Randoms of the day

Do these sentences bother anyone else: "As a pacifist, I urge all of America’s military opponents to abjectly surrender to it immediately. As the cases of Germany and Japan illustrate, abject surrender to the American military leads to much better consequences than resistance. It’s a no-brainer."? I find them oddly troubling.

On Iraqi weapons

Whiskey on the decline of the West

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The joys of DC


13 Responses to Randoms of the day

  1. RS says:

    > I find them oddly troubling.

    Maybe there’s a bit o’ the non-utilitarian in you. Or maybe you know the Iraqis won’t prosper like the Japanese or Germans. Or maybe you’re cognizant that Germans may not prosper much more than another 30 years. Heck, even Japan has an ambiguous future.

    So many possibilities! We live in ‘interesting times’.

  2. Bruce G Charlton says:

    Pacifism is a clear and unambiguous signal of political correctness – when it isn’t simply (but understandably, very understandably) a rationalization for a personal reluctance to join the military and engage in war.

    Even a child knows this is true; even a child knows the difference between realism and ‘wouldn’t it be nice if…’

    But as an ideology, pacifism is a deliberate step into delusional thinking.

    • Foseti says:

      Agreed. But he goes and combines pacifism with an unconditional surrender – I find that creepy.

      • Bruce G Charlton says:

        Creepy indeed. But probably mainstream among people whose bottom line ideology in life is optimal comfort.

        And those who do not care enough about anything to die for it must, sooner or later, ‘learn to love’ a state of utter submission to those who *are* prepared to die for their beliefs, if you get what I mean.

  3. Steve Johnson says:

    They bother me as well. It’s only a very superficial examination that thinks the world is so much better off under American leadership than it could have been in an alternative history.

    Limiting the comparison to Japan and Germany is also facile. The United States conquered all of western Europe in WWII, not just its enemies. Is Egypt better off now that the United States had the power to force the UK to abandon it as a colony? Rhodesia? China under Mao?

  4. icr says:

    Funny that the Germans, despite experiencing 90+ years of almost non-stop degradation in one form or another, still have more spine than the British. Must be their more serious and philosophical bent. Their long history of low TFR’s means they are doomed, but they are going down with more dignity than the British.

  5. Tschafer says:

    Caplan also ignore the fact that, while the short-term costs of war are high and the benefits are often nebulous, the short-term costs of being willing to go to war are small, and the benefits (freedom, prosperity, etc.) are huge, and one would think that a guy supposedly as smart as Caplan could see this, and as a matter of fact, I find Caplan’s whole pacifist argument astonishingly immature – with its absurd emphasis on short term observable costs, without any recognition of what the certain long-term consequences would be, it’s the kind of thing one expects from college freshmen. Either the guy is a facile buffoon, or, as Mr. Charleton implies, he’s rationalizing other personal issues about the military.

  6. Tschafer says:

    Caplan also maintains an on-line site outlining the crimes of Communism. Does he also believe that surrender to the Red Army in 1949 would have been a good idea?

  7. Tschafer says:

    Also, Caplan seems to have his own private meaning for the word “pacifism”, so that he can avoid many of the drawbacks of the pacifist position by saying “That’s not the kind of pacifism I believe in”. (Has Caplan been reading Noam Chomsky?)

    For example, Caplan’s “pacifism” seems to allow for personal self-defense, and possibly police protection, although it’s not clear how this differs from national self-defense. Presumably, Caplan would shoot a lone criminal who tried to rape his wife, but would surrender to an army that tried to do the same thing…

  8. Buckethead says:

    If war is the health of the state, are we healthy or sick? – we are constantly at war, but we deny in every way possible that we are. It seems that we are trying to be warmongering pacifists. It would certainly be more honest to either bring the troops home, or engage in a straightforward war of conquest.

    We manage to slip in large scale military efforts by describing them as police actions, or the like – enforcing the will of the international community. That sort of dishonesty seems to generate the same levels of creepiness whether its on the personal or international level. Ghengis Khan might have been nasty, but he wasn’t creepy.

    • Tschafer says:

      Agreed. We used to have this quaint little custom in this country called “Declaring War” that cleared up a lot of things. Maybe we should look into bringing this custom back. An actual declaration of war on Al-Quaeda would have been appropriate, possible (we have declared war on non-state actors before), and hugely popular back in 2001. There are no good reasons why we didn’t do this, but plenty of bad ones…

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