I do believe that violent reaction against systems of oppression creates violent reactions from systems of oppression, locking us into a cycle of violence that is both undesirable and impossible to break with violence, but at the same time, I have difficulty whole-heartedly embracing the philosophical system of pacifism. While I don't believe in pre-meditated killing in any form, even that of capital punishment, I do believe that sometimes violent and even regrettably lethal force is necessary in the defense of things that should not simply be allowed to die. The funny thing is, I don't believe in the use of violence in self-defense, but I would be willing to kill if necessary for the people that I love, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. The following are some quotes on the subjects of violence and pacifism that I thought might provide some interesting food for thought.
"It's not the bullet with my name on it that worries me. It's the one that says 'To whom it may concern.'" ~Anonymous Belfast resident, quoted in London Guardian, 1991
"Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived." ~Abraham Lincoln
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence." ~Gandhi
"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster." ~Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” ~George Orwell
“Violence isn't always evil. What's evil is the infatuation with violence.” ~Jim Morrison
“The pacifist is as surely a traitor to his country and to humanity as is the most brutal wrongdoer.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
For now, I leave the question in the hands of you, dear reader: what are your feelings about pacifism and the nature of violence in general?
“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”