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Old Jun 15, '12, 8:52 am
Contarini Contarini is offline
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Join Date: June 4, 2004
Posts: 17,500
Religion: Christian (beyond that it's complicated right now)
Default Re: Pacifism and Memorial Day

Originally Posted by TheDoors View Post
Ahh, one of my favourite topics. Pacifism.

A pacifist is one who believes that violence should be the last recourse.
No. That's just a decent, moral person. A pacifist is better defined as someone who thinks that violence (at least lethal violence) is never a legitimate recourse at all.

Otherwise you're watering down the word so that it really doesn't mean anything any more, and has little connection with the more common usage of the word, making for confusing communication.

A friend of mine once claimed to be a "kind of vegetarian" because he ate fish but not meat. Same thing. A "pescatarian" is not a kind of vegetarian, and a person who advocates the responsible, restrained use of lethal force as a last resort is not a kind of pacifist.


The other group tends to be vets. Men and women who have seen combat, and what it does to people. They have also seen what happens when good men and women stand aside and let evil happen.
You're assuming that the alternative to war is "letting evil happen." There are a lot of false assumptions in that dichotomy.

I entirely agree (this applies to George Steigmeir's post too) that treating veterans with disrespect because you don't agree with war (or with a particular war) is despicable. If, that is, we mean actual rudeness and discrimination. One can refrain from venerating them in the manner that other people do (obsequiously going up to them and saying "Thank you for your service," for instance) without showing disrespect.

Similarly, a Protestant can refrain from asking for a Catholic priest's blessing without resorting to rudeness and disrespect. Pacifists should treat members of the military or veterans the way they would treat clergy of a religion they don't believe in. Because that's basically what you are.

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