Pacifism: both wrong and immoral
There are no atheists in foxholes. But, to a point, there are wannabe pacifists in foxholes. That point is reached when you lose a buddy to enemy fire. Then, those warm, fuzzy thoughts of “loving one’s enemy” or “maybe if I don’t fire my weapon they won’t come after me” are set aside. You move the selector switch on your M-16 rifle to full automatic and start looking for the enemy.
The vast majority of Americans have moved their selector switch to full automatic. But, as usual, there is a minority of pacifists who say they will never fight back under any circumstance. We must preserve their right to present their views; however, we also need to understand their moral bankruptcy.
The pacifists claim that they occupy the moral high ground. They claim to be on the side of the angels. But in the struggle against world terrorism, they are not. In fact, those who will not take up arms against the kind of evil represented by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida are not only wrong, they are immoral.
The pacifist notion that war and state-sponsored violence must be avoided at all cost was at its peak in the period between World War I and World War II. Given the horrors of World War I, during which Great Britain lost an entire generation of its best and brightest young men, pacifism had a great, and understandable, appeal.
But pacifism did not reckon on the advent of a psychopath such as Adolph Hitler and his monstrous Nazi regime. One of Hitler’s military and economic objectives was to invade and conquer the British Isles and, thereby, gain control of the riches of the British Empire. Hitler saw the pacifist movement in Great Britain as his ally and it was.
Some wealthy, prominent and even titled Britons founded what was called: the Cliveden Set. In fact, Joseph P. Kennedy, our ambassador to Great Britain on the eve of World War II, was a frequent and sympathetic weekend guest at Cliveden Manor. In disgust, President Franklin D. Roosevelt relieved Kennedy of his post and ordered him home.
The British pacifists took the position that it was better to let Hitler have his way with Great Britain than to take up arms and oppose him. But, in 1942, George Orwell drove a stake through the heart of Britain’s pacifist movement when he wrote: “Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘He that is not with me is against me.’”
Today, it can be said that pacifism is objectively pro-terrorist. Americans need to understand the truth behind that statement. Otherwise, as the memories of September 11th begin to fade, some Americans will fall prey to the almost constant pro-pacifist chorus that arises from our colleges and universities and other so-called intellectual centers.
From every left-leaning talk show and from every publication that will give them space, they will proclaim that pacifism holds the moral high ground. They will say the United States is evil to pursue the killers by military means and that the matter should be turned over to the United Nations for in-depth studies as to why the terrorists behave as they do. Citing examples such as the TV program “Baywatch” and others, the pacifists will argue that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida were merely reacting to the corruption and excesses of western civilization and were merely acting as men of conscience.
If we do nothing to seek out and punish the terrorists, they will strike again and again. They will murder additional thousands, perhaps millions, of innocent people. So, which is the greater evil? Allowing these murders to continue or taking up arms and stopping them?
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is a retired infantry officer and the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy by William Penn – a novel about terrorism directed against America.
©2001. William Hamilton.