Posted by Peter Lawler
Thompson tells the truth (with pardonable manly exaggeration) about one of the most overrated men of the 20th century, who is apparently Speaker Pelosi’s patron saint.
Yeah, thats the "truth," except that Saddam was a far cry from Hitler, in numerous ways. Thompsons analogy, ostensibly, that Americans today, trying to keep terrorists at bay, are like the Jews (and Slavs, Roma, homosexuals, retarded, etc.) under Hitler, doesnt wash. We invaded Saddams Iraq to rid his country of fictional WMDs, and killed many Iraqi civilians in the process and the ongoing aftermath. (Did the Jews invade Hitlers Germany?) Hitler actually had weapons and a powerful military and took over countries. But if we are the Jews in Thompsons equation, why are WE occupying another country? That doesnt seem like what victims do. Its simply a ridiculous comparison, and it surely must be a violation of Godwins Law.
While Gandhis version of pacifism may be rather counterproductive in some contexts, to say the least, Thompsons comparison is hardly the "truth" and his "manly exaggeration" takes it even out of the realm of "truthiness."
Younger readers will not remember the classic essay on Gandhi by Richard Grenier that appeared in Commentary in 1983. It is well worth reading and will elicit many guffaws. It can be found on the internet at: http://history.eserver.org/ghandi-nobody-knows.txt
Gandhi had the luxury of opposing a rather civilized and benevolent authority in the British. Had his circumstances been different -- had he been less fortunate to oppose a Stalin or Mao or Hussein or Hitler and their totalitarian regimes -- history would not presently record the name "Gandhi." He would simply have disappeared, the victim of some anonymous grisly death.
The proponents of "passive resistance" movements always assume a measured, humane and civilized opposition from authority. They point to the stories of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. as evidence that passive resistance works. Unfortunately, we cant balance that against the thousands who were silently murdered or who simply disappeared.
Gandhi was a Hindu terrorist.
Ghandis rhetoric, as quoted by Thompson, is remarkably similar to that of Jesus, who advocated turning the other cheek. Im wondering when people are going to start trash-talking THAT guys policies.
Rita is right: any discussion of what we are to do next in Iraq, I think, has to recognize that we are the aggressors there. We are not the victims. And Ghandi, therefore, would DEFINATLY not approve.
Gandhi used to drink his own piss (thats a fact). Who the hell cares what he wouldve approved of?
Great point, Hal.
Gandhi counseled that the Jews commit suicide by Gestapo. He also suggested England surrender to Hitler. By extension, that means America should have surrendered to the Japanese and the Germans also. That is not humility--its Pride.
From The American Chesterton Society:
"Throughout his career, Chesterton was a vigorous enemy of pacifism. What he did believe in was the right, or the duty rather, of self-defense and the defense of others.
Chesterton was also a vigorous enemy of militarism. Both ideas, he argued, were really a single idea -- that the strong must not be resisted. The militarist, he said, uses this idea aggressively as a conqueror, as a bully. The pacifist uses the idea passively by acquiescing to the conqueror and permitting himself and others around him to be bullied. Of the two, Chesterton thought the pacifist far less admirable. In fact, the pacifist, for him, was "the last and least excusable on the list of the enemies of society."
"They preach that if you see a man flogging a woman to death you must not hit him. I would much sooner let a leper come near a little boy than a man who preached such a thing."
piker, if absolute pacifism is the moral rule as you say, then we must even disband our police forces. I hope Code Pink enjoys their floggings.
In a similar vein, might I suggest George Orwell’s "Pacifism and the War"? If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, one line might do: "Pacifism is objectively Pro-Fascist."
I cant resist adding a few more lines:
As an ex-Indian civil servant, it always makes me shout with laughter to hear...Gandhi named as an example of the success of non-violence. As long as twenty years ago it was cynically admitted in Anglo-Indian circles that Gandhi was very useful to the British government. So he will be to the Japanese if they get there. Despotic governments can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force.
Noel, Im afraid you misread me. I certainly dont believe in absolute pacifism - thats obviously ridiculous and self-destructive. My intention was to A. trash-talk Jesus and B. suggest that we admit our real role in the iraq War.
Okay, I wasnt trying to trash-talk Jesus. Im just tired of hearing him invoked by people who are pursuing decidedly un-Christ-like ventures such as the Iraq war.
By the way Paul - Hal actually didnt make any point at all, but it was pretty funny.
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