Thursday, March 01, 2007
The Selfishness of Pacifism
While I have some respect for pacifists because of their commitment to an ideal many of them believe is biblical, I have recently been re-reading a book of views about war and I have been impressed by the overall selfishness of pacifist and non-resistant positions. Constantly, people with pacifist or non-resistant positions toward war talk about themselves and their enemies. They constantly focus on how they will respond to the enemy, what they will do, what they feel, what they think, what God thinks of them, and what God requires of them. Nowhere in the articles about just war or non-resistant positions do I see people thinking about the victims of aggressive totalitarian regimes. I think the real question involved in the morality of war is not whether we are going to fight back ourselves, but whether we are going to protect others. If it was just a matter of the defender and the attacker, the defender might be justified in turning the other cheek and not resisting evil. But it isn’t like that at all. In the situation of war, we have many people who are being attacked by the aggressor (or in the case of a preventive war, who would have been attacked by the aggressor if the aggressor hadn’t been attacked first). War theory has to think about these third party innocents, not just about the belligerents. In discussing whether or not it was right to fight the Nazis, we have to take into account the Holocaust and the atrocities against the Poles and others. In deciding whether or not war is right in general, we have to think about the third party victims of unrestrained aggressive regimes.