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A History of Non-Violence A History of Non-Violence Hot

doveI’m afraid that this weeks’ column is going to be rather less about board games and somewhat more personal than usual, hinging on issues that are only tangentially related to gaming. A clue to the nature of said issues is in the title. So if you’d rather not delve into the deeper realms of my psyche, or participate in discussions about morality, now is the time to click away. Don’t come whining to me if you get to the end of the piece and discover it’s not to your liking.

When I was a small boy, I played with toy soldiers and toy guns and got into playground fights like every other boy and, being small, didn’t stop to think about the wider ramifications of what I was playing. That attitude didn’t change until I came to study the history - and literature - of the First World War at school. When the appalling conditions endured by soldiers at the front became clear, and I gradually came to understand that these conditions, alongside the most ruinous casualty rates in any modern conflict, were endured by ordinary people largely in the name of perpetuating the imperialist delusions of their political masters, I was deeply shocked. Very quickly my attitude to violence and the depiction of violence changed from one of not really caring to one of profound pacifism.

At round about the same time, I found myself being drawn into the gaming hobby. My starting point was fantasy role-playing games, many of which glamourised violence to an extreme degree. I found this relatively easy to justify with my new-found pacifism: the games took place in an entirely imaginary world and depicted forms of aggression that were, in most parts of the world, largely consigned to history. It was pretend, nothing more than a game and so it was easy to tool up a fighter with a two handed sword  to go out and slaughter a hundred orcs and still proclaim myself a pacifist. Choosing forms of entertainment that include fake violence does not, in my opinion, make an individual any more likely to be violent.

But as you’ll all no doubt be well aware the gaming hobby is a small community and it’s hard to get your toe in the door of one sector without being exposed to others. And so it was that from fantasy role-playing games I got into fantasy war games. And from there it was a relatively small step to historical war games - the contemporary Avalon Hill and West End Games titles were regularly advertised in White Dwarf magazine. At the same time as my friends and I were exploring that particular dimension of hobby-space, several of them became deeply interested in militaria and military history, designing and playing world-war 3 scenarios in the computer games of the time. Then came the first Gulf War and we found ourselves sitting round the television, discussing the tactics and hardware used as Operation Desert Storm unfolded.

Whilst I was obviously a willing participant in all of this it sat very poorly with my position as a pacifist. I didn’t make much fuss about this: as a teenager I found myself unable to resist my peer group. And in truth I didn’t care much: I found myself torn rather badly between a deepening interest in state-sponsored violence and a deepening sense that it was equally a disturbing and bad thing to be interested in. Whilst one can make a case that many people make a career out of following the more brutal side of humanity without wanting to become actively involved in it: policemen, for example, don’t usually approve of crime, that justification rang false for me. I wasn’t just being a dispassionate observer of the military. I found myself approving wholeheartedly of the minutiae of regimental tradition, glorying in the victories and famous last stands of soldiers down the ages, all the while trying desperately to divorce the admiration I felt from the inevitable end result of death, destruction and suffering on an untold scale.

I even toyed with the idea of joining up, after someone I knew suggested it. It’s a damn good job I didn’t: I was never born to be a warrior. Whilst I was a pretty good athlete when I was a teenager my speciality was mid-distance running: in almost every other area I was exceptionally weak and feeble. Worse I have no head for decision making under serious pressure. With a good academic background and a modicum of physical fitness it seems plausible I could have made it to Sandhurst and come out the other side a junior officer who would, very quickly, have become a real-life example of the “lions lead by donkeys” caricature of the British army. Let alone the psychological damage I’d have endured from entering into a career that involved me doing things I fundamentally disapproved of.

When I originally adopted a position of pacifism, I rapidly moved into quite an extreme stance and would declaim that, as a good pacifist I would willingly submit to a beating from others rather than lift my hand in violence. That position was never put to the test and since that point my attitude, as with many of my political and moral principles, has mellowed considerably but remained basically intact. It now seems to me that armed conflict is, on occasion, inevitable and so potentially destructive that nations must maintain armies even during times of peace in order to have the capacity to meet prospective threats. But I still believe that war is basically wrong and to be avoided whenever possible. But I still retain enough of my original convictions to make this area of my life a rather difficult case of trying to square a circle. How could I be a pacifist who had once entertained the concept of a career in the armed forces?

I eventually got my answer when I read a book called Dispatches, the autobiography of journalist Michael Herr of his years covering the Vietnam War. It's part military history, part memoir and a superb book which I highly recommend to anyone even casually interested in the subject matter. Reading the book, I gradually became aware that Herr had clearly been through something of my own struggle to reconcile a fascination with the process of warfare with a revulsion for its results. It was never stated directly, but communicated from the tone of the book. It would flip from sustained outrage at the inhumanity of warfare to an easy chatter about the glamour of guns in the space of a couple of pages. It seemed that the author had solved his own personal conundrum in this regard by becoming a military journalist rather than a solider, but could the book offer me any clues as to how I could balance my own skewed sense of morality on the subject?

I thought about this deeply while I read the book. And eventually I came up with an answer. What the book seemed to be saying to me was that it was crazy to suggest that warfare wasn’t glamorous and exciting. It’s no co-incidence that many older people in the UK view the privations and suffering of the second world war, whether in Normandy or at the home front, as a high point in their lives. Even bypassing the fascination many people have with big machines and big explosions, which warfare can satisfy many times over, it seems there is something deeply fulfilling on a personal level about the extremes to which warfare pushes a society. It may be that the people on England hadn’t endured such suffering in their lives before but that suffering simultaneously brings out the best and the worst in people: society pulls together, everyone is bound by a common cause into unlikely friendships and ordinary people become heroes. And over time, the pain is forgotten and all that people remember is the sense of duty, of comradeship, of giving your all to the collective good. My pacifist assumption that all war is suffering didn’t stand up to scrutiny: war is both suffering and fulfilment at the same time and like the yin and the yang you can’t have one without the other.

But it seemed equally clear to me that the level of privation endured during combat was entirely unjustifiable by the relatively small gains that people might have had from their experiences. Anyone, even the most ardent militarist, who has ever been shocked at a horror story from one of the world’s conflict zones will immediately see that to be true: and, tragically, such stories are ten a penny in both history and the modern world. Besides which one cannot, ultimately, disconnect the activity of prosecuting warfare with its results and in those results the misery and woe inflicted on untold millions of innocents far outweighs any emotional satisfaction gained by participants, many of whom were willing volunteers. And so, ultimately, I remain a pacifist, albeit one who has succumbed to the lure of the military dream. As a pacifist I have to ask the question what can we do, as a society and what can I do, as an individual, to further the aim of peace in our time?

I don't think you need to be any kind of ardent biological determinist to accept that it tends to be men who have an easier time seeing the glamour inherent in warfare, or that males are to some extent hard-wired to indulge in violence. I believe that this is true, and I believe equally that as reasoning, civilized creatures we alone of all the living things on the planet have the capacity to rise above our genetic programming and make rational choices such as: it's better not to fight. I don't propose that masculinity is in any sense an excuse for violent behaviour. But it seems to me that it would help in the quest for peace if people who found themselves attracted to warfare for whatever reason had something more constructive to work towards in its stead. Something to replace actual combat which could offer a modicum of the glamour without any of the terrible consequences.

Exactly what that replacement would be depends on what, exactly the individual is seeking in terms of wanting to go to war in the first place. For many, I suspect, something along the line of extreme sports would make an excellent substitute: the sorts of activities that modern-day adventurers and explorers indulge in. For others some sort of re-enactment might fit the bill, be it something as disconnected from the original as Lazer Tag, or something as comprehensive as a full military-run combat or training experience day. For a minority, including me, our replacement is learning military history and replaying that history through the medium of war games.

And that, ultimately, is how I came to feel at ease being a pacifist who plays war games. Because it seemed to me that if I hadn't found some sort of activity to replace warfare in my life I might, as I almost did, have felt the need to experience the real thing instead, undoubtedly to my great personal detriment and possibly to the detriment of many others as well. If you want peace, it seems, you must prepare to wargame.

 


Matt is the founder of Fortress: Ameritrash. He is also a regular columnist for Board Game News.

Click here for more board game articles by Matt.

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Comments (115)
  • avatarmjl1783
    Quote:
    When I originally adopted a position of pacifism, I rapidly moved into quite an extreme stance and would declaim that, as a good pacifist I would willingly submit to a beating from others rather than lift my hand in violence. That position was never put to the test...

    And a poor test it would have been.

    Would you have allowed others to commit violence on your behalf (i.e. the police) in that situation? If so, would you then allow yourself to be beaten to death before raising your hand, or that of a proxy, in violence?

    I suspect very, very few honest people claiming to be pacifists people could ever pass such a test. So, the whole concept of pacifism is mostly horseshit in my view.

    Quote:
    It was pretend, nothing more than a game and so it was easy to tool up a fighter with a two handed sword to go out and slaughter a hundred orcs and still proclaim myself a pacifist. Choosing forms of entertainment that include fake violence does not, in my opinion, make and individual any more likely to be violent.

    If you're playing violent games, you already are a violent person. You're getting entertainment from committing violent acts. The difference between pretend violent acts and real ones is simply a difference of degree, not of kind.

    If these RPGs emphasized rape instead of killing, would you still play them? Could you actually derive pleasure from the DM's gory, detailed descriptions of these acts? Would you attack your rape victims with the same upbeat enthusiasm you had when you were killing bugbears?

    I doubt it. I also doubt the "it's all make-believe" line of argument would fly if you encountered somebody who really did enjoy such a game.

  • avatarMattDP
    Quote:
    And a poor test it would have been.

    Would you have allowed others to commit violence on your behalf (i.e. the police) in that situation? If so, would you then allow yourself to be beaten to death before raising your hand, or that of a proxy, in violence?

    I suspect very, very few honest people claiming to be pacifists people could ever pass such a test. So, the whole concept of pacifism is mostly horseshit in my view.

    Indeed. Perhaps I didn't make it entirely clear but nowadays I'd accept most of what you're saying, bar the last part, and in retrospect I'm sure I came across as a pompus little twat when I was a teenager. I don't believe Pacifism is "horseshit" but I suspect it is better defined as the opinion that violence is a choice of absolute last resort, and then only in self defence.

    Quote:
    If you're playing violent games, you already are a violent person. You're getting entertainment from committing violent acts. The difference between pretend violent acts and real ones is simply a difference of degree, not of kind.

    If these RPGs emphasized rape instead of killing, would you still play them? Could you actually derive pleasure from the DM's gory, detailed descriptions of these acts? Would you attack your rape victims with the same upbeat enthusiasm you had when you were killing bugbears?

    I don't buy this at all. Replace "playing RPGs" with "watching films" and see if your arguments still stack up.

  • avatarjay718

    I too once dabbled in pacifism dude. Not in 'Nam of course.

  • avatarChapel

    This reminded me of my favorite Larry Niven quote from his Man-Kzin Wars novel after being attacked by by the warlike aliens, the Kzinti. "The reason the humanity made such good pacifists and decided to study war no more, was because they were so very, very good at it."

  • avatarHatchling

    You've got a great ability, Matt, to describe ideas that are close to the bone. It's pretty humanizing to read this kind of article. And man it sure does show that there is so much more going on in gaming than an execution of mechanics. If only more writers put games in the context of life as you did rather than reduce life to games.

    I find wargames to be the most intense kind of boardgames. I feel the stakes are higher, the pressure more intense, the theme/narrative more vivid and gripping. There were a few times when I paused briefly in 2 de Mayo to think about what it must have been like for these civilians to face a professional army that vastly outnumbered them.

    On another note, I believe (or want to believe, even when it seems completely absurd to do so) that human psychology is such that it is impossible to oppose something without in some way identifying with it.

  • avatarwolvendancer

    I've gone on much the same journey - recognizing what wars actually are (Imperialism and Mercantilism-by-the-Gun) despite what I'd always been told they were (from the Romantic ideal through cynical 'pragmatism'). Unlike you, I was a slow learner, and had to go through a number of direct experiences, including joining the Army during wartime, to get a clue. Eighteen year-olds should be discouraged from taking 'Starship Troopers' seriously.

