Alex tackles a tough issue in this post. His post reminds me of a question I had to answer when I applied for AFROTC. “Would I have been willing to pilot one those bombers that dropped bombs on Germany and Japan during WWII?”
Why that question? It was 1970. Overindulged flower children and a self-proclaimed morally pure news media had denounced war. Why? What principles did they adhere to? None that could be discerned. The pictures of the Vietnam War shown on TV were just ugly. War, as some have observed, is Hell.
Do principles weaken us? That is the question Alex tackles in his post, and there is no simple answer. I think Jesus addressed this issue in this passage.
Matthew 7:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
Do Not Judge
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
Why do some demand that “we” not judge them? Sometimes we render judgement inappropriately, but consider verse 6. Are we suppose to trust dogs and swine? If dogs and swine drop bombs and weapons of mass destruction upon our family and friends, how should we respond, by tying our hands behind our backs? Of course not.
What is the purpose of the law? The law exists to provide justice. Just laws separate those people who are willing to live by the principles the law upholds from those who will not. Just government punishes the dogs and the swine.
If a law allows dogs and swine to trample upon pearls of love and tear the innocent to pieces, then that law is unjust.
“All life must be protected at all costs/the individual is the most important” vs. “Do the maximum amount of good when the opportunity presents itself.”
When it comes to principles, I can really only speak for myself, but I suspect what I’m about to discuss is something that holds true for most people. We naturally hold having principles to be higher, that is to say morally superior, to not having principles, or to violating them arbitrarily. However, this can lead to absurdities such as guilt-ridden, suicidal cultures (see: most of the West right now).
Most people, I imagine, would agree that non-aggression is generally a good principle. Indeed, Libertarians and Anarcho-Capitalists have this enshrined as a core principle. Violence can only be used on someone who, in turn…
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