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Patriotism Vs. Pacificism

Politics Patriotism Pacificism

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#1 Blondie

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 06:26 PM

Given a letter written to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about a former Green Beret named William Cole and his quote:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things.  The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling that nothing is worth fighting for is much worse.  A man who has nothing for which he is willing to stand up and fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal comfort and safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of remaining free unless made and kept so by the exertions and sacrifices of better men than himself."

Are pacificism and patriotism exclusive?

I'll withhold my viewpoint for a few posts. :D
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#2 the 'Hawk

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 06:31 PM

Your quote and question have nothing in common.

It's not that pacifists have nothing to fight for. It's that they see no reason to use violence-- no reason to fight.

The suggestion from the quote you posted, as I read it, is that a pacifist is a wuss who isn't willing to stand up for anything. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I'm not a pacifist myself, but I don't see it the way the Green Beret does. Not surprisingly, as I've never been in combat, and if he has, he probably couldn't tell you anyway.

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#3 Jid

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 06:35 PM

Patriotism mutually exclusive from Pacifism?

Ummmmm.

Exhibit A:  Mahatma Gandhi

'Nuff Said. ;)
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#4 Blondie

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 06:39 PM

Hawk, sorry shoulda been more clear...I had a distraction going on in the next room...don't ask.

Actually, I see pacifists as those who will not *fight*.  Given that, is a person who declares him/herself a pacifist not a patriot?

Jid...excellent point.

Edited by TrancesHuggyPillow, 24 August 2003 - 06:42 PM.

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#5 Godeskian

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 06:40 PM

chuckle, interesting example Jid.

Speaking as a pacificist i'd say that Mr. Cole's comments are exactly what i'd expect from a professional soldier. As much as i'll never be able to understand the mindest of someone like that, i garantuee you he will never understand mine either.

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#6 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 07:53 PM

No I don’t think they are mutually exclusive in their nature.  You can still be a pacifist and be out for what you think is best for your country.  

I would tend more a stance that total pacifism considering the world we are in is a naive and often downright suicidal stance.  Gandhi in predicting that civil disobedience and pacifism would have worked against Hitler was hopelessly naďve in that conclusion.  His use of nonviolence against the British hinged on two primary things that if removed would have led to his failure.  The first was a free press to carry the stories worldwide.  The second is the British carried about the world’s reaction and international/domestic backlash enough to not take more aggressive actions.

A Hitler or Stalin would have quietly rounded up in the middle of the night all the pacifists speaking out against them and then killed them.  Sure the pacifists might be patriots to the their country and everything but ultimately it would mean very little.  They’d be very dead patriots who died accomplishing next to nothing.
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#7 Delvo

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 08:19 PM

It depends on the circumstances. When the country is at peace and there is no need to go to war, or when it's in or about to be in a war that the country would be better off not getting involved in, pacifism and patriotism can coexist, because both pacifists and patriots would be calling for the same thing. When the country is at, or about to go to, war to take care of itself, then a patriot calls for war while a pacifist calls for that which will harm the country, and they become mutually exclusive.

#8 Bad Wolf

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 08:22 PM

^

b*llsh*t.   :rolleyes:

The cornerstone of this country is loyal OPPOSITION.  You can oppose a war and still be a patriot and I think that people who go around, for example, accusing people who oppose the war with Iraq of being unAmerican or unpatriotic are themselves the ones who are behaving in an unAmerican fashion.

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#9 G-man

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 08:23 PM

Well, actually ...

Right, my own view is that a pacifist would rather exhaust the non-violent means before turning to violence.  The only problem is, when they do turn to violence the rules of war go out the window, something that no civilized being would desire.  Thus, they can be patriots as well, but before the troops are committed, you have to convince them of the justness of the cause.

The total pacifist ... well, they are relying on their opposition seeing themselves as moral heroes.  As CJAegis remarked, if someone is willing to slaughter people while they sleep and then remark that they never lived here, the pacifist will never prevail.

/s/

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#10 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 08:57 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Aug 25 2003, 01:22 AM, said:

You can oppose a war and still be a patriot
I disagree on using such absolute terms Lil.  There is a fine line here and I think it is crossed once it is clear that not fighting a war will bring about the downfall of a country.  

Can pacifist still be a patriot in such circumstances where the country will cease to exist under an oppressors boot if you fail to fight?  I think in those circumstances you are not a patriot but rather setting your pacifistic beliefs above the welfare of your country.  While we have never quite faced such a situation in recent history in this country I think you wouldn’t be a patriot in that case. How can you consider yourself to be a patriot when your direct actions opposing the war for the survival of the country will lead to the downfall of said country.
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#11 Rov Judicata

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 09:33 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Aug 24 2003, 06:22 PM, said:

The cornerstone of this country is loyal OPPOSITION. 

Lil
The key element of that is, of course, 'loyal'.

Anyway, absolutely you can.

For those saying that you can't be a patriot and oppose a neccasary war: I disagree. Even if the war is, by some objective standard, required then it's possible to merely be wrong.
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#12 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 10:40 PM

Both are dangerous, when taken to extremes. Patriotism, when taken to the extreme, can turn one into the next Hitler, Stalin, Saddam. While, Pacificism, when taken to extreme, will place you about 6 feet under.