    And while everything I learned and experienced made me anti-war, it didn't make me a pacifist. The context - oppressed vs. oppressor - means everything. On the smallest scale, I may find a bullies acts abhorent, but when, say, a battered wife finally finds the means to turn on her abuser, who wouldn't cheer?

    Finally, the suggestion that game playing - any kind of game playing - makes one a 'violent person' is laughable. Games are games. Unless you are assaulting people before, during, or after you push your chits around that hexagonal board, I think we can safely put that accusation to rest. Violent people commit violence. If you aren't, you ain't.

  • avatarjay718

    the suggestion that game playing - any kind of game playing - makes one a 'violent person' is laughable. Games are games. Unless you are assaulting people before, during, or after you push your chits around that hexagonal board, I think we can safely put that accusation to rest. Violent people commit violence. If you aren't, you ain't.

    Couldn't agree more, and I don't really see the point in likening violence in RPG's to rape. I should hope that a game like that wouldn't be popular, but I did read an article a while back about Japanese rape video games and the campaign against them. Pretty sick shit.

    I'm against war, but I'm not a pacifist. The irony wasnt lost on me when I was a teenager in DC, and all the punks would protest in front of the white house. We would also get in huge drunken brawls, sometimes all in the same day. Thankfully my days of fighting for kicks are long past, but unfortunately violence still rears it's head from time to time, especially when you work at a rowdy rock-n-roll bar.

    one cannot, ultimately, disconnect the activity of prosecuting warfare with its results and in those results the misery and woe inflicted on untold millions of innocents far outweighs the emotional satisfaction gained by participants, many of whom were willing volunteers. And so, ultimately, I remain a pacifist, albeit one who has succumbed to the lure of the military dream.

    War is hell, and for me, wargames (the few that I play) are more about the intricicies of command and tactics than inflicting death and destruction, getting violence out of my system, or succumbing to a military dream. For death and destruction I prefer games in more of an AT vein. And if I really have some shit I need to get out, I'll bike a bunch of laps at the park, or work a heavy bag for a while. As long as you get it out somehow. Enjoyed the article man, lot to think about.

  • avatarmjl1783
    Quote:
    I don't believe Pacifism is "horseshit" but I suspect it is better defined as the opinion that violence is a choice of absolute last resort, and then only in self defence.

    In other words, the opinion of any non-sociopath. Some people may part company with you as to whether or not certain solutions are viable alternatives to violence, and even you would probably extend your definition to include the defense of others, but most people would fit this definition in principle.

    Pacifism is horseshit because, when you water the definition down to the point where it's actually not a ridiculous philosophy, you're just describing normal behavior.

    Quote:
    I don't buy this at all. Replace "playing RPGs" with "watching films" and see if your arguments still stack up.

    Apples and oranges. Games are participatory, movies are not. Games reward the player, movies don't. Even so, you really don't think somebody who gets off on rape porn at least has some predilection for the act itself?

    Quote:
    Unless you are assaulting people before, during, or after you push your chits around that hexagonal board, I think we can safely put that accusation to rest. Violent people commit violence. If you aren't, you ain't.

    I hear ya', buddy. I mean, just because I like to play KZ Manager doesn't mean I'm a neo-Nazi or anti-Semite. After all, I've never personally run a concentration camp or gassed a Jew, I just find it amusing to pretend to do those things on my computer.

    I mean, some people might say that whether or not I actually did those things myself, it'd take a real sick fuck to find that kind of thing fun, probably a sick fuck who doesn't have that much of a problem with those things being done in the first place, but it's all pretend, right?

    Quote:
    Couldn't agree more, and I don't really see the point in likening violence in RPG's to rape.

    The point is, if you're seeking out vicarious violence (you did choose this violent game over plenty of non-violent alternatives), you've got a taste for violence. You may not have the stomach for the real-world variety, but you're excited and amused by depictions of it.

    Quote:
    I should hope that a game like that wouldn't be popular, but I did read an article a while back about Japanese rape video games and the campaign against them. Pretty sick shit.

    What's so sick about it? They're just games. You're not actually doing anything.

  • avatarwolvendancer

    MJL:

    One last time, and I'll go very slowly for you, OK? To be 'violent', one must do violence, i.e., cause physical harm via a personal exertion of force. If one is not in the habit of committing violence, one cannot be said to be violent. This is tautological, and it is very sad that it has to spelled out. Twice. In your zeal to prove some vague philosophical point (and I use the term loosely), you seem willing to ignore the very definitions of the words you are using.

    Your point seems to be that simulated violence can provide a rush. Does this strike you as something that most people don't know? But we are not talking about the latest FPS shooter here. Whatever 'violence' there is in, say, Washington's War is so abstracted, the 'camera' so panned-out, that you really have to strain to insert any bloody-mindedness.

    You've drawn exactly the opposite conclusion that you ought to. The fact of the matter is this: that, when the umbrage and blood and violence and nastiness are removed from war and it is allowed to be abstracted (in a million different ways) - when we pretend it is a contest between two nearly omniscient minds - war becomes a game. It is transformed from a thing with gamelike qualities into something else entirely, and it is that something else that wargamers are fond of. Do some engage in puerile power-fantasies about burning down villages? Probably. Probably some Civil War gamers fantasize about putting Blacky in his place while they play, too. I've never met these people.

    The stress in wargame is on game, not on war. The war has left the building.

  • avatardan daly
    Quote:
    "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.

    " -Winston Churchill*

    This is the truth. Pacifists, as well as everybody else can only exist because others are ready to fight for them.

    Another applicable quote is what else Sherman said beyond the oft quote "War is hell"

    Quote:
    "You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace."

    Again, the warrior does more to promote peace than any philosophizing spectator.

    I am NOT saying violence is good. I will say violence is not always bad. War is horrible, but there are things worse, that require it sometimes. Anyone who says violence never solved anything is a moron.

    *The same or similar quotes are often attributed to George Orwell as well.

  • avatarjay718

    Pretty great quotes Dan. MJL, I assume you're being sarcastic about not seeing anything wrong with a video game in which your character stalks a schoolgirl through a train station before hopefully catching and raping her. Ditto with a game simulating the workings of a concentration camp. If you're not, then you are the exception to the rule, and you are a sick and violent person who should either be locked up or exterminated.

  • avatarufe

    Pacifism is horseshit because, when you water the definition down to the point where it's actually not a ridiculous philosophy, you're just describing normal behavior.

    Amd MJL pretty much summed up everything I was going to say.

    I went to a Quacker school, so have run in to more than a few "pacifists" in my day (hell, would have probably used the work to describe myself at some point too). What I found was that most everyone will admit they would use violence in certain self defense situations (ie normal person not requiring a lable) or were batshit insane peacetards who are apparently OK with all manor of attrocities being committed as long as they themselves are not being asked to intervene with violent means. Well, then there's also the collectivist/statist/communist whatever you wanna call them hypocrites who think it's alright for an agent of the state (police and what have you) to intervene using violence on their behalf, but not OK for an individual to use violence.

    So in short, yes, pacifism is BS.

    And wolvendancer, thank you for your service.

  • avatarJeff White
    Quote:
    MJL, I assume you're being sarcastic about not seeing anything wrong with a video game in which your character stalks a schoolgirl through a train station before hopefully catching and raping her. Ditto with a game simulating the workings of a concentration camp. If you're not, then you are the exception to the rule, and you are a sick and violent person who should either be locked up or exterminated.

    He was being sarcastic and I think the point was missed.

    I read that he was drawing the double standard that has been laid down. If it's laughable that playing violent games has an affect on you or speak to a part of you, then why would rape or concentration camp games? Like Wolvendancer said "games are games".

    He'll be able to state better than I, but he wasn't agreeing with the content of the games only pointing out the error in logic.

  • avatarSchweig!

    "So, the whole concept of pacifism is mostly horseshit in my view."

    "So in short, yes, pacifism is BS."

    I'm a pacifist and I guess this is going to get ugly, but I'll try my best.

    First off pacifism is opposition to using violence in order to solve problems. The idea of pacifism was mostly shaped by ex-soldiers after the Great War and is deeply rooted in Anti-Nationalism, e.g. as presented in Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front", what gives me (the protagonist - Paul Bäumer) the right to kill a French typesetter. Pacifists back then were soldiers who for whatever reason are unable to kill enemy soldiers.

    The argument used to confront pacifists "Would you not defend yourself against a murderer, and if you did would it be against your codex of pacifism?", suffers from two flaws. a) Pacifism does not prohibit violence when no other alternatives exist. b) Pacifism cannot be simply refuted with this example because the situation would not occur if the idea was implemented universally. Otherwise everything could be refuted, e.g. "So you believe in gravity, huh, what would you think if you saw an apple falling upwards?"

    The other argument that bothers me is "You can only afford the luxury of being a pacifists because other people defend your freedom", which usually comes from American patriots. Apart from the fact that Americans haven't fought for the liberty of Americans since 1783, pacifism is not a luxury, you do not gain anything from it. The only legitimate criticism of pacifism is that it's anti-patriotic, i.e. a pacifist would not fight for a nation's ideals. A pacifist might serve in the army as a medic, but certainly not kill anyone of their ideals.

    Another important point is that aggressiveness directed at a human being almost always leads to this person also becoming aggressive. Surveys conducted in both world wars should that only the minority of soldiers were so called "natural born killers", i.e. people who would actively engage in combat. Army staff also figured out a way to increase that number, by exposing recruits to even more physical and specifically mental punishment than before. The only way to tackle violence is by increasing wealth and restraining from totalitarian violence (police, education) as much as possible.

    FYI I was drafted at 17 and as stupid as I was back then I would have joined a fighting arm of the army (a paratrooper which was sent to Afghanistan the third time now IIRC), but was saved only by an Asthma diagnosis which was conducted after the army's fitness test, in which I did very well. If I ended up down in that hell I would be much more of a pacifist now than I already am. (Or dead.)

    Yes, I play wargames but calling me a violent person because of that is ridiculous. I don't even kill flies, I catch them and throw em out the window. I'm certainly a lot more relaxed than in my youth when I played FPSs and I did not consider myself a pacifist back then. When I play a wargame I don't see soldiers I have to kill, I see strength points and movement points, patterns and problems. I like solving these problems. Furthermore, when playing D&D I used to play the exalted characters from the Book of Exalted Deeds. I also enjoy anti-war books (Svejk, Catch-22, ...) but not because of the killing but because I draw entertainment from the absurdity of human nature. (Which is probably reprehensible, but also why I like arguing with mjl1783.)

  • avatarDeath and Taxis

    Pacifism is horseshit because, when you water the definition down to the point where it's actually not a ridiculous philosophy, you're just describing normal behavior.

    This is a key point because I think the definition of pacifism gets really miscontrued by many. Pacifism is often perceived to be the extreme end of the peace-violence scale, but I think it more accurately describes what MJL is referring to as normal behaviour, i.e. pacifism is the belief that conflict can and should be settled by non-violent means.

    I consider myself a pacifist, but would defend myself and others if threatened. I don't believe the true meaning of pacifism means one should lay down and die in the face of physical threat in order to remain non-violent. In fact, I would consider this to be irrational and disturbing behaviour.

    I believe equally that as reasoning, civilized creatures we alone of all the living things on the planet have the capacity to rise above our genetic programming and make rational choices such as: it's better not to fight.

    This spoke to me.

    I choose not to commit violent acts against any person, but readily acknowledge that I have aggressive impulses which I put down to genetic programming. And I assume it's these aggressive impulses that permit me to enjoy watching action movies, pro-wrestling and contact sport, and playing board games which abstract violent acts. But these impulses do not control my actions out there in the real world. If anything, my mind allows me to control my impulses, suppressing them and exerting them as required.


  • avatarjay718

    He was being sarcastic and I think the point was missed.


    Thats what I figured. You never know though, there's some sick peole out there, and some of them are on the interweb...

    I agree with much of your post Schweig, especially the 'irefutabilty' arguument. I get into it with people all the time about gun control. A lot of my friends think everyone should be able to arm themselves to level the playing field as it were. The cops and criminals have guns, why can't I? I would prefer to live in a place whereno-one had guns, and I didn't need to have one in order to feel safe. Field can't get much more level than that.

