Pacifism

Although I would hesitate to call myself a Pacifist outright, I definitely align more closely with Pacifism than any other position on the topic of violence. My viewpoint on the matter is derived from Kantian moral absolutism, which says that violence is intrinsically wrong. Whether or not moral absolutism permits violence for self-defense is a topic that could be debated upon endlessly. It’s good that way because I see self-defense as the only possible justification for violence.

As leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. have proven, nonviolence is not only morally proper, but it has the potentially to be a highly effective political tool. These individuals are heroic because while they endured a great amount of suffering as a result of their commitment to nonviolence, their influence as moral leaders rings true to this day. Throughout history and even today, violence and militarism have been justified on the basis of politics and in the name of capitalism. I believe this to be absolutely wrong and perhaps one of humanity’s greatness transgressions. Humanity needs to keep nonviolence at the forefront of our values and see violence for the evil that it is.

While I maintain the position that violence is morally wrong in all cases, counterarguments that point out the idealism of this viewpoint continue to plague me. Post WWI Europe’s nonviolence is one of the reasons that the Nazis were able become as powerful as they did. Israel’s use of pre-emptive attacks prevents countless civilian deaths. Am I really expected to turn the other cheek when someone decides to come into my house and try to murder me? I wish there were some universally applicable principle that could reconcile Pacifism with the seemingly unconquerable evil that pervades the world we live in. Sometimes I fear there simply is not enough love in the world to go around.

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