Whenever I read a bumper sticker that reads “Just Give Peace a Chance” or “War is Not the Answer” I am reminded of all the times that peace had no chance and war was the answer. One can wish with all the desire of one’s heart for the end of war–but that will not remove the the root cause of war from the human heart–dissatisfaction, or unrequited desire for that which one does not have (James 4:1 “From whence come wars and fightings . . .” comes to mind).
Mr French provides some perspective:
Several years ago, I had an interesting conversation with a pastor friend of mine. My friend explained that — despite a personal interest in military history — he was becoming increasingly pacifist. I eventually challenged his pacifism with the ultimate trump card: “What about Hitler? Wouldn’t pacifism have doomed even millions more? Wasn’t misguided European pacifism that inspired appeasement largely responsible for the millions of deaths that did result?”
Interestingly, he didn’t respond with a defense of American or English pacifism in the face of the German threat, he responded with the statement that Brits and Americans had to fight because German pacifism failed. Had German pacifists had the courage of their convictions — or had they existed in sufficient numbers — Hitler would never have been able to initiate wars of conquest or implement the “Final Solution.”
So, if a great enough mass of people were pacifists, war would not be the answer? What type of force would these non-forceful people be able to bring to bear against their opposition to make them also non-forceful?
He goes on, with his own thoughts this time:
We should never fight simply for “national greatness.” Yet how many times can we see genocide coming and do nothing to stop it? Rwanda. Bosnia. Kosovo. Sudan. Can there be any doubt that the hearts of men can be very dark indeed? Can there be any doubt that some cultures learned the wrong lessons from Stalin’s purges, Hitler’s gas chambers, Mao’s famines and Pol Pot’s killing fields? In the words of Hitler, as he planned the Final Solution: “After all, who remembers the Armenians?” [emphasis mine]
Indeed. There are many, from the bully in 6th grade to the dictator of North Africanistan who believe that might makes right–or at least that might is right for them.
War will be with us as long as we are with us. That’s not anything other than reality. Pacifism seeks an idealized state (or states) in defiance of the human condition.
Go and read the entire article.