Monday, July 18, 2005

They ARE connected, Expat

I didn't have time to get this done before now, but unfortunately it doesn't actually mean that I was able to spend enough time on preparing a good response - it just means I was too busy.

Hopefully we all read expat's rebuttal of my comments regarding violence and non-violence.

"At the risk of starting fratricidal strife here at Page 132"
* I think the ground rules of this included not using words the math guy doesn't understand - "fratricidal"?

" I am not convinced. guru's argument was why violence doesn't work and not why non-violence does."
* Because while this could be a shades of grey thing, it's core is a black and white issue. Violence is not a good option and you've seen over and over that is true - which does directly lead to non-violence being the good option. Besides, there are well known non-violent efforts throughout history like Ghandi and MLK, Jr. and I really didn't think I needed to rehash their accomplishments - I was assuming they were already known.

"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?"
* I think so. I think you see a lot of countries that seek to avoid violence at almost all costs.

"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."
* I don't think you really proved anything with this list at all. Take a closer look. Both attacks on Indonesia - targets that were essentially all about their U.S. connections. Kenya - actually Israeli targets. Tunisia - actually German connected targets. Turkey - actually British targets. Yemen - actually French target. Qatar - targeting westerners.

"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?"
* Based on the evidence. The targets are almost always the countries that are world leaders in promoting violence and social injustice in other countries or they are locations in smaller countries with direct ties to those countries. Terrorists aren't out there bombing the countries with benign foreign policy unless they have internal targets connected with those who aren't so benign.

"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."

World War II stopped some specific fascists/evil leaders. It didn't wipe out that category of people forever. The Civil War marked the end of slavery in the U.S., but it didn't bring equal rights to them. And no one can be sure precisely what the visions John had in Revelation will ultimately turn out to be. Again, unless God Himself says so, violence is not the 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."
* You never really established that the violent response was better. Show me where taking a violent approach was the absolute best option in a situation that wasn't self defense (or if it's biblical - where it wasn't directly called upon by God Himself).

" 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. "
* You blow up that camp and ten more start in ten other countries with 10,000 terrorists all hell bent on retaliating on your country. You think that's your best option? I'll take not making my country a target for terrorists and keeping us all alive.

"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?"
* No, I didn't, because your hypothetical was so ridiculous. Pointing out the Bush-UK similarity was showing how out there it is. One gets the symbol of violence by working with the Pakistanis, giving them incentive to give him up. Or better yet, one doesn't bother, since catching bin Laden or not should rank about #8,000,000 on the list of truly important things to do while in the Oval Office.

"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."
*I accept and I hurt to hear that you are rattled and shaken by recent events near your home. But that is when the devil strikes - when we're weak. And that is when we needed to be reminded of what is really true and what we really need to believe in.

"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?"

Working with those four people so they choose to not kill anyone. No one is forced to choose to murder. And no, that's not acceptable calculus. That's trying to rationalize sin. That's pre-emptive excuse making. Frankly, it's crap.

"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."

I don't believe anyone is so blinded by ideology to kill other humans to the point where they are incapable of being changed. And I don't believe that it's right for me to act in opposition of my beliefs and faith simply because someone else is going to.

"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?"

99.9% of the time the entire world lives in a peaceful existence with one another. And it is good. When it doesn't, you can try to draw a crooked line to show a positive outcome came from it, like you did with the revolutionary war, but there is always a better option that wasn't taken. The greatest republic the world has ever known wasn't caused by the war - it was caused by amazing visionaries who all lived over here. It would have still happened if Britian had just let the colonies leave them peacefully. Only it wouldn't have killed thousands of people.

"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."

I don't think you are wrong to think of violence as a viable last resort - I think you aren't trying to think very hard of other resorts. I know you don't want this to go back to Iraq, but I think that situation is a great example for this. Yes, Saddam is out of power and that is a good thing - so violence did lead to a good thing. Was violence the only way that could have been accomplished? I don't think so. Did Bush only resort to violence as a final option? Not remotely. Is the good of that worth the evil that the violence has resulted in? I don't think so. But I said before it ever started it was a bad idea, because it always is when you vote for unnecessary violence.