The question of nonviolence

 From D.J. Mitchell

A friend of mine told me he’s seen a bumper sticker:

Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don’t.


That indeed would seem to be the fallacy in traditional pacifism. It is troubling to me because it is true– and, contrary to the beliefs of some pacifists, there can never be a world without swords because nonviolence is an individual spiritual journey, not a social tranformation. As long as people are being born, there will be violence. Yet on the one hand, nonviolence is still a spiritual path. And on the other, many would say that there are worse careers than farming!

Ah, but farming is better if you are doing it for yourself, and not when you are enslaved to another!

Ghandi is used as the traditional role model for nonviolence, Martin Luther King too. However, as Saul Alinsky pointed out in Rules for Radicals, Ghandi was able to achieve what he did because the Brits in India were looking to leave and didn’t have the stomach to roll in the tanks and open fire on the protestors. Nonviolent tactics would not have worked against the Nazis or Pol Pot. You would  have been a corpse. 

If someone occupies your country, and diplomacy and negotiation prove useless in getting them out, then picking up the gun may be the only way to drive them out. A people should always have the right to decide their own destiny.

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