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Patriotism Vs. Pacificism

Politics Patriotism Pacificism

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#41 Zwolf

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 08:12 AM

Patriotism is a desire to do what's best for your country.  Everybody, naturally, has different ideas about what that would be.   I absolutely think that pacifists can be patriots... even though I think that pacifists can sometimes be misguided, as well.  There are situations where you do have to stand and fight, and to not do so would imperil your country.  In that case, pacifism could be detrimental... although, I'd hesitate to call it "unpatriotic," because the person holding the pacifistic belief still may sincerely believe he's acting in the best interest of his country.   There are other times when taking military action can be detrimental to one's country, in that it damages the country's world-standing.  In that case, the military action would be detrimental... but, again, not necessarily unpatriotic, since the people taking that action may also sincerely believe they're acting in the country's best interest.

So, it's all pretty subjective, and it's hard to say exactly where the line should be drawn, because people can be wrong, but still be patriotic.

Cheers,

Zwolf
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#42 Godeskian

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 08:20 AM

Zwolf666, on Jun 3 2005, 02:12 PM, said:

Patriotism is a desire to do what's best for your country.  Everybody, naturally, has different ideas about what that would be. 

Patriotism by choice is one thing. Patriotism by the random chance of where you were born is dangerous because it atrophies your critical thinking skills because of your predisposition to think well of 'your nation'

I am loyal to people, to those who make harder choices than I ever have, to fight in defense of honor and morality and dignity, and those who cannot and wil not defend themselves for whatever reason.

I am not a patriot, for I have found no country on this planet worthy of my loyalty.

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#43 QueenTiye

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 09:08 AM

Well, let's do a thought experiment.

The patriot says that there has to be something one is willing to fight for. When the patriot says this, s/he has to be assuming that there is something willing to die for, since in a fight, one's own life is not guaranteed.  Patriots therefore, are people who are willing to die for their country.  So, we then have to define what "country" means in this context.  If "country" means the land, there is no need to fight.  Let the other people in, and move on.  You still live on the land, now with more people. If country means "only these people," I question its validity as something to die for - it seems inherently prejudiced and wrong.  But if "country" means our collective values that we share in this land, then indeed, one who is willing to die for one's country is a praiseworthy person.

Now take the pacifist.  The pacifist says that there is nothing one should ever be willing to fight for. Inherently, this means that pacifism is its own principle, and when put to the sword, the pacifist is willing to die, rather than give up their principle.

Now for the experiment:

Consider a totally pacifist nation confronted by a belligerent one.  The belligerent nation comes and says - "We are coming to take over your land, and enslave you to force you to turn the fruits of your labor to us."  The pacifist nation says - "we will not fight you, nor will we work for you." the Belligerent nation says "If you will not work, we will kill you."  The pacifist nation holds their ground.  SO, the belligerant nation begins slaughtering the pacifist nation, until they have entirely wiped them out, while the pacifists never lifted a finger to fight but went like sheep to the slaughter.

Who won this conflict?  Most people looking at this would say the belligerent ones won.  However, looking back at our definitions - I would have to disagree.  The pacifists, standing together as a people, defining themselves as pacifists, and refusing to become slaves to anyone, died, en masse, for their country.  At no point, did they yield their "country" to anyone.  They lived and died for their country.  The belligerents, with a stated objective of enslaving others, slaughtered all their potential slaves, now occupying a land in which they, after all, will have to work themselves.  

In real life, we don't have these two extremes, and belligerent types come to the aid of pacifist types all the time.  But I offer this example to state that I do not agree that patriotism and pacifism are mutually exclusive, unless a defining characteristic of the country in question is belligerence.

QT

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#44 Zwolf

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 09:23 AM

Quote

Who won this conflict? Most people looking at this would say the belligerent ones won.

***** Good post.  You've definitely made me think.  And I hate that - it's painful! ;)  (ees joke, I like thinkin'!)  I'm not sure the pacifists would really have won that, since their ideals would have died with them, and would no longer be doing them any good... but, it's definitely a thought-provoking situation you've set up.

