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Old August 21st, 2005 #1
Senior Goatly One
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Hillsboro, West Virginia
Posts: 1,302
Default When is war a good thing?

When is war a good thing?

Some purposes are morally better than others.

For example, there are good reasons for fighting, as well as bad ones.

In a fight between two men, it is seldom the case that both of them are equally at fault. More likely, one of them started it, and the other was forced to defend his honor, his property, or his wife.

If the purpose of one of the men was to rob the other man of his wristwatch, his purpose was an evil purpose, and his use of force to achieve it was morally wrong.

On the other hand, the man who defended his right to keep his property had a good purpose, and his use of force to achieve it was morally right.

If a third man joins the fight, his purpose is evil if he joins the robber, but his purpose is good if he assists the intended victim.

The same can be said of a fourth man, and of a fifth, and so on, no matter how many others join the fight. For each of them, there is a clear moral assignment to their purpose: good or evil.

The rightness or wrongness of a purpose is separate from the number of people who join to achieve it. It is also separate from the degree to which they organize in pursuit of it.

War is not an exception.

Evil doers will lie about the moral assignment proper to their purpose. A robber will assert that the watch was originally his. Failing that, he will assert that the watch was owed him by a prior agreement with the victim. Failing that, he will assert that he should have the watch in compensation for the poverty of his situation, as compared with that of his victim. Etcetera. It is nearly always in the interest of the evil party to obscure, to cloud the moral considerations that are relevant to a moral question.

The tendency of evil to lie about the morality of a conflict does not vary with the size of the conflict. Those who wage war for an evil purpose will lie for their side, or they will repeat the lies told by their leaders - perhaps even believing them. But the signal of evil remains the lie. To find the falseness is to find the corruption.

War fought for the right reasons is man's most moral activity. War fought for the wrong reasons is the most immoral. But not one man in a thousand would know the right reasons from the wrong ones because of the political distance between himself and the intelligence by which the decision for war was made.

Morality does not decide who wins a conflict. Good does not always defeat evil. Each side has only the powers which their advocates put in its service. Where there is war, it is certainly possible that evil will triumph. When the real question for which the war is fought is larger than the war itself, and if evil wins, the lies may continue even long after the war has ended.

Jerry Abbott


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