Thursday, July 14, 2005

gurufrisbee argued why violence doesn't work. Not why non-violence does.

At the risk of starting fratricidal strife here at Page 132, I need to respond to gurufrisbee's post about non-violence. I am not convinced. guru's argument was why violence doesn't work and not why non-violence does.

I understand that guru was in a hurry, so I liked to present further discussion points and see what happens.

guru first says, "'Is non-violence really an option?'
* Absolutely. To me, this is actually where the discussion effectively ends, because if you have the choice between a violent option and a non-violent option, the choice is ridiculously easy to make.

Let me rephrase non-violence really an option for a State that is trying to ensure order and security? If so, please demonstrate how that would work. What would a non-violent foreign/domestic policy look like?

guru again says,"Let's be blunt and honest about this - how many third world countries are out there getting attacked by terrorists from the Middle East? And how many attacks are there in North America and Europe compared to the attacks that are done in the Middle East by others from the Middle East? Terrorists don't attack just because they randomly decided they want to blow something or someone up. They have their reasons and some countries and their leaders provide a lot more reasons to be targeted and some provide absolutely zero reason to be targeted.

Here I am afraid that guru might be mistaken. Kenya (twice), Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Indonesia, Morocco, Qatar, Yemen and just today, Thailand. Did these countries do something to deserve being attacked? Last time I checked, most of them have a pretty benign foreign policy.

guru also says,"And a non-violent approach brings you a LOT closer to not being a target." Now let me ask...based on what?

guru stated"That implies the only way to counter evil is with violence. That is a truly absurd and ridiculous idea." I'm not saying it is the only way. Yet, violence does work to counter evil. The violence of WW2 stopped Hitler and other fascists. Our American Civil War ended slavery. We see in Revelations that Jesus and his angels will defeat in a great war the Evil One. It appears that in the face of true evil, violence is the most appropriate response.

I'd like you to tackle my hypothetical situations again. You didn't really answer how non-violence was better. You made the argument that violence was bad. If the best you can do is set up a government in Somalia (a ten-year project at best), while 1,000 terrorists a month are being trained, I'll take the swift and deadly action of blowing up the camps. That isn't to say I wouldn't support nation-building in Somalia, but considering that the 9-11 attacks were 20 guys and last week's were only 4 guys, I gotta stop the terrorists as fast as I can, by any means necessary. Considering Pakistan, again you didn't offer me a non-violent option. Turning it into a discussion about bombing George Bush on visit to the UK wasn't the point. How does one non-violently get the premier symbol of violence against America from Pakistan?

I avoided Iraq because you and I sing from virtually the same songsheet. I didn't want to turn it into a Bush-bashing session. I want true non-violent options!

You were right to castigate me for wanting to mercilessly kill people. That isn't the Spirit of God, but like Chris said in the comments, "I think it's completely understandable for a person to have the sort of thoughts he's expressed lately in light of the possibility that he could have been on one of those busses or trains. I'm sure it's a freaky - for lack of a better word - thing to have people being blown up in your city when you've assumed that the "war" was going on somewhere else." Yeah, pretty much.

Finally, let me inquire about your final 3 points.

1) It's illogical and wrong and conceptually suicidal to think that killing someone is the right response because you think they were wrong to want to kill someone. If I can stop the slaughter of 50 people by killing 4, isn't that an acceptable calculus in our fallen world? If not, what is the non-violent option?

2) It's clearly not the message of Jesus or the Bible that violence is the preferred response in any situation short of God Himself coming and telling you as much. I agree it isn't the preferred response, but doesn't non-violence assume rationality by all participants? What if someone is blinded by ideology - they think you ought to die - would non-violence work then? Clearly Al-Qaeda has no problem hitting completely innocent civilians.

3) You always have a choice and every choice has it's consequences. Peaceful choices tend to have positive ones, violent choices tend to have negative ones - almost all the time. The math truly is that simple. I agree that we always have a choice, but I think you need to back up your assertion that peaceful choices lead to positive outcomes and violent ones to negative outcomes. I think of the American Revolutionary War, which was the violent option, but the outcome was the greatest republic the world has ever known. Can you site one or two examples in history when your assertion has held true for States and not just individuals?

Don't argue that violence is bad. I agree. Please show that in the real world non-violence is a viable alternative. I think violence should be used as a last resort, but that we should keep that option open. Please show me I'm wrong.