I think the key is to shoot for some grey area between pacifism and belligerance... which is what most places do, some leaning more one way or the other.

The ideal would be Kwai Chang Caine from the old Kung Fu TV series.   He was a pacifist... but, if pushed to protect himself or someone else, he'd open a can of whoop-ass, however reluctantly.   Once you operate from a position of sufficent strength to be confident in defending yourself, you seldom feel a need to...

Cheers,

Zwolf
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Trying to talk to you

I'd put you down where you belong
But I'm never talking to you again
I'd show you everywhere you're wrong
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you."
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#45 Nonny

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 11:06 AM

Zwolf666, on Jun 3 2005, 06:23 AM, said:

The ideal would be Kwai Chang Caine from the old Kung Fu TV series.   He was a pacifist... but, if pushed to protect himself or someone else, he'd open a can of whoop-ass, however reluctantly.   Once you operate from a position of sufficent strength to be confident in defending yourself, you seldom feel a need to...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Operating from a position of sufficient bluff works for me these days.  In the last few years, I've defended myself from assault a couple times by standing up to my attackers and yelling, "I'm a cripple, but I can kick your @$$."  Two things to say about that: probably they thought twice about the glory involved in hassling a little old lady, and so far, so good.  :p

Though my leanings are pacifistic, my experience has led me to place a high value on defense, and I extend the personal to the national.  

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#46 Julianus

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 11:07 AM

QueenTiye, on Jun 3 2005, 02:08 PM, said:

Well, let's do a thought experiment.

The patriot says that there has to be something one is willing to fight for. When the patriot says this, s/he has to be assuming that there is something willing to die for, since in a fight, one's own life is not guaranteed.  Patriots therefore, are people who are willing to die for their country.  So, we then have to define what "country" means in this context.  If "country" means the land, there is no need to fight.  Let the other people in, and move on.  You still live on the land, now with more people. If country means "only these people," I question its validity as something to die for - it seems inherently prejudiced and wrong.  But if "country" means our collective values that we share in this land, then indeed, one who is willing to die for one's country is a praiseworthy person.

Now take the pacifist.  The pacifist says that there is nothing one should ever be willing to fight for. Inherently, this means that pacifism is its own principle, and when put to the sword, the pacifist is willing to die, rather than give up their principle.

Now for the experiment:

Consider a totally pacifist nation confronted by a belligerent one.  The belligerent nation comes and says - "We are coming to take over your land, and enslave you to force you to turn the fruits of your labor to us."  The pacifist nation says - "we will not fight you, nor will we work for you." the Belligerent nation says "If you will not work, we will kill you."  The pacifist nation holds their ground.  SO, the belligerant nation begins slaughtering the pacifist nation, until they have entirely wiped them out, while the pacifists never lifted a finger to fight but went like sheep to the slaughter.

Who won this conflict?  Most people looking at this would say the belligerent ones won.  However, looking back at our definitions - I would have to disagree.  The pacifists, standing together as a people, defining themselves as pacifists, and refusing to become slaves to anyone, died, en masse, for their country.  At no point, did they yield their "country" to anyone.  They lived and died for their country.  The belligerents, with a stated objective of enslaving others, slaughtered all their potential slaves, now occupying a land in which they, after all, will have to work themselves. 

In real life, we don't have these two extremes, and belligerent types come to the aid of pacifist types all the time.  But I offer this example to state that I do not agree that patriotism and pacifism are mutually exclusive, unless a defining characteristic of the country in question is belligerence.

QT

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Making an assumption, I would say that "country" is shorthand for culture and family as well as land. In taking a position of pacifism, might not one view the parents as at least guilty of manslaughter if the invaders kill the children?

#47 sierraleone

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 11:12 AM

^ Maybe accessory, I don't know. One might view the parents as such, but not likely the other people of such a nation, and since they do their own laws, they probably wouldn't be taking them to court.

