[LMB] Pacifism again (ot:)

JoatSimeon at aol.com JoatSimeon at aol.com
Fri, 1 Feb 2002 16:26:47 EST

One should keep in mind that the foundation of democracy, the thing that 
makes it possible, is the willingness of those who are outvoted to accept 
defeat -- to accept the legitimacy of a government they dislike and of laws 
of which they utterly disapprove.  

Me and George Bush, for instance... 8-).

This is one of the moral obligations of citizenship, and like all real 
obligations it's extremely hard and disagreeable at times.  It makes you feel 
crummy and bad and weak.

As Thomas Jefferson said, one of the most difficult tasks a human being can 
undertake is trying _not_ to despise those with whom we profoundly disagree.

Now, of course this isn't an _unlimited_ obligation.  If the majority decides 
to, shall we say, kill the Jews, then disobedience becomes mandatory.

But it's very, very important to remember that this is an 
only-in-emergencies-break-the-glass last resort.

This is true whether it's done by civil disobedience or civil war.  

The immediate gravity of the action may differ, but both are resorts to force 
and attempts to use force to frustrate the majority will.  Hence both are 
deeply problematic.