    I will disagree with your statement on American patriotism however. Refering back to the Churchill quote that Dan posted, American armed forces have been at the ready to fight for their people since their inception. The fact that they're there at all serves as a deterrent to foreign invaders, and allow many to sleep easy (well, easier anyway) at night. Even if you don't think the war back in the 40's was relevent to American liberty, the families who lost people at Pearl Harbour might see things a little differently. So would the prisoners who were freed from concentration camps, and who went on to become American citizens like the few surviving members of my fathers side of the family.

  • avatarInfinityMax

    Interesting discussion of pacifism. Personally, I am so completely not a pacifist. I maintain that there are very few problems that cannot be solved with a proper application of violence. I'm not suggesting that violence is great, simply that it is, on occasion, an excellent way to cut through the bullshit and get something done. The reason I am not more violent is simply because I don't want to go to jail. Were it not for legal repercussions, I can think of a short list of people to whom I would have gladly done considerable bodily harm, and not felt even a little guilty afterward.

    One of the most ridiculous things anyone ever says is, 'violence never solves anything.' Bullshit. Violence solves plenty of things. That school bully routinely stealing your lunch money? One dose of violence will clear that right up. Some tweaky germ taking liberties with your daughter? Just apply some violence, and he'll know to pick on some other man's little girl.

    I know that makes me sound like a monster, and maybe I am, and maybe I'm not very apologetic about it. Violence may be abhorrent to a lot of people, but it sure is useful. Nobody likes pain, and a willingness to dish a little is awfully persuasive. But let's be honest for a second. If you had to choose between a game where the theme was shooting aliens, and one where you planted corn, and both had the exact same mechanics, which would be more fun? For most of us, it's the aliens, because on some visceral, primal level, violence is more entertaining than farming.

    In fact, I think this speaks to the point about rape. Rape is not fun. Rape is not entertainment. Rape is disturbing and dehumanizing. We don't want to play games about rape, because if you find rape entertaining, then there's something very wrong with you. If you find face-punching entertaining, then you're human. Hell, I love getting into bar fights (though I haven't been in a brawl in more than ten years). Even if you lose, it's still fun (assuming nobody is permanently damaged, because if that happens, then you did it wrong). I have no interest in committing a rape, and even less interest in being the recipient. So I think comparing rape or death camps to violence is a completely invalid point.

    Of course, on the topic of violence, I'm really glad a lot of people don't agree with me. Because as much as I would love to see a lot of people take an extraordinarily painful ass-kicking, I also think there are plenty of people out there who would be delighted to turn that around and deliver such an ass-kicking to me. The fact is, society works a lot better when we don't resort to whooping the shit out of each other whenever the opportunity arises.

    But I'm still not a pacifist.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu

    Schweig sums it all up nicely for me.

    O also run into a similar mental battle over environmentalism vs engineering. I am all for protecting the environment, but get sucked into watching a program about the engineering marvels of constructing a large dam. My problem is that I appreciate intelligent decision making regardless of the context of the problem.

  • avatarjay718

    In fact, I think this speaks to the point about rape. Rape is not fun. Rape is not entertainment. Rape is disturbing and dehumanizing. We don't want to play games about rape, because if you find rape entertaining, then there's something very wrong with you. If you find face-punching entertaining, then you're human. Hell, I love getting into bar fights (though I haven't been in a brawl in more than ten years). Even if you lose, it's still fun (assuming nobody is permanently damaged, because if that happens, then you did it wrong). I have no interest in committing a rape, and even less interest in being the recipient. So I think comparing rape or death camps to violence is a completely invalid point.

    This is exactly the point I wanted to make, but I couldn't find a way to say it. Good job.

  • avatarmjl1783
    Quote:
    MJL, I assume you're being sarcastic about not seeing anything wrong with a video game in which your character stalks a schoolgirl through a train station before hopefully catching and raping her. Ditto with a game simulating the workings of a concentration camp.

    Obviously I was.

    Nevertheless, those games do exist, and I think it requires some pretty elaborate mental gymnastics to argue that the people who make and play them don't regard those crimes with a permissive eye. At the very least, I think it's a pretty safe bet that their attitude towards rape or Dachau isn't one of total revulsion.

    Quote:
    If you're not, then you are the exception to the rule, and you are a sick and violent person...

    The arbitrary rule that says one can be both opposed violence of any kind and enjoy engaging in it vicariously, but cannot do the same with things which are actually repulsive to you.

    Quote:
    Your point seems to be that simulated violence can provide a rush. Does this strike you as something that most people don't know?

    My point is that simulated violence is violence. It's the mildest form of violence I can imagine, but you're still attempting to cause injury (non-physical, of course, which, by the way, the word "violence" does not exclude) to your opponent through the use of force. Simulated violence provides a rush because most people have natural violent tendencies. I think that's certainly tautological.

    Perhaps violent games (or games that feature violence, apparently we can't call the games themselves violent since they don't physically injure people) are a good thing since they provide a non-destructive outlet for these tendencies. Can we say the same thing of rape and death camps? Would you?

    If not, why not?

  • avatarmjl1783
    Quote:
    The argument used to confront pacifists "Would you not defend yourself against a murderer, and if you did would it be against your codex of pacifism?", suffers from two flaws. a) Pacifism does not prohibit violence when no other alternatives exist.

    There is an alternative in this example: you die. Why should violence be used for self-preservation? What makes your life more valuable than that of your murderer?

    Quote:
    b) Pacifism cannot be simply refuted with this example because the situation would not occur if the idea was implemented universally.

    Well, you just did a good enough job of refuting it.

    If an ideology needs to be universally implemented before it can function, that's a pretty sure sign that it's useless for any practical purpose. This is especially true in the case of pacifism as you're describing it, since unlike other utopian ideologies, you can't simply imprison or eliminate people who refuse to adopt your views.

  • avatarSchweig!

    All that is needed to defend a nation is a doomsday device, i.e. enough intimidation/military so that nobody would even consider attacking the country. (Sort of like Switzerland.) Violence has seldom in history not led to more violence. Old Germans don't fancy the Russians but respect the Americans, simply because they handed out candy, rebuilt the country and did not change the societal structure much. (Which was a mistake, but just imagine what all NSDAP members would have done if they lost their jobs. They probably would have established terror organisations like the taliban.) I think Willy Brandt was the first German politician to thank the Soviet Union for defeating Nazi Germany. Willy was a pacifist and deserted from Germany.

    About the holocaust: German Jews started fleeing from Nazi oppression in the 30s but neither did any nation want to shelter them, nor did any nation join the second world war to end the Nazi genocide (except for the few Israelis (Yishuv) maybe who fought for the British and Free French). I'm all for intervening in case of a genocide, but such intervention has never occurred in history. I also don't know how to tackle regimes which are oppressing its people, else I wouldn't discuss pacifism on a board game site. But I think it has been proven in the last years that invading them doesn't work.

  • avatarSchweig!

    "There is an alternative in this example: you die. Why should violence be used for self-preservation? What makes your life more valuable than that of your murderer?"

    Who says you're supposed to kill the attacker as self-defence?

    "If an ideology needs to be universally implemented before it can function, that's a pretty sure sign that it's useless for any practical purpose. This is especially true in the case of pacifism as you're describing it, since unlike other utopian ideologies, you can't simply imprison or eliminate people who refuse to adopt your views."

    Maybe you haven't heard but murderers are actually imprisoned and even eliminated in some barbaric countries.

    I'm just saying that the catch-22 with the murderer example is actually solved if everyone adhered to pacifism. All human morality is meant to be universal. Take deceit for example, we know it's not right to lie, but we still do it, in games, small talk or during job interviews. Parents even lie to their children. This doesn't make deceit right, neither proves it that being truthful is wrong.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    But I think it has been proven in the last years that invading them doesn't work.


    It does in the right circumstances. Australia basically invaded East Timor in 1999 after the majority of its citizens requested they do so (militia from Indonesia had crossed the border and instituted a reign of terror) and it is one of the rare circumstances where a military intervention has been highly successful. The reason it worked was that a) the citizens of East Timor wanted it and b) Australia had no intention of exploiting the country and merely wanted to do the right thing by its neighbour. It always sticks in my mind as it is the only time I have ever seen pretty much universal support for a military action in my lifetime.

  • avatarSchweig!

    Good example. I haven't yet heard of this intervention.

  • avatarufe

    I get into it with people all the time about gun control. A lot of my friends think everyone should be able to arm themselves to level the playing field as it were. The cops and criminals have guns, why can't I? I would prefer to live in a place whereno-one had guns, and I didn't need to have one in order to feel safe. Field can't get much more level than that.

    Good luck finding that place. Great Britain has pretty much banned guns (you can get permits for long guns but handguns are verboten) but crime has continued to rise. And the bad dudes still get guns. Not to mention the fact that removing guns in no way "levels the playing field." That just puts us at the level of animals where the strong rule the weak. Care to put your wife/gf in the cage with one of those 'roided up UFC dudes? They would be on a level playing field without those scary guns, no?

    The gun is civilization (short article, I promise)
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1850156/posts

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu

    In the end the military intervention in East Timor had some pretty bad outcomes. A lot of teenagers joined up because the intervention was so popular and they ended up getting shipped to Iraq and they ended up fighting in a different war to the one they joined up for.

    This is why I get angry with the position that a lot of pacifists take of "We are not against the soldiers, we are against the war". I am in complete opposition to anyone who takes up arms to fight in a war I oppose. They are just as culpable as the politicians who instigated it, as they are the ones doing the actual killing. If you are willing to kill someone, you better damn well be educated enough in the conflict to know why you are doing so. "Just following orders" is a defence that has not held water since the Nuremberg trials.

  • avatarMad Malthus

    Pacifism as a general opposition to violence:
    Fails to recognize, through ignorance or cowardice, fundamental reality - a) this world is conditioned; the creation, preservation and nurture of life explicitly requires the consumption of resources. b) resources in this world are limited. Thus the universal application of this brand of pacifism is only possible under non-corporeal circumstances (i.e. heaven).

    Pacifism as opposition to "patriotic" violence:
    What is gained through pacifism is the selfish continuation of life at the expense of another. Thus, it's a luxury under certain conditions. The rest is only an argument over extents. See above.

    As for Americans not having fought for the liberty of Americans since 1783, that's simply not factual:

    1846-48:
    Texans (Americans) fought for their liberty.

    1861-65:
    The USA fought against the liberty of their countrymen, and arguably in defense of the liberty of slaves.
    The CSA fought in defense of their own liberty, and un-arguably to deny the liberty of their slaves.

    1917-18:
    The Great War took on the dimension of an ideological conflict, with liberal democracy (France, England, USA) in conflict with the overtly anti-democratic central powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary). It's safe to say a victory by the central powers would mean a commensurate loss of power for the liberal democracies around the globe. It's an abstract argument, but only invalidated through ignorance, rhetorical dishonesty, or an attack on the validity of the liberal-democratic states in question.

    1941-45:
    America was attacked by Imperial Japan, immediately followed by a declaration of war by Germany. How is that not a defense of American liberty? Hawaii was/is US soil. Is it only a defense of one's liberty if the invader is literally at your front door?

    What is it with Germans and absolutism? Reminds me of the Baader-Meinhof gang: miserable leftists committed to acts of terrorism in pursuit of an absolutist ideology (Marxism). Why? So as to avoid the mythical mistakes of their parents, who... committed acts of terrorism in pursuit of an absolutists ideology (Nazism). Can't the krauts ever just be half-assed about politics? The world (and this forum) would be a better place.


  • avatarjay718

    This is why I get angry with the position that a lot of pacifists take of "We are not against the soldiers, we are against the war". I am in complete opposition to anyone who takes up arms to fight in a war I oppose. They are just as culpable as the politicians who instigated it, as they are the ones doing the actual killing. If you are willing to kill someone, you better damn well be educated enough in the conflict to know why you are doing so. "Just following orders" is a defence that has not held water since the Nuremberg trials.

    If someone signs up specificaly because they want to go fight and kill, then I'm with you. I don't know how it works in Australia, but the American miliary provides training and oppurtunities for people who wouldn't get them otherwise. Not everyone can afford college, or even trade school. The military offers money for college, money to buy a home, job training, and a million other things that are out of reach for most Americans. Unfortunately there's the occasional war, but then again nothings free in this country.