And thats only if the Invaders kill the children first... which isn't likely. They are going to go towards the largest threats, and might want to use the children after the parents are dead. Can't accuse them of accessory posthumously, can you? ;)
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#48 Ogami

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 11:17 AM

TrancesHuggyPillow quoted:

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."

Should I agree with the above Letter to the Editor, I will be told by a number of posters here that I should not be permitted to have such a view unless I am dodging IEDs on the streets of Baghdad.

That's the state of the "patriotism vs. pacifism" debate.

Edited by Ogami, 03 June 2005 - 11:17 AM.


#49 QueenTiye

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 11:17 AM

Julianus, on Jun 3 2005, 12:07 PM, said:

Making an assumption, I would say that "country" is shorthand for culture and family as well as land. In taking a position of pacifism, might not one view the parents as at least guilty of manslaughter if the invaders kill the children?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Only if they aren't going to die themselves as well. Otherwise, children dieing in wars make patriots accessories too, because they could have simply made peace instead of continuing belligerence.

QT

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#50 Chakotay

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 11:18 AM

^^ That would be an unfair supposition, as the aggressors would have to go through the parents to get the children, or put them into such a position that they were unable to protect them physically, even if they were morally unwilling to take another life even to defend themselves.

Manslaughter is killing a person without actually intending to. Only the person actually doing the deed can be convicted of manslaughter.
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#51 Julianus

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 11:39 AM

Just trying to look at the idea of unintended consequences. The driver of an automobile may not intend to kill someone, but a moments inattention could bring about fatal results and a charge of motor vehicular homicide.
Going a bit outside the model proposed by QT suppose the invaders only kill the children? The human mind is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it's not.

#52 QueenTiye

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 11:43 AM

^^ In fact, the killing of children first is what I'd expect from a bellicose nation.  The point is to define this in absolutes.  The children are dead, the adults are STILL refusing to fight, and refusing to work.  Now what?

QT

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#53 sierraleone

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 11:47 AM

^ they get killed off next I surmise... Though I'm not sure as them I'd feel I have anything left to live for, after the death of all the children...
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#54 Julianus

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 11:52 AM

QueenTiye, on Jun 3 2005, 04:43 PM, said:

^^ In fact, the killing of children first is what I'd expect from a bellicose nation.  The point is to define this in absolutes.  The children are dead, the adults are STILL refusing to fight, and refusing to work.  Now what?

QT

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm not sure how this can be viewed in absolutes, but if the adults are in the way they'd be killed and used as fertilizer, I guess. If the bellicose group had no tendency to farming I suppose they would then hunt and gather.

This reminded me of the situation in Argentina back in the 70's(?) when at least some of the children of the "disappeared" were adopted by members of the military who had been responsible for the deaths of the parents.

Edited by Julianus, 03 June 2005 - 11:59 AM.


#55 QueenTiye

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 11:55 AM

Well, it has to be viewed in absolutes to get to the absolute principle of the matter.  So, you agree that after all, the bellicose group would be forced into 100% slaughter.  You just added an element of victory to the pacifists though... I never thought about them being used as fertilizer! ;)

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#56 Julianus

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 12:10 PM

As I tend to use my version of a yin yang Weltanschauung (flashing waaaay back to Cultural Heritage class*G*) I'm not sure there are such things as absolute principles.

#57 Rhea

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 01:01 PM

LORD of the SWORD, on Aug 24 2003, 07:40 PM, said:

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.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I agree with LotS. Stephen K. Donaldson, for instance, was a conscientious objector (and he's a Quaker). He spent the Viet Nam war serving, in his own way, in a hospital. I see no problem with that, as long as the rest of us are allowed our beliefs. Like Lil, I believe that loyal opposition is the cornerstone of this country.

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#58 Norville

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 10:11 PM

Elara said:

I am by nature, a pacifist, but don't let that fool you into thinking I would not fight to protect. I don't think you would find many pacifists who would not fight for a just cause, we would just prefer to find a way to settle things without loss of life.

