The list of feel-good bumper stickers such as “Think globally, act locally” and “You can’t hug your kids with nuclear arms” should now be countered with “Nobody can afford ‘peace at any cost.'”
Late last year, four people who were billed as “Christian peace activists” were abducted in Iraq by a group calling itself the “Swords of Righteousness Brigade.” Around that time, Al-Jazeera, the Middle Eastern TV network best known for their “two-fer Tuesday” back-to-back airings of classic hits from al-Qaeda and any other unhinged spiral-eyed crazy with access to video equipment and a FedEx guy, broadcast a video.
On that tape, the terrorists from the SRB, a group name that must have been invented after watching one too many Superfriends cartoons, said they would kill the hostages unless all prisoners in United States and Iraqi detention centers were released.
Suffice it to say, that didn’t happen, and now one of the pacifist activists, Tom Fox, has been found dead. The other three abductees recently appeared in another video broadcast on, you guessed it, Al-Jazeera. Once again, the Arab television network fulfills its obligation as the Nickelodeon of nut-cases.
With Fox’s execution, the question as it stands now is, will the abduction and murder of peace activists change the minds of other peace activists and bring them to the realization that this battle is against people who also want them dead? Doubtful.
It would certainly make it clear that terrorists don’t care about the political views of pacifists — proving peace activists are simply a few in a long line of Western infidels who deserve death at worse, or are captive pawns at best. In all the nature shows I’ve seen, it never seemed to matter to the lion whether or not the gazelle was pro-vegetarian.
Judging from writings on his blog, which was updated nearly to the date of his abduction, Tom Fox was a decent, principled man with sincere adherence to his cause. Those who knew him or observed pacifism as he did may also believe that Mr. Fox died for what he believed in. I would venture to say that Tom Fox did not die for what he believed in — he died for what the terrorists believe in.
The sad but true fact is that there will always be evil, and it must be constantly repelled. The “peace at any cost” blueprint for global harmony almost always focuses on first eliminating the repellent. In this venture, they’re assisted, overtly or covertly, by the bad guys, like flies joining in the quest to ban cans of Raid.
If there’s something that should be gleaned from history, it’s that a nirvana of ongoing peace combined with an absence of strength is, in reality, a potentially dangerous goal, and it’s seekers should be viewed with the same skepticism with which you’d take tax advice from Willie Nelson.
With the abductions and executions of these peace activists, the “peace at any cost” movement is being taught a very unfortunate lesson. They are becoming the “any cost,” but that cannot and will not be followed by peace until the price is paid not by Tom Fox, but by those terrorists who commit these acts. Ironically, this can only happen if nobody follows the advice of peace activists.
Consider pacifism for a moment. Pacifists oppose all killing and refuse to use war or violence to settle their affairs. We all wish we could live in this world, but we can’t.
When I was a kid, a rudimentary economic idea sprang to mind: if everybody worked for free, everything would be free. This brief flirtation with quasi-Marxism at the age of around ten exited my head at the speed at which it arrived. Why? Because I realized how stupid it was at the same moment it occurred to me. Even then, I knew that if everything were free, nobody would work. Heck, it’s hard enough to get some people to work even when everything is expensive.
Pacifism is a similar belief, with a means that works counter to the ends, and is one of those beliefs that can only truly exist because of that which they stand against. There are more than two dozen nations in the world with no standing armies. Some of these do this to achieve pacifist goals, but guess whose phone is going to ring when trouble starts? Refusing a fight but having a complete willingness to allow somebody else to do it for you, so you’re free to continue to be a pacifist, isn’t true pacifism.
From all accounts, Tom Fox strove to be a true pacifist, and his unfortunate fate spells out why it’s so dangerous to espouse pacifism outside walls heavily guarded by that which pacifists stand firmly opposed.