    A buddy of mine from high school did four years in the navy and learned how to be a helicopter mechanic. He makes a ridiculous amount of money now. Two other marines I know are helicopter pilots, and one of them's retiring with full pension at 38 this year. He too can write his own ticket. One of my best friends just got back from Afganistan, and he's in line to be a physicians assistant. The last job he had before entering the service was a bicycle messenger.

    Saying that a soldier is just as culpable as the politicians, and assuming that they're uneducated about the conflict they're serving in is just plain stupid and disrespectful.

  • avatarwolvendancer

    I believe equally that as reasoning, civilized creatures we alone of all the living things on the planet have the capacity to rise above our genetic programming and make rational choices such as: it's better not to fight.

    Well, given that we're the only species to wage war, and given that almost all types of inter-species violence that other mammals get around to generally revolves around simple game theory (a lot of sound and fury, signifying very little), I'm not sure we're trying to rise above anything but ourselves.

    A question for the Pacifists: an invading Imperial power invades your country/land/home, sets up a puppet government, begins killing people, stealing things, and generally being oppressive and nasty. They aren't going away. What do you do? Keep in mind that 'nonviolent protest' sounds all well and good, until you realize it really only worked for one guy in one place (as cool as he was), and that violent resistance seems like a much safer bet to get results. It can even be persuasively argued that 'non-violent protest' serves only to prolong struggles and gain 'victory' when victory had already been determined.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    Good luck finding that place. Great Britain has pretty much banned guns (you can get permits for long guns but handguns are verboten) but crime has continued to rise. And the bad dudes still get guns. Not to mention the fact that removing guns in no way "levels the playing field." That just puts us at the level of animals where the strong rule the weak. Care to put your wife/gf in the cage with one of those 'roided up UFC dudes? They would be on a level playing field without those scary guns, no?


    You seriously believe that?

    Civilization has existed for a long time, and it only existed from the point we decided that only a small portion of the population would be armed and that they would only act in accordance with appropriate rules to protect the weak from those who would exploit them. The majority of civilians in ancient Greece did not feel the need to wander the streets carrying swords and they did pretty well for themselves.

    I don't see a major problem with criminals here in Australia and only once in my life have I ever known a situation where someone carrying a gun might have been better off. My brother's friend was stabbed to death by someone having a psychotic break and I really doubt any guns would have made a difference as it was a surprise attack. However the possibility of having a gun in my house scares me to death. My father has a samurai sword his father had taken from a Japanese soldier in WW2, and even though he tried to hide it when we were growing up, we kept finding it and it was a continued object of fascination for us. We are lucky we never tried to play with it, but it was always a possibility.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    Saying that a soldier is just as culpable as the politicians, and assuming that they're uneducated about the conflict they're serving in is just plain stupid and disrespectful.


    Why is it stupid and disrespectful?

    I don't assume they are uneducated about the conflict, but really hope they are, because if you are killing someone you better damn well know why. To me, going to a foreign country and fighting in a war you don't understand is pretty disrespectful to both sides in the conflict. I have no problem with being in the military and I understand the opportunities it offers to people, but I have a big problem with people fighting wars I don't agree with. The reason the soldier is in some way more culpable than a politician is that they have more power over the situation, in spite of the fact that they don't see it. Imagine if every American soldier refused to be shipped to Iraq when that war started. That is incredible political power, but soldiers don't think to (and are trained not to) use it.

  • avatarSchweig!

    The points you mention are not "fundamental reality", well a) is but most of the resources are either available in infinite quantity (including energy from renewable sources), or can be recycled to last at least a few thousand more years (like steel). However, if your life depends upon driving a car propelled by oil, then yes, this "fundamental reality" is true for you.

    "What is gained through pacifism is the selfish continuation of life at the expense of another."

    Wow, completely ridiculous. Tell me at whose expense I'm continuing my life. I certainly don't depend on anyone killing Afghan farmers in my name. This interpretation of pacifism is probably only true for Mafia bosses and similar people.

    Americans liberating Americans. For the Texan Revolution this is technically true, but it should be noted that the American Texans settled on Mexican territory. The goal of the American Civil War was to uphold (or secede from) the Union, abolitionism triggered the war but was not the goal. I think one must be quite paranoid to assume the USA were in danger of invasion during the two World Wars. Don't get me wrong though, many people, myself included, are happy about the USA's entrance into the war.

    My point is, intervention can be good, but I would never expect or force anyone (like my fellow countrymen) to do it for me.

    "Can't the krauts ever just be half-assed about politics? The world (and this forum) would be a better place."

    Yeah, it's in my genes..... Seriously, what the fuck!? I was just voicing my opinion here. I didn't tell anyone what do to. If you hate Germans so much, let me know and I will make sure our paths won't cross again in the future.

  • avatarSchweig!

    "A question for the Pacifists: [...]"

    Well, I guess a rebellion won't just need people to fight. So I would join a rebellion force as a medic. Or I could write liberation propaganda because I'm obviously so good at it with the totalitarian Nazi blood running through my veins.

  • avatarwolvendancer

    The majority of civilians in ancient Greece did not feel the need to wander the streets carrying swords and they did pretty well for themselves.

    I don't necessarily disagree with your conclusions, Ancient, but what you wrote is extraordinarily bad history, including the above. 'We' did not decide in Ye Olden Times to arm a portion of our citizenry - every part of the sentence is wrong. Organized armed conflict comes about via herding cultures, because land (for grazing) suddenly becomes something to be fought over and gained. Ancient Greece was the time of the citizen-warrior, where, umm, every citizen was indeed tasked with having an aspis and spear in the house for use in wartime. And professional armies don't emerge until the late middle ages, when an emergent middle class begins to erode concepts of vassalage, and the upper class begins to realize that it makes far more sense to pay some mercs to fulfill their oaths to their liege rather than have to do the bloody business themselves.

    As for soldiers and responsibility, I believe every man must be accountable for his or her actions. What I tell prospective recruits nowadays is this: do you trust your government and the people in power enough to give away the most basic decision a human being can make - whether to kill someone, and whom to kill? Yes, most 1st-world societies are now structured to funnel the poor into the military. But people still have a choice.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    I don't necessarily disagree with your conclusions, Ancient, but what you wrote is extraordinarily bad history, including the above. 'We' did not decide in Ye Olden Times to arm a portion of our citizenry - every part of the sentence is wrong. Organized armed conflict comes about via herding cultures, because land (for grazing) suddenly becomes something to be fought over and gained. Ancient Greece was the time of the citizen-warrior, where, umm, every citizen was indeed tasked with having an aspis and spear in the house for use in wartime. And professional armies don't emerge until the late middle ages, when an emergent middle class begins to erode concepts of vassalage, and the upper class begins to realize that it makes far more sense to pay some mercs to fulfill their oaths to their liege rather than have to do the bloody business themselves.


    True, I wrote that without really thinking, as I get a bit worked up when people start arguing it is for the betterment of society if everyone is armed, when the opposite has largely proved to be the case throughout history.

  • avatarHatchling

    "The majority of civilians in ancient Greece did not feel the need to wander the streets carrying swords and they did pretty well for themselves."

    "Ancient Greece was the time of the citizen-warrior, where, umm, every citizen was indeed tasked with having an aspis and spear in the house for use in wartime."

    There was a time when I was toying with the idea of making a political boardgame about 4 BC Athens after I stumbled upon research on popular violence at that time. Police powers were generalized, arguments were decided by fisticuffs, and "might made right". If someone was beaten up by a gang of drunkards, it was customary (and lawful, even "moral") to gather up a group of your own and take revenge. If instead of that the victim took the matter to the courts, most of the time the judge/jury would would rule in favour of the stronger party, which would expose the victim to even more danger from other groups looking to steal property or people or sex etc. Sometimes the weaker party could make the charge of "hubris" stick, and it would then be open season on the bullies. But that was an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. The so-called origin of democracy was internecine rivalry among gangs.

  • avatarmikoyan

    Yeah...Switzerland is a perfect example of a pacifist country. Never mind that they benefited immensely from certain actions by certain dictators...."Oh yeah, we merely found all this gold and was going to return it to its rightful owners when quite suddenly we found they were all dead....". And even today they reiterate that example as they refuse to extradite a man who raped a thirteen year old girl. I guess all's fair in love and war as long as you can pay enough money to keep your bank account secret.

  • avatarJeff White
    Quote:
    for the Texan Revolution this is technically true, but it should be noted that the American Texans settled on Mexican territory.

    at the request of the Mexican government. Big difference than the 'invasion' that is implied in this statement.

  • avatarmjl1783

    Who says you're supposed to kill the attacker as self-defence?

    I do, for the purpose of this argument. But whatever, I'll grant your point for now.

    There still is an alternative, yes? You dying is an alternative to using violence for self-defense. In fact, submitting to the demands of anyone who imposes their will upon you, and will not respond to any incentive to do otherwise that doesn't involve the use of force, is always an option for the pacifist, isn't it?

    So, aren't we then talking about violence being allowed only when no acceptable alternative exists? If this is the case, we really are simply talking about behavior non-sociopathic behavior. In other words, nothing particularly out of the ordinary.

    I think if those things are true, we have to say that the word "pacifism," at least as it's commonly used, is a pretty hollow, meaningless term.

    Maybe you haven't heard but murderers are actually imprisoned and even eliminated in some barbaric countries.

    But not people who injure, or even kill burglars or armed robbers.

    I'm just saying that the catch-22 with the murderer example is actually solved if everyone adhered to pacifism.

    I know that. I'm just saying that if something so unrealistic needs to happen for the idea to pass even the most basic common sense test, strict adherence to it is not a viable way to live your life.

    All human morality is meant to be universal.

    Not all human morality requires universal acceptance in order for it to be practiced safely.

    Take deceit for example, we know it's not right to lie, but we still do it, in games, small talk or during job interviews. Parents even lie to their children. This doesn't make deceit right, neither proves it that being truthful is wrong.

    What it proves is that it's nearly impossible to get through life without doing it, so with very few exceptions, anyone who claims to be opposed to lying unless no alternative exists is full_of_shit. And besides, the truth often does more harm than a lie, so lying is not always wrong.

  • avatarwolvendancer

    There was a time when I was toying with the idea of making a political boardgame about 4 BC Athens after I stumbled upon research on popular violence at that time. Police powers were generalized, arguments were decided by fisticuffs, and "might made right". If someone was beaten up by a gang of drunkards, it was customary (and lawful, even "moral") to gather up a group of your own and take revenge. If instead of that the victim took the matter to the courts, most of the time the judge/jury would would rule in favour of the stronger party, which would expose the victim to even more danger from other groups looking to steal property or people or sex etc. Sometimes the weaker party could make the charge of "hubris" stick, and it would then be open season on the bullies. But that was an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. The so-called origin of democracy was internecine rivalry among gangs.

    Very true, though the 'gangs' here (Genos and Phratry) are societally-recognized kinship and quasi-professional groups. It doesn't change much in Rome, either, where the only police running around are various military groups, and then only some of the time. 'The Rule of Law' is an invention specific to a very particular time and place, to control the populace more effectively, as it always ends up benefiting those in power more than the rest of the rabble. A game set in either Ancient Rome or Greece, concerning the power plays of the various contentious groups, has the potential to be pretty great.

  • avatarSchweig!

    Entering circular discussion mode in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

    "at the request of the Mexican government. Big difference than the 'invasion' that is implied in this statement."

    No 'invasion' implied. No difference.

    - - -

    "But whatever, I'll grant your point for now."

    Until the end of your comment? It was nice while it lasted!

    The problem with the murderer argument is that it is always used to refute pacifism by saying dying at the hands of the killer is the only option, and therefore pacifism is pretty stupid. Whether death of the pacifist is one of many options doesn't prove anything, so I don't understand what point you are trying to get across here.

    "I think if those things are true, we have to say that the word "pacifism," at least as it's commonly used, is a pretty hollow, meaningless term."

    No. Apparently you think pacifism means something like not punching people on a regular basis. If you're trying to argue over a definition with me I'll quit right here and now because such debates never lead to anything.

