Monday, August 16, 2010

On Proper and Cowardly Pacifism (as explained by an orthodox rebel)

"Ye that love the Lord, hate evil..." Ps. 97:10a

Pacifism, though still purported as something unquestionably good, can turn into a very serious kind of evil. Proper pacifism believes in fighting. It believes in fighting because it believes in good and evil. It has a moral vision, and as such believes that the good should be fought for and the evil fought against. As a result, it never believes in fighting for its own sake or for crooked or vain causes. It stays out of and condemns any fighting that was irresponsible and unjust; not because of the fighting, but because of the irresponsibility and injustice. Many famous thinkers of the early 20th century (like G.K. Chesterton) where such pacifists. For them, there was good in the world, and it was worth fighting for against evil. They were warriors who knew when to war as well as how.

Today, however, the case is reversed. Most pacifists stay out of and condemn all fighting because it is fighting. They don't believe in fighting anymore, for anything or any reason. This wimpy and cowardly pacifism (which is rampant today in most antiwar protests) is a direct result of losing a moral vision. An insidious relativism has eroded away any vestige of a moral center. Right and wrong become an issue of individual subjectivism, and now we dare not "impose" "our" morality on another (even while they terrorize and kill others). Ps. 97:10 contains a rebuttal to this mentality: a love of God necessarily entails a hated of evil, because you keep the vision of the good before your eyes. Consequently, everything that is evil, everything in deviation of the vision, becomes more clear and glaring in the light of that vision. A hatred of evil is the only healthy hatred there is, and it is only possible when we walk in the light of the holiness and righteousness of God. Once lose that and you will grow blind to evil and lose all incentive to fight against it for the sake of the good.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2010


  1. Do you have some sources for your information?

  2. I'm pretty sure the author doesn't have any sources for his claims. Instead, it appears to be the result of his own musings on the subject of pacifism (and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.) However, I could be wrong…

  3. D:

    My "sources" are not exactly specific books. They are more like a smattering of random historical facts mixed with common knowledge and common sense.

    Then again, why do I need "sources" for this? Even if I had none at all, my argument still stands on its own two feet, because it makes sense: a proper pacifism is one that retains a moral vision that informs it on when fighting is and is not necessary; losing the moral vision will create a cowardly pacifism that refuses to fight at all. You don't need a "source" to prove that or back it up; it's just common sense.

  4. I should perhaps add that there is an irony inherent in the wimpy pacifism of today: they don't believe in fighting, yet they will fight with you over it.