Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: ‘The Pacifist Does Nothing to Decrease War…’


“The pacifist does nothing to decrease war. On the contrary, he promotes it to the utmost of his power by ensuring, insofar as in him lies, that the war-makers shall have their reward. Pacifism is thus warmongery complicated by defeatism. The pacifist is not interested in political realities. He is interested only in his own clear conscience. Let the world be given over to the sword, his conscience is clear so long as he did not himself draw a sword. That he forced others to draw it is nothing to him.” — R.G. Collingwood

This reminded me of a ‘discussion’ I had with an acknowledged libertarian. Perhaps I should say we ‘discussed’ past each other, a not uncommon characteristic of my ‘discussions.’ I see a resemblance to some of the Trump vs. NeverTrump ‘discussions’ that have happened on Ricochet and elsewhere.

I think the similarity comes from what I see as an unwillingness to acknowledge the foreseeable consequences of an action when judging the propriety (I almost typed ‘morality’, but that would have been too judgemental… Not that there is anything wrong with @judgemental) of an action.

My ancient argument involved voting for or against Trump in either the Primary or the General Election. The libertarian (rather self-righteously, I thought) avowed that he would only vote for the candidate that most nearly matched his principles; it would be wrong to do otherwise, even if it meant the worst candidate in the field should prevail. It was important, in his eyes, to most accurately convey to The Powers That Be the true temper of the electorate. I argued (oops, I mean ‘discussed’) that it was not a neutral environment and his attitude was rather like a pacifist, free-riding on the existence of those non-pacifists who created the pacific milieu that allows for pacifism. I see the true libertarian as free-riding on the existing political system, which creates a bubble within which he can loftily proclaim dedication to principles because there are no personal consequences for doing so. (He then proclaimed that he had never said he was a pacifist, which effectively put the exchange beyond any hope of reconnecting.)

Similarly, the ongoing TvNT exchanges seem (to me) to ignore the political environment and the likely consequences of alternatives. I had only one reason to vote for Trump in 2016; he was not Hillary. I will admit to being averse to Trump’s public persona (I even held my nose and voted for Kasich in the Ohio primary for the single reason to try to stop Trump.) I will concede the risk that the Republican party may never return to those fondly-remembered glorious days of Goldwater/Reagan (when, of course, it was a highly-principled, small-government, high-moral-standards organization, notwithstanding individual members who appeared to the jaundiced eye to be conniving politicians.) I calculated (to 13 decimal places) that there was no way that Trump could do as much damage to the country as Hillary, simply because he did not have a political gang to implement stuff. Hillary did (does?).

Would you be willing to sacrifice the country to preserve the purity of the Republican Party? If not, and yet you are comfortable with the election of a Hillary or a Sanders (or, or …), then you must believe that the current Democratic Party is just another, normal political party that plays by the rules. I don’t think that describes the Ds anymore, so I would be willing to sacrifice the GOP if that is what it would take. (I maintain that I am the only true admitted RINO, as the squishes actually resemble the GOP rather closely, whereas I only associate with the name for tactical reasons.) I would rather try to reconstitute a ‘republican’ party with the ‘degenerate’ Republican Party in power than let the Dems restructure the nation.
And yet ….

Principles are not unimportant. Without a moderating structure to guide one, the natural competitive drive toward short-term gain devolves to organizational collapse. We could go there if it is no longer possible to meaningfully restrain regulations and spending, for example. I agree that an end does not justify any means, but how can you evaluate ‘means’ without considering the consequent ends? All ends, not just the one(s) admitted to in public. I can understand the opposition of those who fear that Trump will outbid his opposition if that is what is needed to further his (often laudable) goals. I can understand the desire to prevent this.

My question, though, is: “What is the alternative?”

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There are 7 comments.

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  1. Columbo Member

    This very apt description applies exactly to the Bul*****ers. They didn’t want “war” (a binary outcome – either Hillay Clinton or the winner of the GOP primary, whom they pledged to support), but did everything possible for the war to occur and end badly. Just so they could feel that they were somehow clear of consious and morallly superior to the winners of the war. Smug, self-righteous and utterly wrong and responsible for the war.

    • #1
    • February 21, 2020, at 3:26 PM PST
  2. Mark Camp Member

    Sometimes an immoral person kidnaps a man and his wife and children, and for his own pleasure presents the man with a moral dilemma: choose which of your family I shall kill in from of your eyes.

    Those who, through the illicit power they’ve have gained by robbing us of our Constitutional American government, our birthright, and replacing it with their immoral grasping State, present us with a choice between the Democrat candidates and Trump and dare us to choose their own primping, blathering, venal scoundrel or the other one, are like those smirking devils.

    God will judge them.



    • #2
    • February 21, 2020, at 4:02 PM PST
  3. Boss Mongo Member

    Yes, and

    If you extol the virtue of your pacifism, but had no other choice but to submit and endure (and hopefully live thru) the beating, then it’s not really pacifism, is it?

    If you take a beating because you have no choice but to take the beating, don’t talk to me about what a great pacifist you are. Instead, talk to me about what a weakling you are because you chose, in desperation, to seek absolution in wrapping yourself in the virtuous cloak of pacifism.

    Now, if you ever took a beating instead of conducting a neck-snapping seminar(for political, messaging, OPSEC reasons), and thus opted to take the abuse “for a higher cause,” you might have some small claim to true pacifism

    • #3
    • February 21, 2020, at 6:05 PM PST
  4. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    Funny, when I read the quote before I read your commentary, I immediately drew a parallel to voting for Trump in 2016. I didn’t want to do it, but in the end I decided to because I didn’t want Hillary to win and I thought it would be cowardly for me to wish fervently for Hillary to lose but not vote for the only viable candidate who could beat her. I also wasn’t sure that Trump wasn’t going to be a disaster. But I decided that again I didn’t want to hold myself above the fray so that if he turned out to be a disaster, I could stand back and say “well I didn’t vote for him.” No, I felt that I had to join with others and vote for Trump and take the consequences for my decision.

    • #4
    • February 21, 2020, at 6:15 PM PST
  5. Vectorman Thatcher

    Join other Ricochet members by submitting a Quote of the Day post, the easiest way to start a fun conversation. There are many open days on the March Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #5
    • February 21, 2020, at 6:51 PM PST
    • 1 like
  6. RightAngles Member

    Would you be willing to sacrifice the country to preserve the purity of the Republican Party

    Apparently, some are. They’re so sanctimonious and self-involved that they’d vote for Pol Pot or Ivan the Terrible rather than Trump, with zero thought for the consequences for the republic.

    • #6
    • February 22, 2020, at 3:50 PM PST
  7. Quietpi Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Apparently, some are. They’re so sanctimonious and self-involved that they’d vote for Pol Pot or Ivan the Terrible rather than Trump, with zero thought for the consequences for the republic.

    This is what concerns me so much. There are many who are going to do just that.

    • #7
    • February 22, 2020, at 6:39 PM PST