I think that you can be a pacifist (Wiki: "the opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes or gaining advantage") without being a pushover.
"Turn the other cheek" is not a practical moral lesson. It has no use in the real world. If I was to hurt someone, it would be under the grim relization that I had to and to tell you the trugh, if I ran at someone with a knife, I'd want them to break my arm and lessen my sentence in prison amongst other things.
Yes I'd agree with that but sometimes pacifism isn't the right solution because of the opposition, not because of you.
Although, on a personal level, unless you've actually been in a situation like that I think it's hard to predict what you would do.
I have. So I do know.
When I was 21, I was kidnapped.
Sort of, I knew the guy and willingly went with him not realizing his actual intentions.
When we got to his apartment he wouldn't let me leave (so I was effectively a prisoner and kidnapped).
He then told me that he intended to kill me, after sexually assaulting me by sexually mutilating me while I remained alive.
My goal was to escape, but if I had to, I would have and planned to do as much as damage as possible to ensure that I came out alive.
I have no doubt that I would have killed him if that's what it took.
Luckily, I managed to escape by distracting him and convincing him that it was only fair that he give me a detailed explanation for why he wanted to do this to me.
He bought it and while he was engaged in explaining why I deserved to be sexually mutilated and killed, I made a run for the door. He caught me, I screamed the most blood curdling scream possible. That startled him and I was out the door.
When it comes to war I do believe that there is such a thing as just wars and unjust wars.
WW1 was an unjust war and WW2 was a just war, IMO.
So, while I think we should do everything possible to avoid war, sometimes we have no choice and this where our ethics have to come into play not only in determining whether we fight but how we fight.
The only right way to fight is to not fight. What is right about aggression?
Do you mean fighting fair versus for example: sand in the eyes? If you mean diplomacy over violence then one of those ways isn't fighting. Do you mean when you say, "I would fight back ethically" that you wouldn't cut a man's throat for punching you in the face or something?
I think the only wrong way to fight is 'poorly'. If you are in a fight morals are rarely considered. To me the right way to fight is the way that leaves me undamaged when I am finished.
It's more like there's a best way to fight and a worst way to fight.
Jacob said: The only right way to fight is to not fight.
I understand your point Jacob but I don't agree.
There are circumstances where one doesn't have a choice. In those circumstances, fighting is the right thing to do, but how one does it is where the ethics comes in.
WW2 was a defensive war against Fascism and had to be fought because of Hitler. We had no choice and given what he was doing to the Jews, atheists, gypsies, gays, and Germans who opposed him, I believe we did the right thing. There was no negotiating with Hitler, it would simply have extended the war because for him negotiations simply meant giving him breathing room before the next attack.
In my personal situation, if I couldn't have escaped, I would have gone all the way to defend myself, up to and including killing him if I had to, because he wasn't going to negotiate either.
Of course, given the fact that I'm 5'2" and was 1101bs at the time, and he was a lot bigger and stronger, I'd likely not have survived, so escape was my best option.
I really only meant in terms of "right and wrong" or "good versus evil". In those terms fighting is not "good". I agree with you. Really i do. I play devil's advocate a lot and nitpick people over simple statements. You did the right thing in your personal situation. Even if you were armed and had the drop on him escape was still the smartest thing to do.
Choosing not to engage in combat is not weakness but strategy.
Choosing not to defend yourself once combat has started IS weakness.
Choosing to initiate combat is not weakness but strategy.
Taking anything from another person for your personal benefit is weak. No matter how you manage to take it. Things that can be taken from people are material possessions, time, freedom to travel or speak, use of one's body or mind and the list goes on.
Defending yourself from Takers is a personal duty. You owe it to no one but yourself.
Defending yourself by any means is a matter of strategy.
I believe the religious right in this country has designs on taking away many of our rights. I believe they have an agenda that ends with them telling me what I can or cannot do with my own body. I will defend myself from these things by whatever means are determined to be necessary. It is only a matter of strategy to me. It hasn't become personal so I haven't responded in kind. However, taking the offense against religion by any means is just a matter of strategy. It is not right or wrong only best or worst. We should always consider all options when determining what threatens us and how to respond.
Morals are relative, while ethics are not. I have no morals or ethics that tell me striking first against a foe is wrong.
I have to disagree. I think a good old fashioned no-holds-barred holy war is perfectly justifiable, if in the end I can step off the last dead moron and know that my kids need not go through what I just did. To know that I won't have to do it again.
For anyone who does not blame their ancestors (dead or living) for the problems in our current modern world the ends will never justify the means in reaching them. I for one would not prefer to have my descendants wondering why I never stood up and DID something about this crazy bullshit we call religion before it got out of hand.
Maybe I will write a letter to my great great grandchildren explaining that if they turn out to be religious nut jobs it wasn't because I didn't try to talk people into more action. That will make it ok. Shifting responsibility for current problems is why we are even having this discussion. Our ancestors either were totally fooled or afraid or too apathetical. Maybe I'm just pissed off because my job is slowly making my hands look like Germany in 1945. All fucked up.
They say that history is written by the winners. Even with that said and presuming we'd be those winners, I STILL am not sanguine with getting preemptive on a physical level with the theists. However, if I see things threatening to get ugly, I have no problem arming myself.
From a philosophical standpoint, I would rather not be the one to take the first shot, though again, if necessary, I will. I have no problem whatsoever taking the LAST one.
So would it be ok to prompt them into making the first move so everybody could feel good about it? Every fight I ever saw that started with some shoving ended with both people hurt. One guys shoves another and that guy shoves him back saying, "Don't shove me!" and they slowly rev each other up. I have seen a few ass-whoopings where no shoves were involved. The first guy simply started kicking the shit out of the second one and that was the beginning and the end of that.
The idea behind civilized conflict resolution is to avoid a fight. When that doesn't work...blood flows. There is no civilized method of conducting violence. That is just bullshit.
You did say it. If it is necessary you would take the first shot.
I have to agree with you, since I'm not a violent person, violence is not the tool I use to resolve conflicts. Hurting someone worse than they have hurt me seems wrong on a lot of levels.
Although, I might have a case for blaming Xtianity for that way of thinking in my westernized brain. I do however feel that it is ok morally and ethically to do whatever I have to to ensure the survival of myself and my family. We just need a good reason to go stark raving mad on the fundamentalists and show them how its done.
I give secular people better odds at maintaining their humanity after war. Does anyone know of any numbers showing the effects of PTSD on our troops based on religion? I have known several secular veterans who never had trouble dealing with killing their enemies. I even know a guy who got shot by a nine year old girl in the face (the bullet actually ricocheted off of the inside of his helmet). His squadmates blew her to little bits. I remember being surprised at his own admission that it should have bothered him still but it didn't. Kill or be killed is too sensible for secular people to get torn up over shoulda woulda coulda.