IMO, you actually need both, for a Country's survival. Each one balances the other. The Pacificists prevent the country from becoming a tyrant; while the Patriot prevents the country from becoming dinner.
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#13 Laoise

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 10:45 PM

I consider myself to be very patriotic - I love Canada, and I am very devoted to helping my country and the people in it.  There are many things I would do to help my country at a detriment to myself.

However, I draw my line at what I would do to help my country at killing.  That I will not do.

But if you need someone to scrub bedpans and other dirty tasks necessary for the care of people in my country for minimum wage, I'll be right there.  And many patriotic people wouldn't stoop to that!
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#14 Delvo

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 11:16 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Aug 24 2003, 07:22 PM, said:

You can oppose a war and still be a patriot and I think that people who go around, for example, accusing people who oppose the war with Iraq of being unAmerican or unpatriotic are themselves the ones who are behaving in an unAmerican fashion.
But I didn't specify this war. I made a distinctin you're ignoring because you're applying this particular example too much to a question of general principles.

The people who oppose this war but don't hate America have a very simple case: This particular war isn't good for us, or is even bad for us. That falls into the first category I mentioned before. But now picture people opposing a war while acknowledging that some particular war they're opposing is good for the country. Then there's some priority-choosing going on; either the good of the country is paramount over avoiding war, or avoiding war is paramount over the good of the country. In THAT circumstance, each person's decision reveals one of the two possibilities about him/her: (s)he is a patriot, or (s)he is a pacifist.

Pacifism is easy and convenient under the conditions that most Americans have always known. But give us a serious invasion, or the risk of allowing the establishment of another superpower that we know is hostile to us and will invade sooner or later, or our own country with a government organizing genocide and oppression and slavery, and then pacifism will be put to the test. That will expose who's a true pacifist and who's a "fair-weather fan" of pacifism.

#15 Bad Wolf

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 02:04 AM

^

Delvo I didn't ignore the distinction you were drawing I just flat out missed it.   :blush:  But now that you've clarified it, I see what you're saying.

I confess that I've seen so many cases of people (on this board and elsewhere) equating opposition to the war in Iraq with a lack of patriotism that it is a hot button with me.
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#16 HubcapDave

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 05:57 PM

I don't think that the terms are mutually exclusive. However, I do believe there is a point where being one will interfere with the other.

#17 Norville

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 06:47 PM

Well, this is a touchy topic... because there are people who have suggested that I'm disloyal and unpatriotic because I prefer peace. I'm not going to apologize for having a Quaker-influenced stance on peace. However, I'm not a complete peace-at-any-cost pacifist. I believe in "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." I also love what this country was built to be, which is not quite the land of corporate behemoths that it's become (let's lose all individuality; let's have exactly the same stores in every town and let the corporate culture of intimidation take over everything), but that's another subject. So don't tell me I'm unAmerican, because it tempts me to slap someone; so much for peace... ;)

Quote

Can pacifist still be a patriot in such circumstances where the country will cease to exist under an oppressors boot if you fail to fight?

That's where my particular peacefulness ends -- because, if it were necessary to fight to save this country from invasion, I would do it. I stood against the Iraq war because, sorry, no one exactly proved to me that there was an absolutely compelling reason to invade right then. (And I just love what's happening now. I'm sure it's forgotten that fanatics from other countries came to fight along with the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the godless Soviet invaders. Now that we're in Iraq, thinking we've won, foreign fighters are coming in to join those Iraqis who want to destroy the "Great Satan". Yep, knew it...)

Yes, yes, before you attack what I said there, I realize very well that Saddam is/was a beast. I'm also well aware that there are plenty of other evil, tyrannical rulers in the world. I'm also well aware that Saudi Arabia, our alleged friend, let Idi Amin stay in exile there for years. Some freaking friend.

Quote

Pacifism is easy and convenient under the conditions that most Americans have always known.

I agree with Delvo? :blink: Well, I do. We live in a relatively comfortable environment that allows people to be pacifists if they like, and also allows a frightening amount of people to be unthinkingly narcissistic. "Me, me, me."

Quote

I confess that I've seen so many cases of people (on this board and elsewhere) equating opposition to the war in Iraq with a lack of patriotism that it is a hot button with me.

Oh, yes. :barf:
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#18 G-man

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 06:57 PM

I don't know, while the "patriots" are out killing the enemy, the "pacifists" could very well be the medics, the priests, the stretcher-bearers, the ones prepping the supplies and ammo for shipment to the front, or even working on the assembly lines, or the soup kitchens, or the other industries and institutions necessary to keep the nation going while the war is going on.  Just because one is a pacifist doesn't mean they can't contribute to the war effort, they just won't go out intentionally killing anyone.

And if this is the case, then is the pacifist any less a patriot than the soldier?

/s/

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Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
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#19 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 26 August 2003 - 10:58 AM

G-man, on Aug 25 2003, 11:57 PM, said:

contribute to the war effort, they just won't go out intentionally killing anyone.
Of course then you get into absolute pacifism where the person refuses to aid a war effort in any manner.  I believe the line is crossed in those cases where the direct survival of the nation being threatened if the war is not conducted.
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#20 Rhea

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Posted 26 August 2003 - 01:02 PM

Jid, on Aug 24 2003, 04:35 PM, said:

Patriotism mutually exclusive from Pacifism?

Ummmmm.

Exhibit A:  Mahatma Gandhi

'Nuff Said. ;)
Beat me to it, so: what Jid said.

Anyone who thinks that pacifism and patriotism are mutually exclusive is obviously going down a one-track road with blinders on.  :hehe:
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