Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Other Oldest Profession

There's no concrete evidence that the world's oldest profession really is the oldest. There are ancient examples of it, or course, but the assumption it's the oldest is simply because it's human nature.

So here's another profession that has been around forever: dictators. Or anyway, men who use force and brutality to dominate their fellow men. This is also human nature, and has also been around forever. Both professions will also always be here, never to disappear. Human nature ensures that.

As the international community talks its way out of assisting the brave Libyans fighting for freedom from a brutal dictator and his cruel henchmen, it's worth keeping in mind that even if they did want to do anything, the only people who can are the armed and the trained. Over the past few weeks I have repeatedly noted how the international ineptitude must remind us the importance of never being weak. The flip side is that the price of pacifism and disarmament means accepting brutal dictators.

Something to keep in mind next time someone claims the moral high ground for their pacifism.


Y. Ben-David said...

George Orwell on "pacifism":

This is where he makes his famous statement that "pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist".

Alex Bensky said...

There is another remark of Orwell's, and I paraphrase, that pacifism is possible only in a country with a strong navy.

I don't even think pacifism is morally laudable. Given the world as it is and is likely to be, pacifism stands for the proposition that evil should not be resisted, or at least not be resisted effectively.

In any case, I have come across few genuine, honest to goodness pacifists. I think of the American Friends Service Committee, for example, which says it's against violence but seems to be able to understand, if not quite condone, certain forms of violence.

Curiously, those forms of violence that the AFSC can understand usually involve killing Jews. Coincidental, no doubt.

Laura SF said...

I know a committed Catholic pacifist. He said violence is never the answer. I asked him what he would do if he saw a man raping or about to kill his wife, and he had a weapon to hand - would he kill the man or wouldn't he, and if not, how he could possibly consider that the more moral response? He refused to answer the question... Pacifists are people who are more concerned about their own moral purity than the lives and safety of others. And as you said - when danger threatens, they still expect *others* to dirty *their* hands and come to their aid.

Silke said...

isn't it amazing that one of the best Orwell-sites available on the net is apparently maintained by Russians?

BTW Walter Russell Mead had a good piece on the BlauÄugige which I think translates as starry eyed in the run up to WW2

Y. Ben-David said...

Thanks for bringing up the Quakers. I know that during World War II they said that what was happening to the Jews wasn't nice, but of course, it is immoral to fight. Then, after the war, I heard they helped Nazi war criminals escape because "it is wrong for men to judge other men". Then, of course today, they support Palestinian violence because they are supposedly "oppressed". So we are always on their wrong side.
However, there was an American Quaker on the Anglo-American committee set up after World War II in order to investigate what should be done with Palestine. This Quaker fellow was favorably impressed with what the Jews had accomplished and he came out in favor of a Jewish state.

Another pacificist who had no use for Jews was Mohandes Gandhi. Although he said that what the Germans were doing to us was "not nice", he accused us of killing Jesus, of oppressing the Arabs, of trying to drag the world into a war "for our own selfish reason" and finally he suggested we committ mass suicide so that the Germans would remain "pure".

Bryan said...

Y. Ben-David: To be fair, Gandhi said the same thing to the Hindus of Lahore, so he's an equal-opportunity advocate of mass suicide.

Y. Ben-David said...

Interesting, I didn't know that he told the Hindus to do that. However, he did support Arab violence against Jews in Eretz Israel, so why didn't he tell THEM to commit suicide? He apparently was one of those "pacifist" types like Jimmy Carter, the AFSC and many others that always allowed a special dispensation for Muslims to be violent.