Finding Our Strength in Peace

I’ve been absent a bit, and plan on catching up on my blogging tonight.  I figured I’d start things off with some thoughts on what it means to be a pacifist.  Given some of the topics I plan on tackling, this will help put my perspective in perspective.  Robert W. Smith in Chinese Boxing: Masters and Methods:

A military state is essentially a weak state, for the claim that its citizens have on it is peace, which cannot be gained by weapons.  The solution is a rigorous pacifism.

To truly oppose war is a profound statement of ethical and practical strength.  There is a reason the greatest men and women to walk the earth have been pacifists (Einstein, Gandhi, MLK), and the very worst have actively sought war (hitler, pol pot).  To fight endlessly is to open oneself to fighting, and to celebrate war is to make a mockery of its price.  Lao Tzu (Cheng via Tam Gibbs):

Since weapons are inauspicious instruments, they are not the instruments of a noble man.

He uses them only when necessary, for peace and quiet are what he holds highest.

To him even a victory is not worthy of celebration.

Those who celebrate it take pleasure in the slaughter of men.

Those who take pleasure in the slaughter of men consequently cannot have their will with the world.

It is especially those who fight who must eschew any love of warfare.  War is a terrible burden, placed upon shoulders under only the gravest of situations in an absolute dearth of alternatives.  It is systemic murder, and a society that commits murder lightly has grown sick and rotten in its soul.

Robert W. Smith, Masters and Methods:

There is almost no reason in the world to fight.  But there is every reason in the world to know how to fight

A prepared military is a wise thing to have.  Our military is not prepared.  An overextended military that puts retired and wounded troops back into combat is not ready to handle the challenges of the 21st century.

We have a culture that puts violence on a pedestal, sometimes next to a cross.  If we are going to emerge from the smoke and blood of the last 7 years, our ethical and practical alternative of a “rigorous pacifism” must prevail.  A nation that values and pursues peace is a nation that knows strength.

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