I am not interested in pacifism as a ‘moral phenomenon’. If [my critics] imagine that one can somehow ‘overcome’ the German army by lying on one’s back, let them go on imagining it, but let them also wonder occasionally whether this is not an illusion due to security, too much money and a simple ignorance of the way in which things actually happen.Beautiful. Simple ignorance of the way in which things actually happen.
That was the redux.
Here's the something new that caused me to remember it: I've started re-reading Lee Harris' "Civilization And Its Enemies". What an eye-opener this book is! Here's an excerpt from the Preface:
Civilized people forget how much work it is not to kill one's neighbors, simply because this work was all done by our ancestors so that it could be willed to us as an heirloom. They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish. They forget that to fight an enemy it is necessary to have a leader whom you trust, and how, at such times, this trust is a civic duty and not evidence of one's credulity. They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the enemy.We have some very serious problems with projection as a civilization, don't we?
That, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn't done enough for yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part -- something that we could correct.
Our first task therefore is to try to grasp what the concept of the enemy really means. The enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the enemy always hates us for a reason, it is his reason and not ours. He does not hate us for our faults any more than for our virtues. He sees a different world from ours, and in the world he sees, we are his enemy. This is hard for us to comprehend, but we must if we are to grasp what the concept of the enemy means.