Monday, June 18, 2007
On good and evil and war
I made a bold statement in my War Porn message, one that I'm surprised nobody called me on. I said, "All war does is destroy."
But what about Hitler, you say? Surely World War II was a "good" war?
No. World War II was a necessary war, in order to remove evil from the planet. But the absence of evil is not the presence of good.
Evil destroys. Good creates. But if you remove Evil, you don't end up with Good. You end up with... nothing. Just an empty vacuum.
War, since it is only destruction, is never Good. It is necessary, sometimes. I am not naive. I know that committing acts of violence, acts of evil, is sometimes necessary in order to prevent further evil. I am not reluctant, for example, to state that a serial killer should be subjected to the violence of the state -- seized by armed men, placed into a cage called a "prison cell", and kept there for the remainder of his life. Is this evil? Yes, violence is always evil, but in this case it prevents worse evil, it prevents the serial killer from adding yet more bodies to his tally of destruction.
But war never, ever adds anything. War, by definition as organized destruction on a mass scale, can never be Good, no more than black can ever be white.
But what about the miracle of democracy that arose in Germany and Japan after WWII, you say? Doesn't that prove that war is good?
No, what that proves is that if people decide to take another course, and have the support of the United States in terms of money and funding to do so, they can create Good. The removal of the evil that was Hitler in Germany and the military junta in Japan meant that the people were free to choose. But the people still had to choose, and they still needed assistance after they chose. The people chose Good. It was not war that chose Good for them. The people chose Good. If the United States had not been terrified by the Soviet Union into supporting Good against the advice of all the Republican nay-sayers who said that this was rewarding violence on the part of the Japanese and Germans and thus the Japanese and Germans should be punished, not rewarded with funds for rebuilding... well, what would have happened would have been something akin to modern-day Iraq -- a failed lawless state full of violence and death and Evil.
In short, it was the Marshall Plan and its Japanese equivalent that was Good, not the war which preceded it. All the war did was destroy. Amongst the things it destroyed, besides the lives of millions of people, were the evil of Hitler and Tojo. But that did not make the war Good. It merely made the war necessary.
-- Badtux the History Penguin
Labels: morality, violence, war
Posted by: BadTux / 6/18/2007 09:12:00 PM
- Name: BadTux
- Location: Some iceberg, South Pacific, Antarctica
I am a black and white and yellow multicolored penguin making his way as best he can in a world of monochromic monkeys.
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Bill Richardson: Because what America needs is a competent fat man with bad hair as President (haven't we had enough incompetent pretty faces?)
Cost of the War in Iraq