Pacifism Goes Mainstream

May 7, 2011 § 1 Comment

The current issue of Harper’s Magazine has a long and excellent article on Pacifism titled “Why I’m a Pacifist: The dangerous myth of the Good War” by Nicholson Baker. He focuses particularly on World War II as the permier example of a “good war” and Nazism as the kind of evil that must be stopped, even at the high cost of many human lives. He especially is convinced that early negotiation with Hitler could have saved many of the Jews killed in the Holocaust, as the Third Reich had repeatedly referred to them hostages and only ramped up the killing immediately after the US entered the war.

Very worth hunting down in a good newsstand.


§ One Response to Pacifism Goes Mainstream

  • I am an admitted agnostic on the subject of war, despite my Quaker heritage–though my grandfather, Joseph Haines, who was one of the early Friends involved with the American Friends Service Committee’s relief work in France during WWI, believed that WW II was a “just war” that that Hitler “had to be stopped.” Nicholson Baker’s point of view has been timely for a long time–! No less than now. I will track down this article.

    It troubles me that the killing of Bin Laden by the Uber-Elite Navy Seals will surely lead to a further romanticism of the soldier’s “craft.” Books will follow, movies will follow, merchandise will follow, Armed Forces Enlistments may increase–All because these highly tested, buff, undoubtedly sexy, strong and silent military heroes are the ones on whose shoulders rest the nation’s feeling that someone has “really done something” about 9/11. In a way, I respect all that–not too many would survive what these guys went through to obtain their “objective”–but is this really the epitome of what human beings can achieve when it comes to responding to terrorism? Won’t it perpetuate hatred against the U.S. ? Killing and intimidation may temporarily silence the enemy, but doesn’t it always motivate him to come back stronger? Where will it end?

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