Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Realism of Pacifism

Guest poster John McGowan @ Michael Be'rube' offers a reality-based meditation on pacifism:

The Rhetorics of Violence

Of course, in matters of violence, the manly rhetoric of determination, will, prevailing, and necessity is considered “realistic”—and is opposed to the namby-pamby, pie-in-the-sky idealism of the pacifist who refuses to face facts. I beg to differ. The most abiding lesson I have learned in the four years since September 11th is the persistent inability of humans—as a species? Who knows? But certainly in many instances—to call a spade a spade. The rhetorics of violence divert our attention away from the maimed and suffering and dead bodies that are violence’s most real product. Think of the ways that “sacrifice” and “victory” were deployed in Bush’s recent speech about the Iraq War. Was there any connection offered between these terms and the dead bodies our war is producing daily? Pacifism calls us to the fact that violence means killing and maiming; it means inflicting physical harm and pain on humans. It tells us to be suspicious—very suspicious—of the words in which we cloak violence, in which we justify it, and in which we avoid apprehending its real effects on the ground. Get real. By jumping away to the message violence sends about our resolve or to the desired results we imagine it will produce, we cultivate a blindness that renders our claims to be “realists” delusionary.

Please read the whole thing.

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