lbo-talk-digest V1 #4326

LeoCasey at LeoCasey at
Fri May 11 06:46:34 PDT 2001

> Nope, sorry it hasn't. Nor, I believe could it, for to do so would be to
> achieve moral certitude. In the absence of moral certitude there can be no
> moral authority which is why moral skepticism is a necessary, but not
> sufficient, reason for a potentially peaceful society.....The people you
> mention, however "noble" their cause may have been, had no more authority
> to command or persuade others to engage in killing than did their nemeses.
> Nor did those who were commanded or persuaded have the moral authority to
> alienate their responsibility to refrain from inaugurating violence against
> another human being, any more than their nemeses did......
> Ian

What you are saying here is that when faced with a choice of take life or have your life and the lives of your loved ones be taken, a choice of take life or be enslaved, the principle of take no life must win out. I have no objection to you holding to such a belief for yourself, on a purely individual basis, but I do not believe that it can successfully be put forth as an universal rule which others must accept. In my early political days on the Catholic Left, I held essentially that position, but only as a rule for myself and for similar like minded pacifists. The Jews of the Warsaw ghetto had every right to resist and kill the Nazis who came to kill them. Spartacus had every right to kill the Romans who came to kill him and reenslave his followers. Toussaint had every right to kill the French who came to kill him and reenslave the Haitians... and so on. The alternative you pose is to accept slavery and/or death. If you want a philosophical basis for this, check Hegel's Phenomenology passage on lordship and bondage. Or remember Gandhi's addage, it is better to resist violently, than to not resist at all.

Leo Casey United Federation of Teachers 260 Park Avenue South New York, New York 10010-7272 (212-598-6869)

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. -- Frederick Douglass -- -------------- next part -------------- An HTML attachment was scrubbed... URL: <../attachments/20010511/7ac4eb20/attachment.htm>

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list