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Pacifism — a betrayal of the homeland?

Pacifism is a strange and often inconsistent thing: “No” to war, but “yes” to police, courts, prisons; “we are for peace” while continuing to feed armies and other forces every day. However, pacifism is a solid step, a phase that is necessary for many on the path of nonviolence.

Homeland is a more complex and difficult concept. As a rule, it is made up of a) your first neighbors [OR your primary circle of neighbors], b) the territories, resources, and infrastructure that these neighbors consider their own, and c) the history of preceding generations.

In order to give the briefest possible answer to the question posed above, it would be appropriate to describe each side of the question in terms of only the following two groups of people:

  • those who are not ready to kill and maim some people in an attempt to save others;
  • those who are ready for this and demand it of everyone around them. In point of fact, today this is the majority of your neighbors, given that finding people who are ready to do this themselves but don’t demand it of others would be rather difficult.

And so, concerning betrayal:

  1. Life in any country is not cost-free, including for citizens of that country. And, to put it plainly, it’s not cheap. In any country, pacifists have to pay exactly the same amounts for residence and accommodations as anyone else — including, unfortunately, the expenses of maintaining armed forces.
  2. This country (whatever country you have in mind) has been built by, among others, the labor of pacifists. Moreover, the average pacifist is a driver of the economy and of progress to a much greater extent than those who pump a significant part of their strength, time, and resources into the armed forces.
  3. Betrayal or treason is only applicable if there has been a refusal, despite prior agreements, to observe obligations that were assumed  a) consciously, and b) voluntarily. Obligations that are imposed by the homeland (that is, by those neighbors) are neither conscious nor voluntary, but rather imposed under the threat of persecution or violence:
  • citizenship
  • conscription
  • payment to the full panoply of police and armed services
  • moral support for the armed state
  • and so forth.

The last challenge that pacifists are presented with is the so-called sacrifice made by their neighbors who are ready to kill — that is, to put their own souls in danger of sin — in place of the pacifists and for their sake. This claim is as wild as all the rest, considering that mature pacifists:

  • will themselves never create conflicts and tensions (in contrast with people who are ready for armed showdowns)
  • when conflicts arise, will never kill, and will never drive others to kill; they will instead protect others’ lives and souls
  • will use nonviolence to resolve conflicts; see Nonviolence in Action: Methods and Approaches.


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