who will say with

Tolstoi

And, above all, why should I contribute, whether in person or by paying for military service, to the enslavement and destruction of my brothers and parents? Why should I scourge myself? All this is of no use to me; on the contrary, it does me harm. It is altogether degrading, immoral, mean, and contemptible. Why, then, should I do all this? If I am told that I shall be made to suffer in any event, I reply that in the first place, there can be no possible suffering greater than that which would befall me were I to execute your commands. And in the second place, it is perfectly evident to me that if we refuse to scourge ourselves, no one else will do it for us. Governments are but sovereigns, statesmen, officials, who can no more force me against my will, than the stanovoy could force the peasants; I should be brought before the court, or thrown into prison, or executed, not by the sovereign, or the high officials, but by men in the same position as myself; and as it would be equally injurious and disagreeable for them to be scourged as for me, I should probably open their eyes, and they would not only refrain from injuring me, but would doubtless follow my example. And in the third place, though I were made to suffer for this, it would still be better for me to be exiled or imprisoned, doing battle in the cause of common sense and truth, which must eventually triumph, if not to-day, then to-morrow, or before many days, than to suffer in the cause of folly and evil. It would rather be to my advantage to risk being exiled, imprisoned, or even executed, than remain, through my own fault, a life-long slave of evil men, to be ruined by an invading enemy, or mutilated like an idiot, or killed while defending a cannon, a useless territory, or a senseless piece of cloth called a flag. I have no inclination to scourge myself, it would be of no use. You may do it yourselves if you choose—I refuse

and is there a chance that it is possible?

On war

Bear with me a little more. We are still on Tolstoi and we will be talking about his ideas or what he quotes for the next 2 weeks at least.

First he quotes Maupassant, and I will extract a part of the passage. He, Maupassant, writes

“War!… The fighting!… The murdering!… The slaughter of men!… And to-day, with all our wisdom, civilization, with the advancement of science, the degree of philosophy to which the human spirit has attained, we have schools where the art of murder, of aiming with deadly accuracy and killing large numbers of men at a distance, is actually taught, killing poor, harmless devils who have families to support, killing them without even the pretext of the law.

It is stupefying that the people do not rise up in arms against the governments. What difference is there between monarchies and republics? It is stupefying that society does not revolt as a unit at the very sound of the word war.

“Alas! we shall never be free from oppression of the hateful, hideous customs, the criminal prejudices, and the ferocious impulses of our barbarous ancestors, for we are beasts; and beasts we shall remain, moved by our instincts and susceptible of no improvement.

and then the views of Emile Zola on war

“I look upon war as a fatal necessity which seems to us indispensable because of its close connection with human nature and all creation. Would that it might be postponed as long as possible! Nevertheless a time will come when we shall be forced to fight. At this moment I am regarding the subject from the universal standpoint, and am not hinting at our unfriendly relations with Germany, which are but a trifling incident in the world’s history. I affirm that war is useful and necessary, since it is one of the conditions of human existence. The fighting instinct is to be found not only among the different tribes and peoples, but in domestic and private life as well. It is one of the chief elements of progress, and every advancing step taken by mankind up to the present time has been accompanied by bloodshed.

“Men have talked, and still do talk, of disarmament; and yet disarmament is utterly impossible, for even though it were possible, we should be compelled to renounce it. It is only an armed nation that can be powerful and great. I believe that a general disarmament would be followed by a moral degradation, assuming the form of a widespread effeminacy which would impede the progress of humanity. Warlike nations have always been vigorous. The military art has contributed to the development of other arts. History shows us this. In Athens and Rome, for instance, commerce, industry, and literature reached their highest development when these cities ruled the world by the force of arms. And nearer to our own time we found an example in the reign of Louis XIV. The wars of the great king, so far from impeding the advance of arts and sciences, seemed rather to promote and to favor their progress.”

Is the cause of peace so lost? Should those advocates of pacifism shut it and get something worthwhile, like selling ammunition, to do?

What is the Christian to do?

Should Christians bear arms?

Is non-violence practicable?

And what are your views on this statement by Ballou

“One man must not kill. If he does, it is murder; two, ten, one hundred men, acting on their responsibility, must not kill. If they do, it is still murder. But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is no murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent. But how many does it take? This is the question. Just so with theft, robbery, burglary, and all other crimes. Man-stealing is a great crime in one man, or a very few men only. But a whole nation can commit it, and the act becomes not only innocent, but highly honorable.”

America’s Armed forces 

In times of peace by Major General Smedley Butler

 

Our Ideal Never Defensive

Lest this seem to be the bellicose pipedream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indian, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini. No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. And at the rate our armed forces are being implemented at present, the odds are against our fighting one in the near future.

The War Plans Section spends all its time creating blue-prints for the “defense” of this country. This means, f course, vast schemes for foreign invasion and offensive war. The personnel of this division are those whose hides will never be scratched should hostilities occur. Consequently they can devise plans of whatever magnitude they fancy, and against any momentary “enemy.” Nothing troubles them; and, as we shall soon see, such a detail as how their next war is going to be paid for is not even considered.

America’s Armed forces 

In times of peace by Major General Smedley Butler

 

Our Ideal Never Defensive

Lest this seem to be the bellicose pipedream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indian, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini. No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. And at the rate our armed forces are being implemented at present, the odds are against our fighting one in the near future.

The War Plans Section spends all its time creating blue-prints for the “defense” of this country. This means, f course, vast schemes for foreign invasion and offensive war. The personnel of this division are those whose hides will never be scratched should hostilities occur. Consequently they can devise plans of whatever magnitude they fancy, and against any momentary “enemy.” Nothing troubles them; and, as we shall soon see, such a detail as how their next war is going to be paid for is not even considered.

My solution to war

Among humans.

I have finished reading The Territorial Imperative. Thanks arch for the recommendation.

The solution to war, if Ardrey is to be believed, is to ensure there is just enough natural hazards everywhere to keep us distracted from killing one another.

Every time we have a common problem facing the country, people forget their tribes, bigotry and hate for a moment, even if it is just a few hours and direct their energy to helping one another.

The million dollar question is how to cause this natural events. That I leave to others to come up with.

On war

In his book, the Mysterious Stranger, Mark Twain, devotes a paragraph to war. He has Philip Traum – Satan, say

There has never been a just one, never an honorable one on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful,  as usual,  will shout for the war. The pulpit will, warily and cautiously, object at first ; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war and will say earnestly and indignantly “it is unjust and dishonourable and there is no necessity for it.”
Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen,and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them and presently the antiwar audience will thin out and lose popularity.
…next the statesmen will invent cheap lies,putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience soothing falsities and will diligently study them and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war was just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self deception.

Iraq war anyone?
Elsewhere in the same book, he has Philip Traum talk of human civilization.  He says

You perceive that you have made continual progress. Chain did his murder with a club; the Hebrews did their murders with javelins and swords; the Greeks and Romans added protective armor and the fine arts of military organisation and generalship; the Christian has added guns and gunpowder; a few centuries from now he will have so greatly improved the deadly effectiveness of his weapons of slaughter that all men will confess that without Christian civilization war must have remained a poor trifling thing to the end of time.

He continues to say

[…]they all did their best, to kill being the chiefest ambition of the human race and the earliest incident in its history – but only the Christian civilization has scored a triumph to be proud of. Two or three centuries from now it will be recognised that all the competent killers are Christians; then the pagan world will go to school to the Christian – not to acquire his religion, but his guns. The Turk and the Chinaman will buy those to kill the missionaries and converts with.