Monday 5 October 2020

Give Peace a Chance

The older I get the worse I think war is and the more obvious it is that very, very few wars are necessary evils or better than the alternative. 

I am reluctant to disagree with Robert Tombs, who is a genius and who supervised me at Cambridge, but  the two World Wars and possibly the wars against Napoleon (I haven't studied the Napoleonic wars) in hindsight may well fall into the category of unnecessary. The Crimean War, the English and US Civil Wars and the two Boer Wars obviously do.

I am most pacifist about revolutions and especially the American, French, Russian and Iranian ones.

But I am not a pacifist. There are just wars and war is a necessary evil. America was right to bomb Hiroshima (not Nagasaki). 

In my time, the Falklands War and the first (contra Edward Heath and Denis Healey) but not the second Iraq War were just. 

I doubt now if the Kosovan War was. I supported it at the time. I wanted what used to be called 'the Powers' to intervene in the Bosnian War, while Simon Heffer and his mentor Enoch Powell were opposed to interventions in the former Yugoslavia. At the time I was very opposed to that point of view, but now am no longer quite so sure. 

The Pope's new encyclical Tutti Frutti Fratelli Tutti, which was promulgated or published or whatever happens to encyclicals yesterday, says

It is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a ‘just war'.
Yet Pope Francis is an admirer of Abraham Lincoln, whose war against the South cost 700,000 lives all told, including people who died of disease, and he wanted Hillary Clinton to become President even though she had promised that regime change in Syria would be her top priority.

Here are some other opinions about pacifism.

Talk of world peace is heard today only among the white peoples, and not among the much more numerous coloured races. This is a perilous state of affairs. When individual thinkers and idealists talk of peace, as they have done since time immemorial, the effect is negligible. But when whole peoples become pacifistic it is a symptom of senility. Strong and unspent races are not pacifistic. To adopt such a position is to abandon the future, for the pacifist ideal is a terminal condition that is contrary to the basic facts of existence. As long as man continues to evolve, there will be wars...
Oswald Spengler


That Europe was still Christian except for its Jews, privileged survivors when the pagans were exterminated, but its very un-Christian central ideology was the Iliad’s: men love war, women love warriors. European wars over the centuries were fought by volunteers, whose urge to fight was far more widely admired than deplored, not least by women desirous of virile mates.

...As for the post-heroic ideas that have largely displaced the Iliad’s elemental prescriptions, they are varied and changeable and drifting right-ward of late, but among the better-educated anti-racism, feminism, post-colonial guilt, and a pacifist presumption remain the dominant mix, perhaps best exemplified by the Norwegian politician Karsten Nordal Hauken. In both a TV appearance and an April 6, 2016 article, Hauken proclaimed his own strong feelings of guilt and responsibility, because a male Somali asylum-seeker was being deported after serving four-and-a-half years in prison for rape: “I was the reason that he would not be in Norway anymore but rather sent to a dark, uncertain future in Somalia. … I see him mostly as a product of an unfair world, a product of an upbringing marked by war and despair.”

Hauken’s guilty plea may seem strange because he did not capture, prosecute, or judge the Somali. Yet there can be no doubt about his personal connection to the case: Karsten Nordal Hauken, self-described as “male, heterosexual, young Socialist Left Party member, feminist and anti-racist” was himself the object of the rape.”
Edward Luttwak in a fine essay in the Tablet, the American Jewish magazine, not the British (supposedly) Catholic one.


Pacifism will remain an ideal, war a fact. If the white races are resolved never to wage war again, the coloured will act differently and become rulers of the world.
Oswald Spengler


To state the liberal qualities, the manly wisdom, the public virtue, of our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, has been a favourite employment for declamation in a certain noisy assembly. Such declamation shows a deplorable ignorance of their character, their history, their institutions. They were neither liberal nor just; they were neither wise nor virtuous. On the contrary, every remaining record proves that they were at once the most barbarous, the most selfish, the most bloodthirsty, unjust, odious, and yet despicable, of the European nations; that they were destitute of all virtue, public or private. How such a horde of lawless savages contrived to escape mutual destruction by the violence or perfidy of each other, is a problem of impracticable solution.
S.A. Dunham, A History of Europe During the Middle Ages (1834)


I am a pacifist, but be aware that I also carry a gun.
M.F. Moonzajer


Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight,
But Roaring Bill (who killed him) thought it right.
Hilaire Belloc


  1. If the West has become pacifist how do you explain the extraordinary enthusiasm with which western countries have gone to war since 1945?

    There's certainly no trace of pacifism in the United States. How many wars has the US fought since 1945? I've lost count. And the US started most of them, and even in the cases where technically they didn't start them they were remarkably keen to get involved. Britain has been almost as aggressive. Australia has been enthusiastic about getting mixed up in wars even when those wars have zero relevance to us.

    It might be more accurate to say that western Europe has become reasonably pacifist but the Anglosphere has shown an enthusiasm for war that would have warmed Homer's heart.

