Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pacifist Priests and Levites and Militarist Good Smaritans

Liberal pacifists and isolationists can be insufferably smug. In fact, they can remind one of the priest and the levite in Jesus' famous story.

John McCain and Joe Lieberman have issued a joint call for the US to step up to the plate and protect civilians in Libya from unnecessary violence and bloodshed. Why should you care? No reason - other than concern for one's neighbor.

Daniel Halper in The Weekly Standard writes:
Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman have just issued a joint statement on Libya. "We strongly support President Obama's declaration yesterday that Colonel Qaddafi must go," the senators say. "The President is correct that Qaddafi and those loyal to him – unleashing horrific violence against the Libyan people – have lost the legitimacy to remain in power, and we agree that the United States must consider the full range of options to stop the bloodshed taking place in Libya now."
I suppose the idolationist Left (which never criticized Soviet or Chinese meddling around the world) will cry "Imperialist" and Obama is too sensitive to bear such criticism. But listen to the final paragraph of the McCain-Lieberman statement:
“The United States must not be passive at this critical moment in history. From Bosnia to Rwanda, we know that the international community has in the past been too slow to react to situations like the one unfolding in Libya – with awful and unspeakable costs in human life. For both moral and strategic reasons, we must not repeat this mistake.”
Not repeating the mistakes of Bosnia and Rwanda should be a major component of the decision-making process here. Augustine would consider the use of force to be wrong insofar as it merely asserts one's own interests, but regretfully necessary in the protection of the weaker neighbor. The problem with liberal pacifism is that it places self-interest above neighbor love and thus becomes moralistic, self-righteous and selfish.

James Lewis at American Thinker asks why Europeans feel so free to condemn the US for trying to act justly in the world while Europe sits on its hands and lets the US do all the work.
Europe is the world's hostile-dependent Welfare Queen, and it is high time for the United States to stop indulging Europe's childish irresponsibility. The Euromedia are constantly telling us they have the answer to the world's problems, and just to prove it, they never actually do anything but criticize Uncle Sam. They call our indulgence of their hostile dependent rage "American Imperialism." The average lefthead in Europe is convinced that all the world's troubles can be blamed on us, and that Progress and International Love and Peace are bound to come... whenever. Meantime they celebrate their own morally superiority and never do anything responsible.

When George W. Bush intervened in Iraq, Europe's ruling elite carried on a sustained campaign of personal hatred and rage against Bush for eight years, knowing full well that without American intervention in the Gulf their economies would be starved for lack of fuel.

They have been playing that hostile-dependent game for sixty years and America has indulged them like an overprotective mom. For them America it's not Uncle Sam but Uncle Stupid.

Now that the civilized world claims to be horrified by a grotesque and ranting Col. Khadafi bombing his own people in Libya, Europe is waiting for the United States to put our military lives at risk to protect their southern flank. But Tripoli is only 200 miles from Malta (a member of the EU), Italy is 350 miles, France, Greece and Spain are less than 1,000 miles. That's New York City to Chicago. Sending a dozen jet planes to buzz Col. Khadafi is well within the military capabilities of 300 million prosperous people in Europe. But nobody is talking about it.

Turkey is the biggest military power on the southern NATO flank and desperately wants to be a member of the EU. Let the EU put together a small expeditionary force, control the air by flying their idle military jets over Libya, save the rebellion and starve Khadafi out of power. The United States is expected to do it, while at the same time keeping the peace in the Persian Gulf and Korea.

The Europeans have knowingly eaten their seed grain. They have cannibalized their militaries to run a corrupt and anti-democratic European Union, leaving the primitive duty of self-defense to the United States, a country they feel morally obliged to abuse and trash in public at every possible opportunity.
Europe is morally decadent and in demographic, economic and political decline. But they are world champions at moralistic, self-righteousness. Too bad they couldn't care less about their weaker neighbors. If the Europeans are the priests in the story and the American Left plays the role of the Levite, it falls to the poor, old, beleaguered, American military to play the role of the Good Samaritan. No, the Good Samaritan doesn't have a very good reputation. And no, he does not get much good press. All he does is the right thing.


jdavidcharles said...

It strikes me as a little uncharitable to equate liberalism, pacifism, and isolationism as one, whole monolithic entity--ie, one can still be involved in the affairs of "neighbors" without necessarily be involved via violent acts. In fact this seems to be the very precondition of pacifism, namely, that any act which moves outward from the self towards one's neighbor (who is the other, the enemy, etc) as violence is wrong--it is preferable, according to such a position, rather, to lay down one's life, to let the self be the brunt of the reception of violence rather than its vehicle (and, from a "Christian perspective," this is precisely what the Incarnation was). Your whole post seems to be addressing isolationism on a whole and, as such, I think you present your thoughts well and effectively, but as something of a liberal and pacifist I had no idea how in anyway this post was relevant to those two positions which exist apart from an isolationist perspective.

Craig Carter said...

Well, if you are a liberal pacifist then you would advocate the EU and the US stand back and let Ghadaffi do anything he wants to his people without bombing him or imposing a no-fly zone. Am I wrong about that? A pacifist says don't use violence against aggressors like Ghadaffi, right?

Joshua said...

I do not see why you have to submit to this all or nothing logic, i.e. why you must objectify the situation into two distinct, regrettable options (we allow violence and therefore are supposedly complicit with it or we create the violence, assume it,ie attack). Why can't there be non-violent alternatives? Isn't precisely reducing the situation into one where violence must be assumed a sort of first-violence? A violence of law, language, etc? As regards the specific case of Gaddafi one which, admittedly, I am not as knowledgeable as I would like to be, pacifism does not have to be de facto anti-revolutionary, in fact--it seems to be pro-revolution in its anarchical resistance to all forms of totalitarian dominance--even itself at times. What is more revolutionary than the protests in Cairo? This, rightly speaking, was pacifist-revolution--it brought about the downfall of Hosni Mubarak strictly by non-violence. Now, I am not so reductive as to say the situation in Egypt=the situation in Libya of course, but it does stand as testament to what non-violent revolution can look like, and, in fact, is the only true form of revolution. All totalitarian violence can only be squelched by totalitarian violence--or it can be assumed, as Ghandi's non-violence assumed the violence, as the protests in Cairo did, as Christ did, et al. Violent imposition of totalitarian structure is always cyclical it seems, even under a just-war schema (which, I might add, I highly respect and intend no slight). Only through pacifism, assuming the violence, s/he who takes it upon his or her self, can violence authentically end. I do not intend to be polemic and/or hostile, but that seems to sort of be the classical Christian pacifist argument (a la Tatian, Cyprian, Tolstoy, et al) and you seem to be, like I said, addressing a very modernistic understanding of isolationism rather than classical pacifism.