If that makes me un-patriotic, sobeit.

Agreed, Elara. I still stand by my 2003 post.

Chakotay said:

A pacifist patriot in the armed forces could be serving behind the lines, backing up those willing to kill and be killed.

I have an uncle who, along with my father, was raised Quaker, but went into the Navy during WWII and ended up on transport ships, taking Marines in to storm beaches and the like. Even doing that, he apparently saw so much carnage, he refused to speak about the things he saw. (I wanted to ask him a few years ago, and still wish I could before it's too late, just in case he might have decided he needed to talk about it someday, but am respecting his past refusal. My father doubts he'd ever speak of it, and if he's as silent as Dad can be, then that's very likely.)

And then there was the pacifist ambulance driver in my family in... WWI, was that? I've lost track, but yes, there he was.

Chakotay said:

Violence almost invariably begets violence. Trying to stop the cycle of aggression is a noble cause.

Yes. There's something I keep wanting to say, but keep avoiding because it's way too overtly religious for my usual style -- but maybe I should say it. People are so thrilled with "an eye for an eye," but I almost never hear these people acknowledge things Jesus said in contradiction. Little things like "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9) "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:43-44)

:eek: , I went all Bible-quoting. :blush: Yes, what I quoted is a very difficult way to live, and perhaps not practical, but if no one tries, then where are we? Violence begets violence (or "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"), but if that's the way you want to live...

QT said:

Now take the pacifist. The pacifist says that there is nothing one should ever be willing to fight for.

That's one way of being pacifist. There's also the somewhat more-practical one of fighting if absolutely necessary (ending a fight, but refusing to start one).

Zwolf666 said:

The ideal would be Kwai Chang Caine from the old Kung Fu TV series. He was a pacifist... but, if pushed to protect himself or someone else, he'd open a can of whoop-ass, however reluctantly.

That would also apply to Yoda. :hehe:

Nonny said:

I've defended myself from assault a couple times by standing up to my attackers and yelling, "I'm a cripple, but I can kick your @$$." Two things to say about that: probably they thought twice about the glory involved in hassling a little old lady, and so far, so good.

My mom has great trouble walking, and needs a cane, but she's such a fierce person, I have no doubt that she'd be able to do someone some damage with that cane. *whack, whack, whack, THUD* :insanosmile:

Rhea said:

Stephen K. Donaldson, for instance, was a conscientious objector (and he's a Quaker).

Is he the science fiction writer? I knew he came from a missionary family, but not which sect. Oh, what a shame that I really can't stand his writing...! :eek:
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Rules for Surviving an Autocracy
Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
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#59 Zwolf

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 10:32 PM

Let's also not forget that Sgt. York was a pacifist, and I don't think many people would question that man's patriotism or bravery. :)

Cheers,

Zwolf

*edited to change my link - I noticed the first one was from the John Birch Society, and I'm nto a fan of theirs...

Edited by Zwolf666, 03 June 2005 - 10:38 PM.

"I've moved on and I'm feeling fine
And I'll feel even better
When your life has nothing to do with mine."
-Pittbull, "No Love Lost"

"There are things that I'd like to say
But I'm never talking to you again
There's things I'd like to phrase some way
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'd put you down where you belong
But I'm never talking to you again
I'd show you everywhere you're wrong
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you."
- Husker Du, "Never Talking To You Again"

#60 Nonny

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 12:04 PM

Norville, on Jun 3 2005, 07:11 PM, said:

Nonny said:

I've defended myself from assault a couple times by standing up to my attackers and yelling, "I'm a cripple, but I can kick your @$$." Two things to say about that: probably they thought twice about the glory involved in hassling a little old lady, and so far, so good.
My mom has great trouble walking, and needs a cane, but she's such a fierce person, I have no doubt that she'd be able to do someone some damage with that cane. *whack, whack, whack, THUD* :insanosmile:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

{{{{{{{{{{{Norville and Mom}}}}}}}}}}}

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