    "I'm just saying that if something so unrealistic needs to happen for the idea to pass even the most basic common sense test, strict adherence to it is not a viable way to live your life."

    It is not the "most basic common sense test"! I don't know, maybe Americans get assaulted by assassins on a daily basis, but this has never happened to me in the slightest. So to me this test is about as constructed as it gets. A "most basic common sense test" would be, how to react if a drunkard wants to pick a fight with you, or how to react if someone insults you on the street. Here I almost never experienced the offended person to remain calm but instead had to be hold back by bystanders. (If your experience differs than you might not have grown up in such a bad-ass American neighbourhood after all.) Or, how about: "Do you play paintball?" A pacifist wouldn't.

    "anyone who claims to be opposed to lying unless no alternative exists is full_of_shit"

    Only "full_of_shit" if faced with a question like: "What would you do if you had the chance between dying and lying?" or asking a Vegetarian "Would you rather die or eat meat?". Survival is a human instinct and it will always come before morality. This does in no way imply that all morality is worthless.

  • avatarmjl1783

    A "most basic common sense test" would be, how to react if a drunkard wants to pick a fight with you, or how to react if someone insults you on the street. Here I almost never experienced the offended person to remain calm but instead had to be hold back by bystanders.

    It's pretty common in Europe for fistfights to break out over a mere insult, is it? I doubt that's the case, but if it is, maybe you need to back off the Americans.

  • avatardan daly
    Quote:
    ...
    Yeah...Switzerland is a perfect example of a pacifist country. Never mind that they benefited immensely from certain actions by certain dictators...."Oh yeah, we merely found all this gold and was going to return it to its rightful owners when quite suddenly we found they were all dead....". And even today they reiterate that example as they refuse to extradite a man who raped a thirteen year old girl. I guess all's fair in love and war as long as you can pay enough money to keep your bank account secret.

    Also don't forget that pretty much every swiss man is required to own a gun.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Switzerland

    Not supporting either side of the "The Swiss a lovely peaceful people vs The Swiss are money grubbing profiteers" argument, but it does go agains the "having lots of guns in citizens' hands makes your society a warzone" argument that often comes up from gun control advocates.

  • avatarSchweig!

    I didn't name Switzerland as an example for a pacifist or morale country, but one which only uses its army for self-defence and successfully so.

    "It's pretty common in Europe for fistfights to break out over a mere insult, is it? I doubt that's the case, but if it is, maybe you need to back off the Americans."

    I didn't even back on the Americans, it's just the very impression I get from reading this board that the USA are a violent hell where you better arm yourself and be ready to use that weapon to survive. And, yes, fistfights do break out over insults where I grew up, which is a very rural and backwards place, where disputes are settled by stepping outside, and calling the cops is considered cowardice. Regardless of that, maybe you should conduct a field experiment, go outside and call someone an arsehole. For full effect don't try it on your suburban neighbour.

  • avatarufe

    Only "full_of_shit" if faced with a question like: "What would you do if you had the chance between dying and lying?" or asking a Vegetarian "Would you rather die or eat meat?". Survival is a human instinct and it will always come before morality. This does in no way imply that all morality is worthless

    You're right, it's not all worthless. Only morality that stands in the way of basic survival, which pacifism does, if we're not taking the watered down "normal, non-psycho people" definition.

    True, I wrote that without really thinking, as I get a bit worked up when people start arguing it is for the betterment of society if everyone is armed, when the opposite has largely proved to be the case throughout history.

    It's not really that arming everyone it better (that implies some sort of mandate or something), just that having the government decide for people whether or not they can arm themselves doesn't make for a safer society. Just look at the UK or even Australia's crime rate after the gun bans, they aren't any safer than before. And as an individual, there's no way you can convince me that I'm safer without a gun (and with education up, accidents are down, they're not complicated). That just makes no sense. And no, I've never been in a situation where I felt I'd have to use it, and hope to keep it that way.

    Here's an article about Australia's violent crime since the gun ban: basically, "gun violence" fell, other types rose.
    http://www.examiner.com/x-2879-Austin-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2009m4d8-Australia- experiencing-more-violent-crime-despite-gun-ban

  • avatarufe

    it's just the very impression I get from reading this board that the USA are a violent hell where you better arm yourself and be ready to use that weapon to survive

    Like I said, I've never needed one, and statistically speaking, probably never will. It's not so much a "why arm yourself?" but more a "why not arm yourself?" It takes hardly any effort to lug the mama jama around and training with it is fun (though can get expensive), so if you would use violence in self defense in the most extreme cases (which some "pacifists" claim they would), it makes no sense to not have the tools available to help you in that one in a million chance.

  • avatarjay718


    Why is it stupid and disrespectful?

    I don't assume they are uneducated about the conflict, but really hope they are, because if you are killing someone you better damn well know why. To me, going to a foreign country and fighting in a war you don't understand is pretty disrespectful to both sides in the conflict. I have no problem with being in the military and I understand the opportunities it offers to people, but I have a big problem with people fighting wars I don't agree with. The reason the soldier is in some way more culpable than a politician is that they have more power over the situation, in spite of the fact that they don't see it. Imagine if every American soldier refused to be shipped to Iraq when that war started. That is incredible political power, but soldiers don't think to (and are trained not to) use it.

    You hope they're uneducated, because they should know why they're fighting? That doesn't make a lot of sense. And again, you're assuming that the soldiers that are on the front line every day don't understand the war they're a part of? That's even worse than your initial statement. I understand you having a problem with people fighting wars you don't agree with. Hell, I have big problems with people that do anything I disagree with. But your arguments are flawed to say the least.

    First of all, the oppurtunities the military offers come at a price, and that price is service. You cant take all the good shit they offer, then back out when it's time to pay the piper. Your logic also states that the soldiers are just as at fault than the people who started the war simply because they essentially won't organize a large scale labor strike. Come on man, you can't really believe that! Even if one side all lay down their arms at once and tried to hug it out with the enemy, do you think the enemy would breath a sigh of relief and say "Finally, this is what we've been waiting for!" and run into their open arms? Maybe in a perfect world where there was no currency but hugs and rainbows, but not here brother. Try telling a newly returned vet that he's just as responsible for the war as the pols, then flash him a peace sign and see what happens.

  • avatarjay718

    [Good luck finding that place. Great Britain has pretty much banned guns (you can get permits for long guns but handguns are verboten) but crime has continued to rise. And the bad dudes still get guns. Not to mention the fact that removing guns in no way "levels the playing field." That just puts us at the level of animals where the strong rule the weak. Care to put your wife/gf in the cage with one of those 'roided up UFC dudes? They would be on a level playing field without those scary guns, no? /i]

    Obviously that place doesn't exist, but I don't think tooling up is the answer eiher. My point was that I'd rather live somewhere that I didn't need a gun to feel that my family was safe.

    I seriously doubt that a lack of guns would all of a sudden put us in an only the strong survive situation where the big guys pick on the little guys. Ultimate fighting is hardly an argument for guns either. Just because there's guys out there that are bigger than you and can kick your ass doesn't mean you should be able to have a gun in case they come after you or god forbid throw your wife into a cage with one of their pals.

  • avatarlj1983

    seriously, as a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan...I can disagree with the war. I can disagree with why we are going. but ultimately that's why we elect people. We elect them to make these decisions. and we have to live with them.

    I'm not sure what I should have done after september 11th. I joined up prior to. Frankly, I gave my word to serve at the orders of the commander in Chief, whose job is to decide when and were to send the military.

  • avatarufe

    Obviously that place doesn't exist, but I don't think tooling up is the answer eiher. My point was that I'd rather live somewhere that I didn't need a gun to feel that my family was safe.

    Well hit me up when you find this peaceful, violence-free place. I'd love to live there too. But since we're all stuck with the shit world we live in, hiding your head in the sand and pretending like the violent sickos don't exist, or that "it" will never happen to you, isn't a very good survival plan. A "feeling" safe and being safe are two very different things.

  • avatarjay718

    Not violence free, but gun free could be a start. I live in Brooklyn man, there aint no pretending that the sickos live here, I see them every day. And 'it' has has happened to me on several different occasions. I still don't wanna carry a gun. I just don't think I can shoot my problems away. And I still feel safer here in New York than I do in gun friendly VA or Pennsylvania where universities get shot up and Moms who carry loaded guns on their hip at their 5 year old daughters soccer games get shot. Just sayin'.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/10/08/gun.soccer.mom.dead/index.html

  • avatarufe

    That shootout here in VA (assume you're talking about Tech) happened in a "Gun Free Zone" where the sicko could be assured almost zero armed resistance. Believe me, we're working on fixing that.
    If you don't want to carry one, that's fantastic, just don't try stopping me from carrying one.

  • avatarjay718

    So universities should be armed to the teeth to make sure something like this doesn't happen again? That worked out great at Kent State. I didn't know you were from Va, and I didn't mean to touch a nerve (if indeed I did), and of course I'm not trying to stop you from doing what you want. I just don't think it makes sense that the more guns you have out there, the less violence there will be. It doesn't add up. Then again the Russians and the US kept stockpiling more and more nuclear weapons during the Cold War, and we're all still here. I tell you what though; I'll take peace of mind any day of the week over an uneasy stalemate, be it in my neighborhood or my country at large.

  • avatarufe

    I just don't think it makes sense that the more guns you have out there, the less violence there will be. It doesn't add up

    The reverse doesn't add up either (ie, places that have tried to remove guns haven't seen their crime rates drop, see UK and Australia). So just let people who haven't proved assholes in the past figure it out for themselves (whether to be armed or not). That's pretty much my stance.

    And what's with the armed to the teeth thing, like we're gonna get the NRA to hand out AKs at every university? We (SCCC and VCDL being the groups I'm associated with) just want to let adults that can carry everywhere else be allowed to carry on University grounds.

  • avatarmjl1783
    Quote:
    And, yes, fistfights do break out over insults where I grew up, which is a very rural and backwards place, where disputes are settled by stepping outside, and calling the cops is considered cowardice.

    So, does pacifism allow for you to ask others employ violence on your behalf? That's what you're doing if you call the police.

    I ask because I'm trying to figure out what, specifically, separates pacifism from the basic ethics necessary for the maintenance of civil society.

  • avatarShellhead

    I minored in Sociology in college. The last class I took for that minor was a class called War and Peace. No, it wasn't about the Tolstoy book, it was about the concepts of war and peace. The causes and effects, the impact on societies, etc.

    Anyway, the professor gave an overview of the class and walked us through the syllabus on the first day. Then he asked if there were any questions. One student from Ethiopia said that he was hoping to learn the solution to the problem of war. The professor said that we would not be studying such a solution, because there isn't one. He went on to say that "we can only deduce the concept of peace from the brief intervals between wars." The Ethiopian student dropped the class.

  • avatarjay718

    And what's with the armed to the teeth thing, like we're gonna get the NRA to hand out AKs at every university?

    I thought that was y'alls agenda. ;) Are you talking about students, faculty, security, or just any old joe with a conceal and carry patrolling the campus like David Duke did the border? And are you talking about all universities or just V Tech? Because, I dunno man, it seems like a case of 'letting the terrorists win'. As a result of an isolated incident you've got armed citizens roaming the quad? It sounds like an awful place to learn in, and I think we should strive for better. Anyway dude, I don't wanna argue the finer points of gun control with you here. I'd rather discuss games, music or other culture. You can PM me if you like.

  • avatarufe

    Nah, not patrolling, just going about their business armed, like we do everywhere else in this state. Fair enough, I'd rather discuss games and what have you as well and I think this conversation has run its course.

  • avatarPat II

    I'll just chime in quickly on the guns point. Less guns on the street equals less spur of the moment violence resulting in death or serious injury.

    We have guns in Canada - the criminals seem to have enough of them yet our murder rates due to firearms is drastically lower than in the States. Too many kids blast each other and immediately wish they hadn't. Kids robbing each other over $50 and having a shootout to resolve a poor decision is a direct result of too many guns around.

    Criminals have and always will have access to firearms and for the most part use them on each other. It's a problem when enough guns are around that when one lands in the hands of a young person with a bad attitude they feel a need to use it without much foresight.

