Problem

Pacifism

Other Names:
Vulnerability to aggression
Inadequate self-defence
Lack of preparation for self-defence
Passivity in the face of aggression
Nature:
Pacifism encourages individuals and groups to refuse to take up arms to defend their country (or an ally) against aggression. As such it weakens the ability of the country to defend itself and therefore threatens the security of the country or the alliance to which it belongs.
Background:
Collective pacifism may take the form of national neutrality with the expressed denunciation of any form of war. Personal pacifism is an expression of conscience or conviction that one cannot participate in any military conflict. Individuals may advocate pacifism as a policy for a nation, but in the event of actual war, serve in their country's military forces or otherwise voluntarily support their nation's war effort. Pacifism in its collective and personal forms is obviously interrelated, but at the same time subject to widely divergent characteristics. Some pacifists claim the title 'activists'. Others speak approvingly of passive non-resistance. Expressions of pacifism, therefore, run a broad range. Pacifists are frequently the object of rhetorical, and some times of physical attacks; accused of being traitors, and reviled and discriminated against in other ways.
Claim:
1. Pacifist demonstrations in the West have been overtly encouraged by the USSR and its allies, to the USSR's advantage. No pacifist demonstrations occurred in the Eastern bloc when the USSR deployed SS-20s. Pacifists should recognize the pernicious effects of pacifism in some circumstances, for example in the demobilization that occurred before the second world war. During the Cold War, Europe was under threat and the balance of power was no longer stable; confidence cannot be re-established simply by political will.

2. Moral isolation is simply not a defensible position for those opposed to war but faced with events like ethnic cleansing in Bosnia or the politically induced starvation in Somalia. Mass murder of innocents is unacceptable and calls for new forms of military intervention. The international community cannot allow large numbers of people to be slaughtered whilst peace groups sit around and discuss their moral dilemmas with regard to intervention.

Counter Claim:
Military force never solves problems. Pacifists look back on a tradition in the West from the early Christians who refused military service, to the Society of Friends (the Quakers), and quote Ballou, Thoreau, Tolstoy, Aldous Huxley, Schweitzer and many others who shared a 'reverence for life'. In the East, pacifism has been preached from the time of Buddha to that of Gandhi.
Related Problems:
Anarchism
Militarism
Neutrality
Aggravated By:
Liberalism
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET
Web Page(s):