Thursday, 10 November 2016

Lest we forget: "Without soldiers there would be no war"

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt.

He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is....

It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”

- Albert Einstein

So "Just say NO!" when some politician or businessman tells you to pick up a gun and kill.


  1. Your comments are incredibly hurtful, Mr, Russell.

    This is consistent with the thinking that, "If could all just get along, then ..... we would be getting along".

    Well, you have no idea what it takes to be prepared to go into combat, to train to kill those who would much prefer to pull the trigger first.

    If you had ever seen an active battlefield, which I would bet you have never done, you might appreciate how evil exists and can not be talked down, and singing kumbaya is nice but unhelpful. "They", do not want to talk, and they will never sit in a circle, arm in arm.

    Now, go and stomp on their graves.

  2. Dear Mr. Samery: As you can tell, I have no respect for people who kill. Any historian will tell you that there is not one war in the history of Earthlings that could not have been prevented if we had just used our hearts and heads instead of our spears and guns. That "I must kill them before they kill me" argument has been used to justify all manner of atrocities. People of all nationalities, races and religions need to find the courage to refuse to do the politician's bidding. Without soldiers, disputes between nations would be settled by two old fat heads of state exchanging punches in the middle of the parking lot of some luxury hotel.

  3. Are you suggesting that anyone who kills can not be using their head or heart? Then read "Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil". You will know that when she published this account of the Nazis's trial, like you do now, many attacked her for dismissing the existence of evil in the actions of the murderers during the holocaust.

    Whether there in fact is evil in this world, which by definition will not yield to intelligence or sympathy, or whether normal humans kill unthinkingly and without caring, there is no way to stop their aggression with the "head or heart", you need a bullet and someone who is prepared to sacrifice themselves to shot it.

    And without those "fat heads of state", you and I would be too frightened to have this conversation.

    You can not make something because you hope of it. Wishing away evil will not make it go away.

  4. Dear Robert: If I may, I would like to respond to your comment in three parts because, in my mind, you combine three issues.
    1. Killing: My post was aimed at soldiers since without them there can be no war. There will always be politicians, industrialists, interest groups that wish to go to war however they, and their sons and daughters, never do the actual fighting.Instead they send others to do their bidding. Mr. Einstein (and I) condemn those cannon fodders who march off to kill simply because they were told to. Nations - like people - often have disagreements but remove the gun and sword option and those disagreements must be settled non-violently. When's the last time you shot or punched someone you disagreed with?
    2. Evil: If we agree that the def of evil is "harmful or tending to harm esp. intentionally" (Oxford Dictionary) then I would certainly agree that evil exists. In fact, I agree with the 18th century philosopher Schopenhuer who believed that evil rests in all of us. And that it is only the trappings of civilisation, laws and customs that prevent us from committing the most dastardly acts (until the lights go off, or we become hungry, or tired, or run out gasoline etc) Bad people will do bad things - that's why we have the police. There would be no need for armies if the world would stop underfunding, understaffing, and undermining the UN Blue Helmets. Unfortunately that international police force has been hobbled by the superpowers who don't want the UN interfering with their military/industrial activities.
    3. Frightened: Politicians do not make us safe - WE make us safe. It is the collective power of an educated, proud, united people that keeps a nation - or the world - safe. Politicians are simply administrators of society.
    Bottom line: Until we earthlings evolve to the point that we stop hitting to get what we want we will always be "a silly people, a little people: greedy, barbarous and cruel" Lawrence of Arabia.

  5. You confuse evil with a need to gain advantage or simple to survive. The Oxford definition, which I looked up, uses your definition only 3rd in line. The first definition is "Profoundly immoral and wicked:". Wicked is defined as "Evil or mischievous by nature."

    If you know how to change nature, let me know quietly and we can go into business.

    In the meantime, someone who is wicked or has a wicked part of their character, will not be changed. I acknowledge they can be imprisoned rather than killed, but only if they can be caught and arrested first.

    When that is not possible or practical ie. when there are groups of evil individuals who overwhelm your police example, and when the are unrelenting they will not respond to intelligent argument they see as not resolving issues with "the lights go off, or we become hungry, or tired, or run out gasoline".

    Do you really believe that you would be helpful if you were given a ticket to sit at the table with the ISIS or Boko Haram troops, or even just the leaders the troops follow?

    I don't suggest you take that ticket, I don't suggest that you be anywhere close to those leaders or their troops unless you have a death wish.

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  8. Dear Robert: I used the third definition as the first two were useful (eg. defining evil as wicked) Human nature indeed does change - often under force but sometimes by choice. I am simply saying that we earthlings need to CHOOSE to not hit. And that choosing begins with you and me. Moreover, I always try to look below the top portion of an iceberg. With symptoms such as ISIS or Boko or Nazis or Segretationists - there are many factors at play - such as America being the largest arms exporter in the world... such as international oil, gold, and mineral company's interests... such as disease, famine and drought - often caused by the actions of industrialised nations. ISIS and Boko are the symptoms of a larger illness. Illnesses that are curable if we only use our hearts and heads.Peace

  9. We live in different worlds, James.
    These (evil), groups are as free to disarm as everyone else. Yet they see arms as their best solution. I get it.

    BTW, they come to that conclusion after everything else they have tried, probably including your suggestions for conflict resolution, have not gotten them what they want. That includes the things you mentioned earlier and the most recent complaints against America.

    Regardless of the trigger, this evil is responsible for it's own long standing choice of actions. How do you possibly speak to the countless men's families who are in danger of being the next to be drowned, burned and beheaded? They certainly can't be comforted knowing that the evil they personally fear will be addressed by you walking in front of them with intellectual and empathic discussions with the approaching death squads.

  10. Dear Robert: I does the world of intelligent, calm discourse a disservice when one side resorts to belittlement and absurdity ("the evil they personally fear will be addressed by you walking in front of them with intellectual and empathic discussions") As you well know, I never proposed such a scenario. I wish you well Robert. Peace.