Topics: War, Peace, Civil war Pages: 3 (1134 words) Published: May 18, 2014
“Malevolent Pacifism”

War is a hard thing to describe. It has benefits that can only be reaped through its respective means. Means that, while necessary, are harsh and unforgiving. William James, the author of “The Moral Equivalent of War”, speaks only of the benefits to be had and not of the horrors and sacrifices found in the turbulent times of war. James bears the title of a pacifist, but he heralds war as a necessity for society to exist. In the end of his article, James presents a “war against nature” that would, in his opinion, stand in war’s stead in bringing the proper characteristics to our people. However, my stance is that of opposition to James and his views. I believe that war, while beneficial in various ways, is unnecessary and should be avoided at all costs. James begins his proposition with a hypothetical example. There would be a poll for all of the US citizens to take part in. They would vote to either keep the Civil War in our history, or to expunge it entirely and replace that time with a period of peace. He claims that only a “handful of eccentrics” would opt to get rid of it. I find this to be a very valid point, however it does have a fundamental flaw in it. Knowing the consequences and events that resulted from the Civil War allows us to decide whether or not the war was worth the pain and suffering it caused.

Yet ask those same people whether they would be willing in cold blood to start another civil war now to gain another similar possession, and not one man or woman would vote for the proposition. In modern eyes, precious though wars may be, they must not be waged solely for the sake of the ideal harvest (95). To have a war for the sole purpose of having a war is ridiculous. Another civil war right now would hardly reflect the original Civil War and we would not be able to predict the consequences it might bring. All wars do not bring the benefit that James is looking for.

James agrees with the reflective apologists for...
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