Pacifism and hypocrisy

“Are you not guilty of gross hypocrisy, being a pacifist sheltering behind the defence of the British Army?”

No, I don’t think so. I was born here, I live here. I have not been called up, and do not live in the age of mass citizen armies anyway. Military forces are highly trained professionals, not cannon fodder. I could go to the Republic of Ireland, which is neutral and has small forces. It is more hypocritical to call for war without personally paying the price of it.

It is easier to be pacifist now than in 1939, when people were imprisoned for it. Pacifists in the Friends Ambulance Unit took risks on the front lines, to save lives.

Rather, I am sheltering behind the EU, where ties of trade and common interest make war unthinkable, for thousands of miles to the East and South of me. William Penn, a Quaker, first proposed a European Parliament in the 17th century.

Pacifism could be called brave, in supporting unpopular positions. Public opinion is divided on bombing Syria, on which people have strongly held, definite opinions.

For me, pacifism is about how I live my life: though I continually fail to live up to my ideals I grow towards them. And it is who I am, the foundation of my character, my desire for reconciliation and closeness.

Blake, Dante and Virgil before the Angelic Guardian at the gate of Purgatory

3 thoughts on “Pacifism and hypocrisy

  1. Pingback: Reblogging: Pacifism and hypocrisy | doubleinvert

  2. I’m rather tired of the word pacifist, which is so mired in the appeasement of the pre WW2 era as to be anathema to most people. There is a difference, though, between stopping some dictator in his tracks by saying, ‘NO’ and letting him go so far that a battle becomes inevitable. If we do not discipline a child early on, s/he gets so stroppy and full of himself, that to attempt discipline is a major undertaking.

    Thank goodness some of us oppose war and fighting and all the rest. If we did not, what shape would the world be in? As I get older, I become more opposed to fighting.

    Thank you for this post, Clare. XXX 😀


    • ❤ I have no idea how The West should deal with dictators like Hafiz al-Assad, or Hosni Mubarak, or indeed with Narendra Modi, whose party contains some violent elements. I feel that imagining there is some such thing as a “military solution” makes things worse. On the word, words used by outsiders derisively or contemptuously can accrue some of that contempt, but consider the reclamation of the word “queer”. I’m queer, and happy with that. A pacifist follows the way of pacifism, which is the political/spiritual theory that making peace and consensus is always better than confrontation.

      Liked by 1 person

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