    "Back in the day" a punch in the face was good enough to settle this sort of stupidity.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    It's not really that arming everyone it better (that implies some sort of mandate or something), just that having the government decide for people whether or not they can arm themselves doesn't make for a safer society. Just look at the UK or even Australia's crime rate after the gun bans, they aren't any safer than before. And as an individual, there's no way you can convince me that I'm safer without a gun (and with education up, accidents are down, they're not complicated). That just makes no sense. And no, I've never been in a situation where I felt I'd have to use it, and hope to keep it that way.


    Australia has not had one serious gun massacre since we banned semi-automatic handguns. The one guy who tried was disarmed by an unarmed man after killing two. There is no question that banning guns stop crimes with weapons, but the number of people injured and killed is far less in each incident as it is much harder to go on some sort of rampage with a knife.

    Quote:
    You hope they're uneducated, because they should know why they're fighting? That doesn't make a lot of sense.


    That was poorly phrased. I hope they are educated about the conflict they are fighting in, not the opposite.

    Quote:

    First of all, the opportunities the military offers come at a price, and that price is service. You cant take all the good shit they offer, then back out when it's time to pay the piper. Your logic also states that the soldiers are just as at fault than the people who started the war simply because they essentially won't organize a large scale labor strike. Come on man, you can't really believe that! Even if one side all lay down their arms at once and tried to hug it out with the enemy, do you think the enemy would breath a sigh of relief and say "Finally, this is what we've been waiting for!" and run into their open arms? Maybe in a perfect world where there was no currency but hugs and rainbows, but not here brother. Try telling a newly returned vet that he's just as responsible for the war as the pols, then flash him a peace sign and see what happens.


    It doesn't have to be large scale, but everyone has to make their own decision. I remember there was at least one junior officer who refused a second tour of duty to Iraq after he decided the war was immoral. It is also possible to talk to a returned vet in such a way as to make them question whether they should have gone in the first place without immediately getting their back up and getting the shit kicked out of you.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    seriously, as a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan...I can disagree with the war. I can disagree with why we are going. but ultimately that's why we elect people. We elect them to make these decisions. and we have to live with them.

    I'm not sure what I should have done after september 11th. I joined up prior to. Frankly, I gave my word to serve at the orders of the commander in Chief, whose job is to decide when and were to send the military.


    This is the whole damn attitude I hate. "I am just a soldier and it is not my place to question". You should always question and think about your decisions particularly when lethal force is involved. If you were ordered to go pack rape a bunch of Iraqi women I bet you would think about it and question the order, but killing a bunch of insurgents goes unquestioned. You should be thinking about why they don't like you in their country and are using armed force to resist you. Isn't this what the Americans did to the British in the war of independence? Why is one different from the other. It is your fundamental right as a soldier to question every order you receive and to decide whether it is immoral or not. As I said earlier this was the defence used in the Nuremberg trials and it was regarded as not holding any weight then.

  • avatarufe

    Australia has not had one serious gun massacre since we banned semi-automatic handguns

    It's not a question about massacres or not, those are insanely rare in any country, but according to the article I linked, violent crime is up in Australia, so while you may see less "gun crimes," the ban hasn't really made you any safer.

  • avatarjay718

    so while you may see less "gun crimes," the ban hasn't really made you any safer.

    Maybe not from dingo attacks or getting robbed or assaulted, but it certainly seems like your chances of getting shot have gone down exponentially, and that's progress that can't be argued with.


    This is the whole damn attitude I hate. "I am just a soldier and it is not my place to question". You should always question and think about your decisions particularly when lethal force is involved. If you were ordered to go pack rape a bunch of Iraqi women I bet you would think about it and question the order, but killing a bunch of insurgents goes unquestioned. You should be thinking about why they don't like you in their country and are using armed force to resist you. Isn't this what the Americans did to the British in the war of independence? Why is one different from the other. It is your fundamental right as a soldier to question every order you receive and to decide whether it is immoral or not. As I said earlier this was the defence used in the Nuremberg trials and it was regarded as not holding any weight then.

    No one's being ordered to rape people, and insurgents are bad guys. Ask anyone whose weddings been blown up or who saw their child blown to bits while watching the world cup final. It's not usually foreign troops that are being slaughtered, it's the citizenry. Also the time for questioning and thinking about your decisions is before enlisting, not after being deployed. That's what you signed up for, and you knew it. There's no 'fundamental right as a soldier to question every order.' It's not a regular job you can just quit if it's not going the way you like. Also the Nuremberg trials dealt with war atrocities, not attrition.

  • avatarufe

    How is rape being up 29.9% progress? And the US has seen a drop in violent crime during the same time period, all the while, most states are making it easier for the average citizen to get a permit to cary concealed in public. So it's not the having more or less guns that's the issue.

  • avatarSchweig!

    Crime relates to wealth; that's why there are less homicides in Switzerland even though every ex-soldier takes his assault rifle home. Banning firearms has no effect on that because they just provide an easier way of killing someone, there are alternatives. Quality of life is declining all over Europe and crime is on the rise.

    "So, does pacifism allow for you to ask others employ violence on your behalf? That's what you're doing if you call the police.

    I ask because I'm trying to figure out what, specifically, separates pacifism from the basic ethics necessary for the maintenance of civil society."

    Well I have never called the police, so I again don't understand what you're aiming at here. Even if I did call them, chances are pretty low they would kill or harm anyone for my sake. A pacifist is someone who for example avoids military service. You don't have a draft in the USA any more, so I guess that's why you can't relate to this notion. Of course not beating people up is civil law but pacifism is more than that. It's going to a peace rally, not practising violence for pleasure (hunting, boxing - things that are accepted by the social norm) etc.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    How is rape being up 29.9% progress? And the US has seen a drop in violent crime during the same time period, all the while, most states are making it easier for the average citizen to get a permit to cary concealed in public. So it's not the having more or less guns that's the issue.


    Reported rape is up, but as to whether actual rape is up is a huge question for debate. For example date rapes get reported now whereas 10-20 years ago they weren't. When I was at school there were at least 2 instances in my school of teachers having sex with students, and the teachers were fired but not charged. Now teachers having sex with students get charged as the attitude to this behaviour has changed. Using sex crimes for arguments about crime statistics is not valid.

    The simple fact from anyone looking at crime statistics is that gun control either for or against has very little effect on crime. However there is one exception and that is domestic incidents involving guns, and if they are reduced I am happy.

    Quote:
    Crime relates to wealth


    More importantly crime relates to disparity of wealth, which is why Switzerland has a low crime rate and America has a high one.

  • avatarmjl1783

    Well I have never called the police, so I again don't understand what you're aiming at here.

    Why can't anyone in this discussion answer a simple goddamn question?

    Would you, as an avowed pacifist, consider the police an acceptable solution to certain problems? For instance, would calling the police to have them recover stolen property for you conflict with your pacifist beliefs? Whether or not you actually have done this is immaterial.

    Even if I did call them, chances are pretty low they would kill or harm anyone for my sake.

    Well, now you've made my point for me. Relying on the police is a non-violent solution only in the most ridiculous, hypocritical sense. Ultimately, the police rely on the very real threat of violence to compel people to cooperate with them.

    If you do call the police to remove a violent intruder from your home, you can reliably predict that the confrontation will end with the use of physical force at least as injurious as a round of paintball. If, knowing this, you initiate that use of force, you cannot honestly claim to be acting non-violently.

    By the way, this scenario has actually happened to three people I know personally, so it isn't something I simply dreamed up to refute your arguments. Two of them resisted violently, and came through without being seriously harmed.

    A pacifist is someone who for example avoids military service.

    Yet, not everyone who avoids military service can be considered a pacifist. It is possible to be opposed to war without being opposed to violence. It's also very easy to be opposed to risking your own life while not being opposed to violence.

    It's going to a peace rally...

    I assume many of the attendees will be sporting Che Guevara T-shirts.

    not practising violence for pleasure (hunting, boxing - things that are accepted by the social norm) etc.

    Violent games are, of course, excluded.

  • avatarSchweig!

    "Why can't anyone in this discussion answer a simple goddamn question?"

    Dude relax. I answered your "goddam" question right in the next sentence.

    "Ultimately, the police rely on the very real threat of violence to compel people to cooperate with them."

    Exactly why I never called them to solve a conflict.

    "remove a violent intruder from your home"

    So it is apparently the norm in America to engage an intruder violently, e.g. by firing a gun. A pacifist would not consider this as the first choice. At least I think that when an intruder is surrounded by policemen he will likely surrender. Alternatively, knocking somebody unconscious is physical harm, but doing so as a last resort is totally acceptable. I don't know if you ever been knocked unconscious, I was a few times by accident, all that remains is a slight headache. Why do you always assume a pacifist has to kill any and all criminals?

    "Yet, not everyone who avoids military service can be considered a pacifist."

    Where did I claim that?

    "I assume many of the attendees will be sporting Che Guevara T-shirts."

    So now you insult peace activists by colouring them as "Commies", how gallant. Of course Che shirts are "en vogue" with mothers who lost a son to the war....

    "Violent games are, of course, excluded."

    Yes I excluded wargames because I the notion that moving numbered paper chits around on a coloured map with hexes is a violent act is completely ridiculous. You can include FPSs if you want.

    I don't know what the hell your purpose is arguing with me. I explained my views that is all. You are free to shoot intruders on sight, it's the law in the USA. I do not care whether you do that or think it is right. I do not and that is all. When you are suggesting I am violent person because I play wargames, that's an insult to me. Why do you think I'm so naive I never asked myself whether pacifism and wargaming goes well together. I explained above why it does for me. If all wargames were like those from Tom Wham I would be more than happy. I never bought a single game thinking war or killing people is cool.

    Also stop suggesting I'm some kind of radical political weirdo. I know my (utopian) views are different from other people but I would never force these on anyone. But when you call pacifism "horseshit" that kind of provokes me. I shouldn't be and that was a mistake. So sorry I criticized your opinion.

  • avatarufe

    he simple fact from anyone looking at crime statistics is that gun control either for or against has very little effect on crime. However there is one exception and that is domestic incidents involving guns, and if they are reduced I am happy.

    And ignore the between 700,000 and 2 million incidents a year (in the US) I've seen studies show that a gun was used to prevent a crime?

    So it is apparently the norm in America to engage an intruder violently, e.g. by firing a gun. A pacifist would not consider this as the first choice. At least I think that when an intruder is surrounded by policemen he will likely surrender. Alternatively, knocking somebody unconscious is physical harm, but doing so as a last resort is totally acceptable. I don't know if you ever been knocked unconscious, I was a few times by accident, all that remains is a slight headache. Why do you always assume a pacifist has to kill any and all criminals?

    Many people survive gunshot wounds every year, so shooting isn't necisarilly killing. It's just the most effective means of stoping a person. The day they come out with a 100% reliable fuck-their-shit-up-without-lasting-damage weapon that allows me to take multiple shots so I don't require backup (why cops can get away with tazers), I'll start using that.

    How do you suppose I just "know him out"? This isn't a movie where we'll get in a cute little scuffle and I come out with maybe a cool looking scratch or two. If some dude has broken into my house, I figure he's aiming or the worst and act accordingly.

    And I've been to enough peace rallies in my HS/college days (some even pre-Iraqi invasion) to know they're just pissing in the wind.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    And ignore the between 700,000 and 2 million incidents a year (in the US) I've seen studies show that a gun was used to prevent a crime?


    Seriously someone found a way to measure something that is all but impossible to measure? I would love to see the study because it is impossible to prove if something didn't occur that it wouldn't have occurred under different circumstances. Add in the fact it was almost certainly a study comissioned by the gun lobby and it gets even more dubious.

  • avatarufe

    Dude, that's just like saying that the rape stat is BS because more people report rape now. How do you know, if they weren't reported before? But yes, a lot of the studies I've seen are surveys and the like.

    Here's one claiming about 68-82,000 http://www.guncite.com/gcdgklec.html

    It's 7 AM here, so I'll have to look later to find more if you like. But if you admit that gun control doesn't have effect on crime (except domestic violence), don't you think that there are at least a few cases every year where someone uses one to defend themselves to make gun ownership a net positive?

