Thursday, May 11, 2006

Faith and State: Correlative Obligations?

I do see a qualification to "Thou Shalt Not Kill." It's called self-defense. What most states call "Just War," however, has nothing to do with self-defense. Certainly, Bush's military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have nothing to do with self-defense. At any rate, self-defense remains a legitimate qualification for all individuals--not just those individuals employed by the state. There's no double standard.

I do accept the Church's authority to interpret Scriptures. I concede I'm not clear on what obligation the Church's teaching authority on matters of faith and morals imposes on me as a political animal. Am I compelled to endorse a civil ban on contraception, artificial insemination and remarriage after divorce? In operational terms, must I favor a political system that sics the cops on people who contracept, artificially inseminate or remarry after divorce?

But we're straying from the main point. It's the double standard that sticks in my craw. If it's immoral for people to contracept, artificially inseminate and remarry after divorce, and the immorality of those activities compels a ban by the civil authorities, why would anyone exempt the civil authorities from that ban?

If it's immoral for people to steal, threaten and extort, why do we exempt the civil authorites from that ban? Why are they permitted to tax?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I hear the homicidal humanitarianism argument a lot, too. I agree it's something we noninterventionists have to attack, if we can ever hope to bring some sanity to U.S. foreign policy. Here are a few tacks I've taken over the years to impugn the morality of the "Good War":

1) The U.S. is as likely to ignore holocausts as to wage war against them. About 14 million Ukrainians were terror-starved by Lenin and Stalin before the war. At the Yalta Conference, FDR agreed to hand over millions of Eastern Europeans to Stalin's tender mercies after the war.

2) In "saving" European Jews from their holocaust, the U.S. and U.K. perpetrated a few of their own, e.g., the firebombing of Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo, and the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

3) While U.S. and U.K. forces did a bang-up job killing German and Japanese civilians, they inflicted a paltry 15 percent of Wehrmacht casualties, according to Serge Trifkovic of Chronicles. The Soviets did the lion's share of the work in the European theater; this would have been the case even if the U.S. had steered clear.

4) U.S. policy turned on a dime after the war. Suddenly, with the Nazis vanquished, the Soviet Union was the unyielding, unreasoning enemy with whom no compromise was possible. The U.S. armed and funded Islamic extremists to force the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Now, those same Islamic extremists are the unyielding, unreasoning enemy with whom no compromise is possible.

5) Foreign policy elites are always looking for an enemy. It's part of the Great Game. It keeps the citizenry distracted, taxed, fearful, regimented, controlled and on a wartime footing. In the immortal words of Smedley Butler, "War is a racket."

6) H.L. Mencken put it best, as usual: "To wage a war for a purely moral reason is as absurd as to ravish a woman for a purely moral reason."