Living with the illogical
In his 1968 collection of essays, "The Just War: Force and Political Responsibility"
, the late (conservative?) Christian theologian Paul Ramsey
called for -- wait for it -- just wars. "Peace and justice are not linked by an invisible hand, nor can political life endure without the use of force."
The creation of a war-free world would be nice, but would involve lobotomizing large numbers of the populace to keep all hint of aggression in check. Those Marxists who believe in wholesale social control will love this concept. But I'm afraid the end of war will in fact require more self-knowledge, not less; the acceptance of difference; and -- if we can't grow up -- the understanding that there are self-important busybodies who will not put up with the torture and murder of others.
That's not a terribly enlightened concept, the idea that policing is necessary to keep the peace. We're not a terribly enlightened world. (And by world, I'm not pointing the finger at anybody-but-the-West; we too, have monster police forces in every city just to keep ourselves in line.)
Those who claim that violence is never a justified response would have, I guess, accepted the death of every Jew in Europe (and perhaps eventually, other genocides, as novelist Philip K. Dick's
what-if, "The Man in the High Castle,"
suggests is in the works when the Nazis take over Africa). Peace at all cost is really just another way of saying that you don't care about your fellow humans. Fuck'em.
I've already suggested that World War 2 was a just war. But what about Afghanistan, and the displacement of the Taliban
And in Iraq, with former leader Saddam Hussein accused in the World Court of crimes against humanity?
How do we balance human rights with the acknowledgement of national boundaries? What is a just war?
Hey, you decide for yerself. Define "just" in a wide open manner, and the United Nations
descends upon dozens of countries with guns. Define it too meanly, and tyrants get away with sentencing whole villages to starvation.
What's true for all is that while the threat of violence may be necessary, it's also inherently contradictory.
once wrote about the nuclear arms race thusly (though any massive arms build-up will do just as well): "Between the two [theses]... -- peace through the generalization of thermonuclear deterrence and the dangers created by the enlargement of the atomic club -- I do not hesitate to choose: the first is illusory, deceptively seductive, it has the characteristic appeal of sophistries. In short, it is war which must be saved, in other words, the possibility of tests of armed strength between states rather than eternal peace, which would have to be established by the constant threat of the thermonuclear holocaust....
"It is just bizarre to imagine the industrial societies will live in peace because they will no longer have the means to fight as it is to imagine that they will live in peace because that they all have the means to destroy each other in a few moments. The seemingly opposite intellectual error is actually the same in both cases. The doctrinaire of peace by fear imagines an equality between states by the capacity of the weakest to deal the strongest mortal blow. The doctrinaire of peace by disarmament imagines the equality to consist of the strongest to coerce the weakest. Neither equality is attainable."
We are undone.