On Rejecting Extreme Pacificism and Fascism

Total fascism (the ultimate pro-war perspective) and total pacificism (the ultimate anti-war perspective) are equally untenable extremes. There are some cases in which war is necessary. The Nazi regime offers us an ideal case, for it was founded on an imperial complex, a need for constant warfare, and a disregard and indeed hatred for the lives of millions of people. Would the right thing to do have been to remain peaceful with the Nazis? To do so would be to perpetuate their extermination of millions and to ally us with their crimes. There was no way to talk them out of these crimes nor any other way but through force to curtail their campaigns against other European nations. Therefore, the best course of action was to counter their force with an equal cancelling force in order to be able to make peace possible.

In this case, war itself was a necessary condition for peace. From the existence of cases like this, as well as the overall desirability of peace whenever it can be attained, we should reject both extreme pacificism and extreme fascism and seek a Middle Way between the two which says that, on the whole, peace is desirable, but war is sometimes necessary if only to make a more lasting peace possible and save the lives of thousands or millions.


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