Tuesday, February 18, 2003


Aaron Haspel serves up poetry. It's a great essay.

I'd say that there is a faith that going forth in benevolence and love will cure all. And there is a line where it crosses over from naive and kind-hearted to wickedness. We know this because we know it's wrong to let all prisoners out of jail with the intention of curing them with love. The only question in any case is to what extent does the pacifist cross over into having sufficient justification to believe that an undeserved evil will befall someone if the innocent pursue the pacifist's recommendation of benevolence. Pacifism becomes a fetish, some kind of quasi-religious infinite psychological loop, in which evidence favoring the use of violence is treated as null because it points the way to war and not peace, demented, but somehow insidious and requiring that we steel ourselves to its temptations and cling ever faithfully to peace. When we steel ourselves to evidence, we're in the area of dogma and compulsion. This is cognitive disorder. There is probably also a gene for a tendency, however strong, to pacifism, because tribes that had such a gene did better, given that their disorder was shored up by leaps of faith back from the brink of total social collapse. The trouble comes when all cases are treated as such and a society is hamstrung by pacifism, unable to do the necessary task of crushing bugs that threaten big evil. Here the pacifist would sacrifice victims at the altar of a fetishistic kind of love. The instrument of sacrifice is the deprivation of the right to use the police and military to stop evil.