Against Militarism but Supporting Military Families
This is a difficult and complex topic that I have been thinking deeply about for years….and am far from resolving within my conscience and heart. But I wanted to share a few thoughts because of the blog entry I wrote recently slamming the Boy Scouts for their newest forays into militarism. I want to be heard clearly that I am opposed to war and to militarism – but that I also feel nothing but compassion for military families and number many military people among my dear and respected friends. How do I live with what might seem like a contradiction such as this?
I am utterly and totally opposed to warfare of all kinds. I have nothing but contempt for the term “just war” and see violent armed action as being only in the interests of the powerful monied elites of this world. On a short-term level one might just about justify certain “conflicts” – but taking the long-term view? Never. As an anthroposophist who seeks to understand the development of humanity over the aeons and into the future, I see war as an outmoded, barbaric and wholly inexcusable activity at this stage of our shared human development. The stakes are too high – our very humanity is threatened by engaging in warfare.
So….how do I feel about military families? How do I feel about soldiers – in general and as individuals? This is where it gets complicated – this is where my assertions need to broaden out to take account of the complexities of human life. For although I will not compromise with my stance on warfare, when it comes to the actual human beings involved in such activities, I feel that I must allow for a whole range of thoughts and feelings. I have loved and love, respected and cared for many people who are or who have been soldiers.
And one of the most interesting observations I have made about military people I have known over the years is that some of the most up-standing, moral and honest folks I have ever had the privilege to meet have been ex or present military. Yet I feel more than ambivalent about what defines a large part of who they are – their relationship to the military (whether of this country or any other).
So this is interesting for me. I have not “figured it all out”. I cannot just say “well, everyone’s got to do what they believe in” – where does that end up logically when what we are talking about is not a personal choice that effects no one else, but a choice to take part in an institution which purports to stand for us all and whose actions effect us all now and into the future? Yet I also know that many people join the military for the highest reasons – love of country (being anti nationalist I have a bit if a problem with that one but I can see its higher side), family ties, wanting to serve. And I also know that many people in the armed forces hold on to those high ideals throughout their period of service and many, in their way, are able to live up to them.
Well…this is complicated. Very complicated. But I thought I would put forward a few very unfinished thoughts on this difficult subject – I was too aware of the possibility of seeming hypocritical to not hazard a few thoughts. I welcome others’ observations and in-put.
Posted on July 7, 2009 in Children and Society