At the Board (2)
I was discussing, once, with a pacifist comrade of mine, the 'you have a gun and can only stop them by..' scenarios. His reply was simple: "I wouldn't have a gun."
Simple as that. It sounds, at first hearing, like a major league cop out. The scenario is as it is, you can't just change the terms of the question because you don't like them. Surely?
As I demonstrate below, though, the terms restricting such scenarios are actually means of denying a moral choice. "I wouldn't hae a gun" is a means of re-asserting that moral choice.
I goes further than that, though. "I wouldn't have a gun" is the outcome of an attitude of process, or seeing the events in movement as the basis for acting to avoid death and destruction, of acting in such a way as to minimise or prevents the occurance of deaths in the first place. Obviously, this attitude goes beyond the personal to the political, and to pacifism as a specific policy approach.
When pro-warriors, such as the mob at Harry's Place, start discussing war, as they are now over Sudan, they are echoing the 'you have a gun' scenario. The syllogism is:
1)Events in [Country X] are terrible.
2)They must be stopped.
3)We have the military capacity to stop them.
4)Therefore, we must stop them.
All very simple, and utterly unarguable, except for the pressupositions packed tightly into Point 3.
Where does the capacity to act come from? What is the basis for this capacity to act? Is the capacity to act related to the cause of events in Country X?
That capacity to act comes from a position, I would argue, in a world military/economic system whereby force is recognised as the utlimate arbiter, and especially, as a rational arbiter. That is, it is more effective in reward terms for coporate entities such as nation states to deploy military force to pursue their interests than not to. Consequetly, riches and military might are closely aligned.
That is, capacity to act comes from the same system that prompts/motivates most of the humanitarian infractions that the humanitarian militarists urge action against.
I would suggest, that rather than acting within that system and thus perpetuating it, the greater good lies in trying to to take arms against the sea of armaments, and by opposing end them. Each humanitarian interention just invites another, and another ad nauseum, like playing Bop-a-Mole at the fairground. Another militaresque interloper will always come along.
Much like the current New Statesman, I think it more constructive to build a world system where co-operation between humans is their most rational choice, and is the easiest choice. I'll try and expand some further time, but I'll close this post with the point, that to support military intervetions means supporrting military budets and the existence of an armed force geared for freign adventures much more than it is for defence of the 'homeland'.
To go to war, even to save lives, ultimately means perpetuating the war system, and is thus inconsistant with taking such actions as will tend towards minimising or preventing loss of life.
This series will probably continue with some cogitation on just and unjust wars...