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[Pacifism]

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Posts

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Pacifism to me has always seemed like a bankrupt ideology in every form that one would reasonably consider "pacifism".

    When the right to self-determination is essentially enforced by a race to the bottom of arms, any position of absolute non-violence is close to worthless. There's a line of thinking these days that the modern protest has become largely ineffective because governments understand them now - if a demonstration is peaceful, then the people who show up to it are going to stand around and then go home and continue not threatening their position at the top in any serious manner.

    This seems like an interesting idea. Non-violent protests only really work if the other side over-reacts and you get some good media coverage out of it. If you just ignore the protesters, they turn out to be largely ineffective. Which leads back to having to do something violent to get media attention.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Pacifism to me has always seemed like a bankrupt ideology in every form that one would reasonably consider "pacifism".

    When the right to self-determination is essentially enforced by a race to the bottom of arms, any position of absolute non-violence is close to worthless. There's a line of thinking these days that the modern protest has become largely ineffective because governments understand them now - if a demonstration is peaceful, then the people who show up to it are going to stand around and then go home and continue not threatening their position at the top in any serious manner.

    This seems like an interesting idea. Non-violent protests only really work if the other side over-reacts and you get some good media coverage out of it. If you just ignore the protesters, they turn out to be largely ineffective. Which leads back to having to do something violent to get media attention.

    I read an article which suggested that the essential problem is, during the 60's and such, no one had ever really seen protests on that scale or counter-cultural changes surrounding them. No one in government knew that the protesters would just go home after they were done - 60,000 people showed up somewhere and they looked at those numbers and wondered what would happen if they didn't appease them somehow.

    It's not so much that violence is a necessity, as it is that you need to be able to threaten to do something if the protest is not heeded. For western democracies this usually isn't violence - civil disobedience and the like would probably be more effective, more sustainable and far more damaging to the right people.

    The problem today is that you can rightly assume that the protesters will just go home and feel happy they did something after.

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    usually protests and marches are used to gain visibility and that's about it, these days. for example, there was a march involving the Tamil Tigers here in Ottawa, or something, and they blocked off large portions of downtown with their hundreds of marching people, crippling both public and private transportation and forcing people to at least look at them. there was of course news coverage, but there was also my irritation fueling my curiosity and google searches about the issue etc.

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    "Lethal" vs "nonlethal" isn't a clear binary distinction - it's really "lethal" vs. "less lethal" with an eye to a particular situation. On an older target, a taser is going to be more dangerous than trying to wrestle them to the ground. On a younger target, it's going to be less dangerous.

    Anyway, pacificism is silly. It's morally acceptable to use violence when there is strong evidence that doing so would prevent worse violence. It's a very simple utilitarian calculus.

    It's only complicated because there are a lot of situations in which the risk and benefits of using violence have to be assessed rapidly with very limited information. But that doesn't mean the basic moral principle is complicated - it only means that the risk is difficult to assess. With that in mind, it's typically better to err on the side of less violence, but that's not the same as a total adherence to pacifism.

    There's more than one flavour of pacifism.

    I've called myself a pacifist for a long time. I do accept that violence is sometimes necessary to survive. But I'm deeply skeptical of its effectiveness and utility, and think that short-term thinking, nationalism and ethnocentrism obscure many of the damaging effects of supposedly effective violence in history.

    So, I'm performing the same 'utilitarian calculus' you are, but with different enough conclusions that I end up with 'There're really really hardly any situations where using violence is preferable to a non-violent solution.'

    Hey, me too.

    steam_sig.png
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    usually protests and marches are used to gain visibility and that's about it, these days. for example, there was a march involving the Tamil Tigers here in Ottawa, or something, and they blocked off large portions of downtown with their hundreds of marching people, crippling both public and private transportation and forcing people to at least look at them. there was of course news coverage, but there was also my irritation fueling my curiosity and google searches about the issue etc.

    That was in Toronto and it just pissed everyone off. They shut down the major highway to downtown.

    Let me tell you, they gained no sympathy.

  • programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Yeah, but without control or skill, I would be better off retreating than fighting; otherwise, I would wind up in jail for manslaughter.

    I meant in a more general sense, but that's a decent enough example. If you weren't able to retreat from someone trying to kill you, violence would be the better option.

    Looking toward the goal of survival with me being as maimed or injured as little as possible,

    I don't know how solid my opponent is, she could be pure muscle or have bear armor layers of fat as it was called in an Oblivion thread. I also don't know how tired she is, what other weapons or accomplices there are. In terms of a break in or mugging, I have to strike fast, trip the tiger chasing me, and get secure. Nothing else matters but me and the people close to me. Going for a killing shot takes time away from my survival.

    Again, pragmatism.

    After all is said and done, I might help the poor SOB or DOB out on their parole hearing and maybe help them find work, but in the heat of the moment, its get out and get secure.

    You've never seen horror movies? People get axe murdered because they never finish the job after throwing the bad guy down the stairs. Though more seriously, it can get you killed. Of course the opposite can too, so you have to make a judgment based on the specifics on the situation.

