War to Life

“War and violence is not the answer,” is a constant and sometimes sonorous ethical proscription, and then demand made, by and of those who have never had to fight or had to defend. War and violence, however, are not only sometimes the only answer, they are necessary and sufficient means of solving particularity violent problems.

I have heard this nonsense as an undergrad, where properly prim and well fed philosophy students expounded their oral, or moral, superiority and congratulated each other for their courage in doing so. Commendations were shared by all. Gandhi, they said, was the datum by which a man’s devotion to peace should be measured. Though, they forgot and forget, Gandhi suggested that the Jews of Europe practice passive resistance against the Germans, and he then suggested that it would have been better if the holocaust victims had committed mass suicide instead being victims of mass murder. Jews were killed for being Jews, and they would have been very enthusiastically killed by the SS if they were protesting Jews as well; the SS wasn’t much discouraged by distinctions of that sort. — As an aside and as a posthumous nod: It must be nice, Herr Gandhi, to have such a surplus of Hindus at your very literal disposal — This, of course, illustrates the difference between protesting the British and protesting Hitler. One requires a mere nuisance like Gandhi. The other requires a recognition of evil and its violent eradication.

And then I remember the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, who killed as many of those Nazi Bastards as they could, and the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, and I am consoled by the fact that both the British and the Jews were and are more moral than Gandhi and undergrad students of Philosophy. The most unfortunate thing is that there are many well meaning historically illiterate individuals who continue to champion Gandhi and his philosophy. But it is not a moral philosophy unless it can deal with most, if not all, moral demands. Gandhi’s fails the most basic one: the preservation of human life.


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