From Warism to Pacifism

From Warism to Pacifism: A Moral Continuum

Duane L. Cady
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 145
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  • Book Info
    From Warism to Pacifism
    Book Description:

    Duane Cady views warism and pacifism as polar extremes on a continuum that embraces a full spectrum of ethical positions on the morality of war and peace. Realizing that he could not intellectually defend the notions of just-war theory, he found that he was a reluctant pacifist. In this new edition ofFrom Warism to Pacifism,Cady continues to expose the pervasive, subconscious warism that is the dominant ideology in modern Western culture. He explores the changes over the last twenty years-from the end of the Cold War to the ongoing "war on terror," as well as Barack Obama winning the Nobel Prize for Peace.

    Like racism and sexism, the uncritical presumption that war is morally justifiable, even morally required, misguides our attitudes and institutions. In its place, Cady proposes the development of a positive concept of peace. Citing common objections to pacifist values, he describes peace as something more than the mere absence of war and demonstrates that pacifism is a defensible position.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0313-1
    Subjects: Philosophy, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    D. L. C.
  4. Preface to the First Edition
    (pp. xv-xxiv)
    D. L. C.
  5. Introduction: A History of the Idea of Pacifism
    (pp. 1-16)

    Within a warist context, that is, within our own cultural context—where the moral justifiability of war is taken for granted—sketching the history of pacifist thought is tracking reasons for moral opposition to war and tracing grounds for morally preferring the conditions of positive peace, where social groups are orderly from within by cooperation rather than made orderly from outside the group by force. The effort here is not to delineate past events of pacifist failures and successes at resolving conflict, struggling against oppression, and defending the good life by nonviolent means. That is an important history, one especially...

  6. 1 Warism
    (pp. 17-30)

    Warism is the view that war is both morally justifiable in principle and often morally justified in fact. While this general view can be expressed in a variety of forms, the basic notion is that war can be morally acceptable and thus that alternatives to war may be entertained only insofar as they promise distinct advantages over war options. Pacifism, on the other hand, is the view that war, by its very nature, is morally wrong and that humans should work for peaceful resolution of conflict. This general view can also be expressed in a variety of forms; here the...

  7. 2 A Just-War Continuum
    (pp. 31-46)

    The old adage, “all’s fair in love and war,” exposes a value position on war that goes back as far as human reflection. This is the view that war brings with it a suspension of moral judgment; that war happens outside the moral order. This view about war is called “realism.” According to the war realist, war cannot be called right or wrong in any meaningful way; war is simply a fact. It is neither good nor evil but a fundamental state of nature in which survival itself is at stake and people do what they must to save themselves....

  8. 3 Means and Ends
    (pp. 47-62)

    War is never valued as good in itself; war has no intrinsic value. In fact, rarely is war considered good at all. Even when war is thought to be justified under certain circumstances, those justifying it do not claim that war is good but that it is a necessary evil or that it is acceptable as a means to some other end. While granting that acts of war generate suffering, destruction, death, dislocation, and other evils, the advocate of just war—the just-warist—argues that all of this can be outweighed or defeated by the ultimate good that can come...

  9. 4 A Pacifist Continuum
    (pp. 63-78)

    When cultural obstacles to taking pacifism seriously are set aside—or, at least, acknowledged—and when the moral reasoning of various warist positions has been explored, it becomes possible to identify and examine a range of views falling within the parameters of the general moral opposition to war as such. In this chapter I put aside discussion of the general pacifist commitment to cooperative social conduct based on agreement and focus attention instead on the variety of pacifist moral objections to war per se. This is done because pacifist thought, at least concerning the anti-war elements of pacifism, develops out...

  10. 5 Positive Peace
    (pp. 79-92)

    It is often said that the problem with the peace movement in the modern world is that it is just an anti-war movement. What is missing is a clear,positivevision of peace. Of course the same criticism can be made of those outside the peace movement; they too lack a clear, positive vision of peace. To existing powers in the modern political arena, “peace is the continuation of war by other means,” the time of intensive development of the techniques and technology of war.¹ Without a positive conception of peace we fall back into thinking peace is the absence...

  11. 6 Objections
    (pp. 93-104)

    Anyone who has taken pacifism seriously knows the standard objections to pacifism. Entertaining pacifist thoughts means being prepared repeatedly to face questions about reacting to a mugger and confronting Hitler as well as about being realistic, self-ighteous, and self-sacrificial. Cultural predispositions encourage an almost automatic response to pacifism, nearly always negative, often thrown out in a flippant or sarcastic way, suggesting that only a dupe, certainly not a thoughtful human being, could even consider pacifism.

    Perhaps the most effective forms of refutation of any idea are neglect and ridicule. Certainly these are the most common reactions to pacifism. Of course...

  12. 7 Implications
    (pp. 105-118)

    Warism is the norm in our contemporary world. Exposing and describing the widespread cultural inclination to presume a warist attitude on the morality of peace and war makes possible the consideration of a broad range of moral positions on war, from war realism at one extreme to absolute pacifism at the other. Examining the fundamental principles of the just-war tradition and describing varieties of just-warism allows us to understand the moral reasoning of just-warism. Through studying the relationships between means and ends in the morality of peace and war and by recognizing a range of pacifist views, we have been...

  13. Afterword: Nonviolence and the War on Terror
    (pp. 119-130)

    One of the ironies of nonviolence is that when its counsel is most needed the public is least likely to be receptive. Such was the case after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, when terrorist attacks on American soil took the lives of nearly three thousand people. Given the warist context described in Chapter 1, the American reaction was not surprising. The United States is a nation that takes war for granted; war is, quite simply, one of the things we do, and America prides itself on doing war well. Consider the reaction of Congress to the September 11...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 131-140)
  15. Index
    (pp. 141-145)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 146-146)