    There's definitely situations where it is safer to finish them off. If you have them in a rear naked choke, for instance, if you can KO them, there's no reason to let go before they are dead short of legal ones.
    Qingu wrote: »
    I meant in a more general sense, but that's a decent enough example. If you weren't able to retreat from someone trying to kill you, violence would be the better option.
    What about violence against someone who can easily kill you (holding you at gunpoint), but just wants to rob you?

    Is it better to almost certainly end up dead in order to go out fighting, or should you just give him what he wants and hope he won't kill you?

    I would say the latter.

    My policy on being mugged is to cooperate to the full extent while preparing to attack if necessary. There are plenty of situations where cooperation or at least delaying an attack can significantly improve your chances of survival. It depends.

    Now, in situations where you believe you are more likely than not to die either way, you might as well try to take them with you.

  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    From this blog post at the Seton Hill University site.
    edit again: Adding some context for those who don't wanna read a big ol thing without knowing what it is. It's an excerpt from an essay about pacifist resistance in the Holocaust, focusing largely on the resistance in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a French village which saved around 5000 Jews, peacefully. There's a book, that I can't remember the title of, about that town which is quite fascinating.
    ...
    Spoiler:
    ...
    edit: spoilered for bigness.

    You know who saved more Jews than all the pacifists in Europe?
    these guys
    Spoiler:
    plus theses guys
    Spoiler:

    fun fact: in order to end WWII we(aka everyone who isn't a Nazi, but mostly the Soviets) had to kill 5,533,000 German soldiers.

  • RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    From this blog post at the Seton Hill University site.
    edit again: Adding some context for those who don't wanna read a big ol thing without knowing what it is. It's an excerpt from an essay about pacifist resistance in the Holocaust, focusing largely on the resistance in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a French village which saved around 5000 Jews, peacefully. There's a book, that I can't remember the title of, about that town which is quite fascinating.
    ...
    Spoiler:
    ...
    edit: spoilered for bigness.

    You know who saved more Jews than all the pacifists in Europe?
    these guys
    Spoiler:
    plus theses guys
    Spoiler:

    fun fact: in order to end WWII we(aka everyone who isn't a Nazi, but mostly the Soviets) had to kill 5,533,000 German soldiers.

    You know who saved a lot of jews, without killing anyone
    edit: and the 5,533,000 was only to end the fighting in Europe. japan required at least another 2,000,000 deaths to end the fighting in the pacific so your final number is over 7.5 or 8 million.

  • programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    fun fact: in order to end WWII we(aka everyone who isn't a Nazi, but mostly the Soviets) had to kill 5,533,000 German soldiers.

    You know who saved a lot of jews, without killing anyone
    (pics snipped)
    edit: and the 5,533,000 was only to end the fighting in Europe. japan required at least another 2,000,000 deaths to end the fighting in the pacific so your final number is over 7.5 or 8 million.

    Their pacifism only succeeded because of the violence of others. There's no indication the plague that was Nazism and Imperial Japan wouldn't have continued to spread, in fact the opposite is the only reasonable conclusion.

    WW2 is the poster child for the morally justified and necessary use of violence. The Axis was so vilely evil that if you ever design a fictional villain as evil as they were, said villain will come off as one dimensional and unrealistic.

    To give an example, in the Dexter book series, one main villain chopped the arms and legs of a person while keeping them alive, and people said that was more silly than evil. Except the Japanese actually did that, and then used the limbless victim to test weapons. They did vivisection without anesthesia on children as well, and the worst part of all is this wasn't for some ultimately misguided purpose, but simply to advance a genocidal WMD program.

    I'd argue that once a person or organization gets to that level of evil, a peaceful resolution is actually morally wrong, even if it could work. Someone who does something like that is anathema, and every breath they draw is an affront to everything that was, is, or will ever be good or decent.

  • RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    World War 2 can't really be used as a discussion on pacifism because it was forced on people and the choice was fight or die. Additionally, the onset of World War 1 due to the violence of one individual who chose violent means to make his point heard created the conditions for the National Socialist German Workers party to rise to power.

  • IsidoreIsidore Registered User
    edited June 2010
    Pacifism would surely be defined by it's response to a "fight or die" choice?

    If one were to choose to fight, one wouldn't be a pacifist.

    To imply that those currently at the top - the Warren Buffets and Roman Abramoviches of this world - are the very best, the ne plus ultra of humanity, is a kind of hate speech toward the species. Dignity demands that we refute it.
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Isidore wrote: »
    Pacifism would surely be defined by it's response to a "fight or die" choice?

    If one were to choose to fight, one wouldn't be a pacifist.

    And for the majority of people, the choice wasn't "fight or die". Its not like the Nazi's went around killing every Frenchmen they saw, or would have killed every Briton. For most participants the choice was "fight or allow the Nazi's to run your country".

  • programjunkieprogramjunkie Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    World War 2 can't really be used as a discussion on pacifism because it was forced on people and the choice was fight or die.

    Proving pacifism is ineffective when it really matters.
    Additionally, the onset of World War 1 due to the violence of one individual who chose violent means to make his point heard created the conditions for the National Socialist German Workers party to rise to power.

    This does make the point that we'd be better off if everyone acted ethically all the time, which seems self-evident, but regardless of if a problem was caused by violence in the first place, some of the time the best way to solve it is further violence.

    Us killing millions of Axis turned out amazingly well for the world in the long term, including for the nations who were the principal recipients of said violence.

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