Flashback: What Would You Do if?

It’s the age old question of pacifist, last January I gave my spin on it:

It’s the typical question that get’s asked of anyone who declares themselves a “pacifist.”

What would you do if someone was attacking your family (loved ones)?

It’s the magic card up someones sleeve to stump that said pacifist into agreeing that sometimes violence, and war, is okay and necessary. I’ll be honest this was a difficult question to handle when I first started thinking about pacifism. What made it difficult was the passage we talked about previously, “Love your enemies…” What suddenly happened was that now both the attacker and the victim are my loved ones. It’s like having to change the question to:

What would you do if your wife was attacking your father?
(or pick the two people closest to you)

Now I’m not so sure killing the attacker would be my pat answer. If I love that person I certainly wouldn’t want their death. I love the victim though as well and I don’t want them to die, so the situation is now far more complex then the original question presented.

For me, this question simply confirms to me that thinking as a pacifist, or rather, thinking about what to do with ‘killing’ not being one of the options.

So, What would you do if…

See the discussion that ensued here.

2 thoughts on “Flashback: What Would You Do if?”

  1. My usual answer is mace or a taser. To which the response is often that they don’t work every time (so my counter-response is that bullets don’t hit every time).

    Honestly though, it’s an unfair question. Whether you are a pacifist or not, or whether you advocate the ownership of guns or not, the question really is “What if the measures you put in place to keep your loved ones safe fails?” It’s basically like asking someone, “What if your gun jams?” or asking someone who puts their money in a bank, “What if some uber-hacker alters the banks records?” The truth of the matter is that both the pacifist and non-pacifist takes measures to secure their loved ones and both the peaceful and non-peaceful methods can fail.

  2. Richard,
    That was brilliantly put. I’ve never heard an explanation like you gave but I like it a lot!
    Thanks, I’m definitely using that next time.

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