Tuesday, 18 May 2004

Permitting Myself to State the Obvious

As I embark on this project of publicly sharing my views, let it be known that I frequently expect to be sharing observations that are pretty obvious. It seems to me that many, in their desire to be erudite, shy away from the obvious in favor of subtle distinctions. Subtle distinctions can be important, but sometimes they are used to obfuscate the more obvious truth. For instance:
                War is hell

In order to justify the organized slaughter of our fellow human beings, there needs to be an extraordinarily compelling necessity. War has become such a regular part of human history, that we become inured to the idea of it, in spite of recognizing its horror. I will not shy away from identifying myself as a pacifist, in spite of my intellectual recognition of the practical need for nations to organize militaries for their defense. Yes there have been cases where taking up arms has been a necessity for one side in a conflict, but far more often its necessity on both sides has been argued by those who stand to gain by the bloodshed of others, and the end result is a tragic waste. Even in those rare cases where the totality of human suffering endured is arguably less as a result of a war than it would have been without it, it does not necessarily follow that the war was the only means to the improved end. If we cannot dream of a future without war, what good are dreams.