    Outside of Western Europe and the Anglosphere Japan seems to be genuinely pacifist, and China definitely pacifist compared to the Anglosphere.

    And in the US the worship of the military is unbelievable. What's bizarre is that this adoration of the military and this keenest for war seems now to be shared by both Democrats and Republicans.

  2. As to why Europeans are producing so few babies....there can be no definite answer, because in each country and each region there seems to be a different prevalence and different mix of refusals: men’s refusal of the responsibilities of fatherhood, women’s refusal of the burdens of motherhood.

    Suicidally low birth rates are now found through the developed world and even in parts of the less developed world. There has to be a common factor, or a common constellation of linked factors. My assumption is that it's capitalism plus materialism plus urbanisation plus was media saturation.

    All of which leads to a situation in which there is absolutely no rational reason for people to want to have more than one child.

    Once one-child families become the norm people start to invest a lot in that single child. Investment in time and money and emotional investment. Which makes the thought of having a second child seem very very unattractive.

    Elites sometimes have larger families but that's because they don't have to do any of the child-rearing themselves. They pay poor people to do it for them. Which leads me to make an interesting prediction. If the supply of cheap Mexican nannies and Mexican servants is cut off birth rates among upper middle class Americans will really begin to plummet.

    I expect TFR throughout the developed world to stabilise at around 1.0.

  3. The goal of pacifism is possible only though a supranational organisation. To stand unconditionally for this cause is the criterion of true pacifism.

    That seems to be the goal of large parts of the American elite. World government, run from Washington. A global American Empire. Then we'll truly have the Pax Americana.

    It will be wonderful. Transexual bathroom rights for everyone. Compulsory antiracism indoctrination for everyone. Schoolchildren will be taken on field trips to gay bath-houses. A single peaceful global culture, based on Hollywood, American pop music and facebook. With Twitter and the FBI working in harmony to ensure the no dissent is possible. Universal surveillance. One language - American English.

  4. 'we are obliged to respect the right of all individuals to find a place that meets their basic needs and those of their families, and where they can find personal fulfilment'


    129. Complex challenges arise when our neighbour happens to be an immigrant. Ideally, unnecessary migration ought to be avoided; this entails creating in countries of origin the conditions needed for a dignified life and integral development. Yet until substantial progress is made in achieving this goal, we are obliged to respect the right of all individuals to find a place that meets their basic needs and those of their families, and where they can find personal fulfilment. Our response to the arrival of migrating persons can be summarized by four words: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. For “it is not a case of implementing welfare programmes from the top down, but rather of undertaking a journey together, through these four actions, in order to build cities and countries that, while preserving their respective cultural and religious identity, are open to differences and know how to promote them in the spirit of human fraternity”.


  5. Valentin Dmtv commented:
    The rules and consequences of war have changed quite a bit since the era when there was no conscription nor mass mobilisation – mostly mercenary armies or small republics’ citizen armies. The modern state placed in the hands of every adult man a voting paper, but also put on his back a soldier's knapsack (de Jouvenel’s expression).
    Equality before the law and popular sovereignty made the civilian populations too intertwined with the political apparatus and its wars, and caused the mass bloodsheds that were WWI and II. Prior to that, there was a “division of labour” among the classes which allowed an outlet for those whose raised (or born) to appreciate combat, while leaving civilians mostly unscathed (one of the superiorities of Christian Europe over Ancient Greece). The republican/nationalist state reverted us back to barbarity.
    I can see why progressives would desperately cling to transnational bureaucracies in hope that they expand enough to prevent more wars. Actually, the founding Christian democrats of the early European institutions wanted Christian humanism to unite Europe in a way comparable to the way she was united by Catholicism before the Reformation, though more centralised, more à la USG. It is, however, a matter of fact that the different cultures and even classes of Europe have only so much common beliefs and sensibilities.
    By the way, there are parallels between conscription and public education: the government taking control of the body and of the mind. The perfect coalescence of the Jacobin ethos. Which is why I have come to approve the switch to professional armies in the post-War era, and to oppose education outside of family and Church. From a more regionalist sub-ethnic perspective, it is the interests and values of the political class native to the capital that are represented in policy and imparted in education, which is why people from the countryside and the provinces should reject having their families' bodies and minds "conscripted" by the state.
    On the other hand, I also think that it would be merciful for the unsuccessful men in our society who can’t find a mate and dull their minds in front of the screen (so-called incels) to go to war and either die or become conquerors of both soil and women. Their way of life is more ignominious and dehumanising than death.

  6. Karl White commented:
    I would say the wars against Napoleon were very necessary, given his rampant egomania and lust for domination. Tsar Alexander I is a great hero.

  7. Caroline Macafee commented:
    Excellent blogging. Thanks for posting these thought-provoking passages. It's interesting to bring the Iliad into the discussion - that mindset is so alien to Christian civilisation, yet the classics were fundamental to the education of the ruling class until quite recently. It really points up the tension you're talking about.