Posts Tagged ‘pacifism’

You can’t handle the truth!

Friday, August 29th, 2014 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts, Video

In the film A Few Good Men Colonel Jessep speaks the often quoted, though perhaps not very well understood, “the truth? You can’t handle the truth.”

I used to consider myself more right-wing in that I was (and still am) a libertarian. Though as I have grown older I have come round to more of a lefty socialist world view. However, my attitude towards the military has changed in the opposite direction.

As a libertarian I was anti-military. My view was that we should just let other countries get on with it and you should not be classified as a hero for taking government money to go murder black and brown people. Consistent with my libertarianism, though not a view in line with what many other people on the right would think, most of whom want to see aggressive military spending.

As a socialist, I am now not no so sure. If we are going to say that the machinery of governments should be used to maximise equality instead of liberty, then why should it stop at an arbitrary national border? Why insist that money be taken from the rich and given to the poor, while at the same time reconciling North Koreans to their horrible fate of oppression and starvation?

Of course one message to take away from this is that the whole left-right issues are not so easily pigeon-holed. But also, that the left-right view points are often inconsistent within themselves – the right do not want the state to interfere (except in the bedroom), the left do want the state to interfere (but not in the bedroom).

Back on the video though, it illustrates an important point. This issue is not an easy one. How do you balance the desire for peace with the desire for justice and liberty?


Saturday, May 5th, 2012 | Humanism, Religion & Politics

At the rather delayed meeting of the Humanist Society of West Yorkshire which had to be moved back to accomodate term times at the Swarthmore Centre that took place recently, Gijsbert presented a talk on Pacifism and Humanism.

It’s a tricky subject and one which has been debated before in the group – notably when there was a suggestion that as a society we should lay a wreath on Remembrance Day.

It was a really interesting talk, and I agreed with Gijsbert that going to war simply doesn’t make sense in modern times. However, as I blogged about in December, the real question facing most of us today is are we willing to go along with the state’s brainwashing of the lower working class to convince them go die in Afghanistan on our behalf.

You would assume the answer would be no, but it becomes more tricky when, as a Humanist, I am also an interventionist when it comes to things like genocide. How do we work out whether someone really is going the military voluntarily, knowing what the reality of war is, or simply because of “it’s noble to die for your country” propaganda and economic conscription. Such issues cause me a great struggle in trying to reconcile both my Pacifism and my Interventionism, with my Humanism.