Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pacifist and pitbulls

A guy named Joel Stein wrote, in the LA Times, that he doesn't support the troops in Iraq. There's a flurry of responses in the blogosphere and elsewhere now.

Mr. Stein, it seems, is a pacifist who's determined that moral rectitude lies with those who decline violence under any circumstances. Well, we're Americans, so, we believe he's entitled to his own opinions/beliefs/voice, etc. And his voice is loud, coming from a major newspaper, so he's getting, at least, a fair share of justice for his views. If it's okay with Mr. Stein, I'll grab my own, though lesser, megaphone now.

There are no pacifist nations, only pacifistic enclaves within nations. Indeed, if any pacifist nation ever existed it would be but a footnote in history for it certainly was absorbed by a less morally constricted neighbor.

There have been some admirable pacifists in history, and some admirable pacifist groups, as well. Ghandi's name comes to mind easily. One can certainly admire the depth of his belief, his faith. Yet, a Ghandi-led India would've been marched into the ovens of a Nazi Auswitz or a Soviet gulag to die, if not for the fortunate lack of proximity to the butchery and the protection of more martial nations. Pacifists proudly proclaim their willingness to be herded to what ever fate or slaughterhouse a forceful sheperd desires. They survive only by the protection offered by another who is less morally straight-jacketed.

Pacifists pride themselves on the virtue they perceive derives from their denial of aggression and, even, defense. I wonder, though, what might be a pacifists' response if he, or his child perhaps, were attacked by two or three pitbulls?

Does one lose his virtue if he picks up a stick to beat off the dogs? Must he, simply, permit himself or a loved one to be mauled? Perhaps he might just grab the offending animals and try to pull them off?

So, does the pacifist fight in this scenario? If so, then their belief is either very shallow or very false. Maybe you'll posit the case that a pitbull is a lower animal and, thus, not protected. Well, these things do vary, don't they? Cows are sacred in some places, rats and snakes in others. I guess it depends upon where you believe the starting point is when respecting life. The religious can, at least, explain that having a soul sets the threshold. The non-religious have to set themselves a much more arbitrary, and far less logical, threshold. Species-ism, anyone?

Mr Stein, you, and those like you, are permitted to survive ONLY because me, and those like me permit you your moral cocoon. Do us, your moral inferiors, a courtesy and don't assail us for our permissive nature. To people like you, the only good soldier is Cindy Sheehan's son. Without us (and him), you and yours could not indulge yourselves.

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