pitfalls on Ghandi's pacifism:

Even when the killing had started, Gandhi refused to take pity on the Hindu victims, much less to point fingers at the Pakistani aggressors. More importantly for the principle of non-violence, he failed to offer them a non-violent technique of countering and dissuading the murderers. Instead, he told the Hindu refugees from Pakistan to go back and die. On 6 August 1947, Gandhiji commented to Congress workers on the incipient communal conflagration in Lahore thus: "I am grieved to learn that people are running away from the West Punjab and I am told that Lahore is being evacuated by the non-Muslims. I must say that this is what it should not be. If you think Lahore is dead or is dying, do not run away from it, but die with what you think is the dying Lahore..."

This is absolute pacifism run amok; as Elst writes, "a form of masochistic surrender." There is an ancient Talmudic saying: "He who is kind to the cruel ends up being cruel to the kind." The fact that in Gandhi's efforts to stop violence "he indirectly provoked far more violence than was in his power to control" is a good example of that principle in action.

Read it all, for it is excellent.


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