    Here's a page from the "gun loby" that archives stories about self defense with guns:
    http://www.nraila.org/armedcitizen/

    But hey man, if you want to go about life unarmed, that's your business. Good luck with that.

  • avatarmjl1783
    Quote:
    I don't know what the hell your purpose is arguing with me.

    Believe it or not, I was actually attempting to understand your views, which you've either done a bad job explaining, or are impractical to the point of absurdity. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming it's the former, although given how pissy you tend to get when people challenge your beliefs, it's probably not worth the effort.

    Quote:
    Also stop suggesting I'm some kind of radical political weirdo. I know my (utopian) views are different from other people but I would never force these on anyone. But when you call pacifism "horseshit" that kind of provokes me. I shouldn't be and that was a mistake. So sorry I criticized your opinion.

    What the fuck? First of all, I never suggested you were a radical weirdo. If you took something I said that way, you took it in a way it wasn't intended.

    I didn't call the avoidance of violence horseshit, by the way. I called the concept of pacifism, as it's generally understood (i.e. complete non-resistance in any situation) horseshit.

    Maybe you need to relax, dude.


  • avatarMattDP

    Sorry to miss the boat on all this after having written it, but illness has been running rampant through the family and I've not had time to post any replies. I've been following the discussion though.

    One thing I did want to pitch in on was the idea that pacifism equates to common sense. I don't think that's true because it depends on what you consider as justification for starting violence - there seem to be plenty of people around who believe violence is a solution to problems other than as a method to meet aggression and they're not all psychopaths. Including, for example, the previous heads of state of the US and UK who both decided to fight several wars on the pretext of liberal intervention rather than defence. So I do think there's actually quite a big gap between the "everyday pacifism" approach of violence only being appropriate in self-defence and the point at which someone is bordering on the psychotic.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    FYI, I'm all about the Roadhouse principle, "Be nice until it's time to not be nice", but I've also had people jump me, attempt to mug me once, have had my house broken into once and have had it robbed WHILE WE WERE THERE once. Bad shit happens to good people, and that's just how it is.

    Carrying a gun is a hell of a deterrent, and I had a guy break into my house where I stopped him at gunpoint. I'd have had to get in a brawl with a guy holding a crowbar if I didn't have my 1911 in-hand, and as it turned out I ended up getting 30$, a bunch of tools, and his ID out of it because I

  • avatarPat II

    While I do believe tha violence shold be avoided at all costs (the first lesson in most martial arts is defusing the situation - putting your ego aside even if you can completely tool the assailant), this all goes out the window when your children are threatened. Even thee most ardent hippy will go apeshit once their kids are assaulted.

  • avatarmjl1783
    Quote:
    I don't think that's true because it depends on what you consider as justification for starting violence - there seem to be plenty of people around who believe violence is a solution to problems other than as a method to meet aggression and they're not all psychopaths

    Then is violence (lethal or non-lethal) in the defense of property off-limits? If so, how do we deal with people who just want to take shit that doesn't belong to them, and won't be dissuaded by non-violent attempts to stop them?

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    mj -- don't you know anything. We just form a "Red Rover" line by linking arms and give them baleful stares.....that should do the trick.

  • avatarSchweig!

    "Believe it or not, I was actually attempting to understand your views, which you've either done a bad job explaining, or are impractical to the point of absurdity."

    I do get pissy when I have to repeat myself three times, after I wrote more than 2000 words on the subject, and at least 500 with my first comment. Then you tell me my "job" of explaining is crappy. I'd rather accept the prize for having an absurd point of view thank you very much.

    "I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming it's the former, although given how pissy you tend to get when people challenge your beliefs, it's probably not worth the effort."

    You do not challenge my beliefs. The murderer example is completely ridiculous because there simply is no person out there who wants to kill, except for some psychopath maybe. And that is no less due to my conduct of living. Take my brother for example who is member of a gang and was attacked by someone with a knife because he's part of another gang and they fight over imagined control of some territory. If you act like a pacifist in all life situations and consider it to be normal human behaviour, let me be the first to congratulate you.

    I also explained why it is acceptable for me to play wargames as a pacifist. I do not care why other people play wargames, whether they are warmongers or like violence even in its most abstracted form, because their reasoning does not apply to me. Should I as a pacifist not be allowed to read "All Quiet on the Western Front" because it describes violence and people dying?

    "Then is violence (lethal or non-lethal) in the defense of property off-limits? If so, how do we deal with people who just want to take shit that doesn't belong to them, and won't be dissuaded by non-violent attempts to stop them?"

    Shoot them dead of course.

  • avatarSchweig!

    "pacifism, as it's generally understood (i.e. complete non-resistance in any situation)"

    It's not about non-resistance, it's about avoiding the use violence in order to solve problems. Ghandi was a pacifist but he most certainly wasn't "non-resistance".

  • avatarJeff White

    Ghandi was able to be a pacifist because the ruling government had some form of compassion. He was afforded the opportunity. Had he lived under a different regime, he may not have been as successful.

    Just an observation. Still undecided where I stand on the whole force vs no-force issue.

  • avatarSchweig!

    The point is that a pacifist does not simply succumb to any force, quite the opposite. The way of doing so is non-violent however.

  • avatarPat II

    If you are a pacifist and some nutbar grabs your daughter by the hair and starts to drag her into his car do you plead with him or try to crack his mellon.

    There are no plates on the car and no help in sight.

  • avatarSchweig!

    I would tell him to use a condom.

  • avatarmjl1783

    The murderer example is completely ridiculous because there simply is no person out there who wants to kill, except for some psychopath maybe.

    Seriously, what is your basis for this statement?

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    But hey man, if you want to go about life unarmed, that's your business. Good luck with that.


    I have managed to go about my life without the need for weapons and have never felt I was in danger and needed one. You may feel safer walking about with a gun, but I sure as hell feel a lot less safe knowing there are people near me carrying weapons, and that is what pisses me off a lot because it is a selfish decision on your part. BY allowing you to carry a concealed gun we also allow a lot of other people to carry concealed weapons who are not as trustworthy. It is like SUVs which the owners claim makes them feel safer, but they do so by moving the risk onto other road users (blocking line of sight, weight difference between cars involved in accidents).

    I was talking on a different forum to a user who used to have similar attitudes to you but changed them to a complete opposition to civilian use of guns after one hunting trip when he saw how stupid some people can be with guns. This is what you are forgetting about, as you tend to assume everyone else is a responsible citizen like you.

  • avatarmjl1783

    People are aware of that MuMu, it's just a question of whether or not it's acceptable to restrict the freedoms of responsible citizens because the stupids can't be trusted.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu

    I guess that is one of the fundamental differences in the way people think between Australia and America. We don't mind restricting individual freedom if the overall result is of greater benefit to society.

  • avatarufe

    Ah, the good old "I trust you, it's those other people" argument. And I love that you trust the people around you so much.

    Just because you've never needed one, doesn't mean you never will. Like I said, I'll probably never need one either, but better to have and not need, than need and not have.

    How is me having something in a holster, concealed from view, being selfish? Fuck man, I open carry on ocasion (legal to anyone 18+ who can legaly own a gun in VA, without even as much as a permit! Oh God the horror!) and I don't feel that's selfish either. I know you'll come back with the "right" to "feel" safe, but you don't have a right to feel anything (I know that's blunt, but it's the truth), and I do have a very real right to self defense. And when you consider that people in the US with concealed carry permits are less likely to commit a violent offense/injure someone with a gun than those without, the "feeling safe" thing goes out the window.

    As for people being stupid, I've seen numerous people do stupid things to hurt themselves/others with knives, power tools, cars, caustic cleaning chemicals, etc. Just like with violence, it's the people, not the inanimate objects, who are to blame.

  • avatarSouthernman

    MuMu said:

    Quote:
    I was talking on a different forum to a user who used to have similar attitudes to you but changed them to a complete opposition to civilian use of guns after one hunting trip when he saw how stupid some people can be with guns.


    But where do you draw the line and who chooses where it is drawn - you could use the exact same argument for powerful cars with large engines (typical Aussie as well as American) as well as reducing the speed limit down and down.

    Quote:

    I guess that is one of the fundamental differences in the way people think between Australia and America. We don't mind restricting individual freedom if the overall result is of greater benefit to society.


    Once again who decides if the benefit is great enough ...

  • avatarSchweig!

    "Seriously, what is your basis for this statement?"

    I can't think of anyone. Give me some examples of people who'd want to kill me (excluding yourself). Keep in mind that I never started a fight with anyone even in puberty, never defamed or libelled anyone and I'm not rich, powerful or famous. I'm a total wuss, it wouldn't even be a challenge or any fun to kill me. I can't even think of a "Phone Booth" kind of scenario.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    How is me having something in a holster, concealed from view, being selfish? Fuck man, I open carry on ocasion (legal to anyone 18+ who can legaly own a gun in VA, without even as much as a permit! Oh God the horror!) and I don't feel that's selfish either. I know you'll come back with the "right" to "feel" safe, but you don't have a right to feel anything (I know that's blunt, but it's the truth), and I do have a very real right to self defense. And when you consider that people in the US with concealed carry permits are less likely to commit a violent offense/injure someone with a gun than those without, the "feeling safe" thing goes out the window.


    I hate seeing anyone carry a gun, and don't feel safe when I see them, be they citizens, security guards or police. One of the times in my life I nearly had a panic attack because it just freaked me out was when I was in the Singapore airport and two security guards came wandering past me with automatic rifles. Because the first thing that comes into my mind when I see a gun is "Why the fuck does that person think they need that? This must be a really dangerous place" and more importantly "How do I know he isn't going to just start firing at people for no reason?". And if you feel it is your right and you are not endangering anyone else, how about I carry around a few bombs for personal protection. It would act as a nice deterrent to any mugger if I threatened to blow myself up suicide bomber style if they were to harm me. No-one should be carrying any weapons of any sort in public unless they have a valid work reason for doing so. One has to draw the line somewhere and the safest and most reasonable point is a no tolerance one.

    As you said it comes down to conflicting rights over my right to feel safe and your (belief in a ) right to bear arms. I can't see why you feel yours is so much more important, particularly as mine should be regarded as more important as it is more fundamental.

    I just have to back away from this conversation. You won't convince me and I won't convince you.

  • avatarufe

    We don't mind restricting individual freedom if the overall result is of greater benefit to society.

    The downright scariest thing I've read all day.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    We don't mind restricting individual freedom if the overall result is of greater benefit to society.

    The downright scariest thing I've read all day.


    Then why is America the only Western country which holds this attitude? Its among a number of reasons why yours is the only first world country I never want to live in. Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand seem to get along just fine with some forms of socialism (gee that's a dirty word isn't it) and without some idealized belief in individual freedoms being paramount. You already believe that an ordinary citizen should not have the right to own biological weapons, so why draw the line there? I may like to do some home experimentation to see if I can create some superior genetically modified vegetables, and you want to restrict my freedom to do so? How unAmerican of you.

  • avatarjay718

    Carrying a gun is a hell of a deterrent, and I had a guy break into my house where I stopped him at gunpoint. I'd have had to get in a brawl with a guy holding a crowbar if I didn't have my 1911 in-hand, and as it turned out I ended up getting 30$, a bunch of tools, and his ID out of it because I

    Here's a guy that calls another guy out to fight him at a fucking gaming convention because he got his feelings hurt in a forum on a board game website who's a gun owner. Obviously someone with anger issues and a quick temper. Also says he enjoys violence in his profile here. A board game site. Thank god the constitution protects his right to bear arms! Sounds like he robbed his would be assailant at gunpoint as well. You guys are right, maybe I should get a gun.

    As for people being stupid, I've seen numerous people do stupid things to hurt themselves/others with knives, power tools, cars, caustic cleaning chemicals, etc. Just like with violence, it's the people, not the inanimate objects, who are to blame.

    Sure, but none of those products are manufactured for the sole purpose of killing people. You can't cut cheese with a hand gun, or build a house, or drive it, or even clean something with it. You can only fire it into a target or a human being. Stupidity is also pulling your gun out at the wrong time, for the wrong reason, or both.

    the first thing that comes into my mind when I see a gun is "Why the fuck does that person think they need that?

    Paranoia. When it comes right down to it, that's what it is. Paranoia. And maybe a love of violence.

  • avatarufe

    Then why is America the only Western country which holds this attitude?

    Because the individual is more important that that hivemind bullshit. Your line of reasoning comes right out of the tyrant's handbook. "For the greater good" my ass.

    Paranoia. When it comes right down to it, that's what it is. Paranoia. And maybe a love of violence

    This from the group that apparently trembles in fear at the site of a man with a firearm and doesn't trust their fellow citizens to be armed. Who's more paranoid, the person who wants to prepare themselves for the very real threat of criminal violence, or the one who can't trust anyone around them to have dangerous objects?

    Sure, but none of those products are manufactured for the sole purpose of killing people.

    Well it wouldn't be of much use to carry one if it only tickled people, now would it?

    As you said it comes down to conflicting rights over my right to feel safe and your (belief in a ) right to bear arms. I can't see why you feel yours is so much more important, particularly as mine should be regarded as more important as it is more fundamental.

    Since when does your right to feel something trump my right to be something (safe)? What kind of "I'm a special little snowflake" BS thinking is that? Maybe we should put the "right to not feel uncomfortable" up against the right to free speech and see how that works out.

    Again, you have no right whatsoever to feel anything.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    This from the group that apparently trembles in fear at the site of a man with a firearm and doesn't trust their fellow citizens to be armed. Who's more paranoid, the person who wants to prepare themselves for the very real threat of criminal violence, or the one who can't trust anyone around them to have dangerous objects?


    What it all comes down to is a matter of trust. As much as you can assure me that you know how to handle a firearm responsibly, I honestly don't fundamentally believe that. I don't trust you. And I would rather have someone I don't trust not armed. There are enough idiots who don't know how to do things properly, and the outside chance of someone intent on a murderous rampage, and I don't trust you to not be one of them when I see you in the street with a firearm.

    Currently in our city we have two campaigns running about street violence, because we have had a few incidents where people have been killed in bar fights. The first is that carrying knives is a crime, and that you are exposing yourself to arrest or worse possibly escalating an already dangerous situation. The second is educating young men that one punch can kill someone and that going out with the intention of starting a fight may lead to a murder charge. How will citizens carrying guns help us with bar fights? It only escalates the situation and more innocent bystanders are likely to get hurt. I would much rather live in a city with these concerns than one where we get students rampaging at schools/universities with guns.

  • avatarjay718

    This from the group that apparently trembles in fear at the site of a man with a firearm and doesn't trust their fellow citizens to be armed. Who's more paranoid, the person who wants to prepare themselves for the very real threat of criminal violence, or the one who can't trust anyone around them to have dangerous objects?

    Whoa buddy, I don't tremble in fear at the sight of people who carry firearms as part of their job, but when a nutjob wears a gun on their hip to a young childs soccer match, or a bunch of angry people pull that million gun march shit, yeah that's scary. I'm also scared of the very real threat of criminal violence from the very people who are so paranoid of said threat that they feel the need to be armed with a weapon capable of lethal force at all times. So they feel safe. Not feeling safe without a loaded firearm? Nah, you're right, that's not paranoia. To answer your last question, it's obviously the person who fears that people might have said dangeous objects around him that he needs to have his own that's more paranoid.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    Because the individual is more important that that hivemind bullshit. Your line of reasoning comes right out of the tyrant's handbook. "For the greater good" my ass.


    I have to say that you are possibly the scariest person I have ever conversed with on the Internet and I am really glad you live on the other side of the world. That line of reasoning is so fucked up I can't even come close to trying to understand it. Basically you seem to believe that anarchy is a good thing, where an individuals right to do what they want is more important than anything else.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    Because the individual is more important that that hivemind bullshit. Your line of reasoning comes right out of the tyrant's handbook. "For the greater good" my ass

    "The famed Paris sewer system was created over a long period of time in the second half of the last century (19th century). The long delays were largely due to the virulent opposition of property owners, who did not want to pay to install sanitary piping to their buildings. The Prefect of Paris, Monsieur Poubelle, succeeded in forcing garbage cans on the property owners in 1887 only after a ferocious public battle. This government interference in the individual's right to throw his garbage in the street - which was, in reality, the property owner's right to leave his tenants no other option - made Poubelle into the 'cryptosocialist' of the hour. In 1900 owners were still fighting against the obligations to put their buildings on the public sewer system and to cooperate in the collection of garbage. By 1910 a little over half of the city's buildings were on the sewer system and only half of the cities in France had any sewers at all.

    Photos of early-twentieth-century Marseilles show great piles of refuse and excrement down the centre of the streets. Cholera outbreaks were common and ravaged the population. In 1954 the last city without, St. Remy de Provence, installed sewers.

    It was the gradual creation of an effective bureaucracy which brought an end to all this filth and disease, and the public servants did so against the desires of the mass of the middle and upper classes. The free market opposed sanitation. The rich opposed it. The civilized opposed it. Most of the educated opposed it. That is why it took a century to finish what could have been done in ten years" Adapted from John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards - The Dictatorship of Reason in the West, page 239

  • avatarmjl1783

    What the fuck has all this got to do with games and pacifism?

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    What the fuck has all this got to do with games and pacifism?


    When has any internet discussion stayed on topic?

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Thrower, you've done me proud. Your article has inspired your very own 1000+ hit shitstorm. You have arrived!

  • avatarSchweig!

    At least nobody pulled a scissors.

  • avatarufe

    The first is that carrying knives is a crime, and that you are exposing yourself to arrest

    ROFLMAO since when did ya'll revert to a penal colony? Can't be trusted with pointy things?

    have to say that you are possibly the scariest person I have ever conversed with on the Internet

    That's pretty rich too.

    I think I'm done with this (for good this time). Hope MuMu and Jay still realize that none of this was personal. I still love you guys.

  • avatarMattDP
    Quote:
    Thrower, you've done me proud. Your article has inspired your very own 1000+ hit shitstorm. You have arrived!

    And I've managed an even worse track record of replying to the thread than I've accused you of in the past. I stand corrected, sir :)

  • avatarMattDP
    Quote:
    Then is violence (lethal or non-lethal) in the defense of property off-limits? If so, how do we deal with people who just want to take shit that doesn't belong to them, and won't be dissuaded by non-violent attempts to stop them?

    This kind of illustrates my point. You've hit on a perfect example of a form of aggressive behaviour which some people would regard as fit to be met with violence and others who wouldn't. A pacifist would say this should not be met with violence, whereas plenty of people would say that it should - and none of them are "psychotic". Ergo pacifism is neither common sense nor bullshit.

    I'll answer your question with another one - it depends on how you define "violence". Personally I'm comfortable with the approach of the UK police which seeks to use physical coercion whilst inflicting minimum harm. If you're properly trained and equipped, the evidence from policing in this country overwhelming demonstrates that this is possible: plenty of burglers get caught, and its rare enough for either perpetrator or police to suffer serious harm as a result that when it does happen, it makes the news.

  • avatarjay718


    ...
    What the fuck has all this got to do with games and pacifism?

    Jeez, I thought this was obvious. Mumu's laying down the basis for a new Euro he's working on in which you're trying to build Paris' sewer system while vying for the favor of the aristocracy, all while trying to stave off disease outbreak. There's a cholera track (you don't want it to get to 10), a prefect mechanic that's very similar to the provost in Caylus, and tile laying ala Metro. Looks quite promising, even if the grahic layout is hideous, and his choice of fonts rather susect. I think it's going to retail for about 80 bucks.

    At least nobody pulled a scissors.

    Well, yeah, apparently that'll get you arrested in Australia. Haven't you been aying attention?


    I think I'm done with this (for good this time). Hope MuMu and Jay still realize that none of this was personal. I still love you guys.

    But of course buddy, just a little healthy debate. You'd have to be a real wingnut to get so upset over this kind of back and forth that you'd take it personally.

  • avatarPat II

    That's hilarious - "Poubelle" is what we call garbage cans up here! I had no idea this is the fellow championing the garbage can in France!

    Anyways no one could answer my question (except for Schweig's nonsense!) because there is only one answer. It's fight or flight and when it comes to family it's fight.

    If having a gun on you makes you feel "safe" you must be living in a shithole.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu
    Quote:
    I think I'm done with this (for good this time). Hope MuMu and Jay still realize that none of this was personal. I still love you guys.


    No harm intended and I know we could easily keep doing this over a beer or two, but boy, I feel you have some ideas about society that are really out of kilter with my reality. Whenever you step outside the primary focus of a forum you do start encountering very different world views.

  • avatarmjl1783
    Quote:
    I'll answer your question with another one - it depends on how you define "violence". Personally I'm comfortable with the approach of the UK police which seeks to use physical coercion whilst inflicting minimum harm.

    You're not seriously suggesting that physical coercion is non-violent, are you?

  • avatarMad Malthus

    Ah the warming glow of a smoldering thread...

    "The points you mention are not "fundamental reality", well a) is but most of the resources are either available in infinite quantity (including energy from renewable sources), or can be recycled to last at least a few thousand more years (like steel). However, if your life depends upon driving a car propelled by oil, then yes, this "fundamental reality" is true for you."

    Modern civilization depends on oil. If you have the secret to some viable, comparable energy source in "infinite quantity" do the world a favor and let us all know. Food is a limited resource in relation to a) the procession of seasons and b) population. Energy is limited, there are no shortcuts, and nothing is free. Shelter is limited by time, material, space and labor. Several large human migrations occured in pre-history, why do you think that is? Why do you think there was a population bottle-neck 70,000 years ago, back when all our energy use was "sustainable"? Just for kicks?
    Read a history book. Any history book. Competition for limited resources is a prominent feature of nearly every one. Fundamental, yes. Welcome to adulthood.

    ["What is gained through pacifism is the selfish continuation of life at the expense of another."]

    "Wow, completely ridiculous. Tell me at whose expense I'm continuing my life. I certainly don't depend on anyone killing Afghan farmers in my name. This interpretation of pacifism is probably only true for Mafia bosses and similar people."

    Everything you own, everything you use, everything you depend on and take for granted was won and rests upon the sacrifice of others in your recent or distant past, very often involving violence; personal, state-induced or otherwise. Show a little gratitude and don't shame yourself and your heritage by abdicating the burden and challenge of life in a world far short of paradise. You seem fixated on the contemporary, on that score the US secures your oil. I wouldn't have it so, as an American, but that's the truth. Europe should have to secure its own resource production. It would have a positive effect on a stagnant and complacent civilization, of which your pacifism is a symptom. You didn't ask for the US to secure your energy source, but one year without it and the likes of you would be begging for someone with a gun to restore the flow of the precious juice.

    "I think one must be quite paranoid to assume the USA were in danger of invasion during the two World Wars. Don't get me wrong though, many people, myself included, are happy about the USA's entrance into the war."

    Hitler came close, very close to winning in Europe, and winning big. The only context in which the threat of invasion looks paranoid is the modern one, looking back with perfect hindsight. Your countrymen had global ambition. So does this mean you are updating your date from 1783 to 1849? Or 1865? Or a paranoid 1945?

    ["Can't the krauts ever just be half-assed about politics? The world (and this forum) would be a better place."]

    "Yeah, it's in my genes..... Seriously, what the fuck!? I was just voicing my opinion here. I didn't tell anyone what do to. If you hate Germans so much, let me know and I will make sure our paths won't cross again in the future."

    Fucking goose-steppers got no sense of humor either.

  • avatarJur

    I don't see much use in rekindling this discussion.

    remember a few weeks ago when I said I was biting my tongue rather than get involved in a political discussion? Precisely because of the above. Too bad I was proven right so quickly.

    Most Europeans and Americans have a fundamentally different view of the role of the state and individual freedom, and it all comes together around gun ownership. Most Europeans can't understand how Americans can't see how dangerous it is, most Americans are passionate about their individual freedom. It almost always ends like it did here.

    What is the matter with you guys anyway? Over the last couple of weeks several threads have gone seriously off the rails and became highly personalised. Apparently tempers are more easily frayed than they used to be. I don't want you to argue over this but take a step back and think at why we get so fucked up so easily of late. We used to be able to disagree and mess with each other verbally without it all turning into flame. I want that back.

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