Originally published in the Florida Student Philosophy Blog
As a political philosopher, I believe that one of my tasks is to reduce complicated issues to basic principles. Hence this graphic. It represents my conclusions on the opposing ideas of war and peace. While war is sometimes necessary, and peace is often sought after, it seems to me that in this world neither are optimal. Instead, I propose that freedom and debate are the ideal.
Moving to the left from that ideal, one begins by being limited to petition and litigation. This is still a right, but the decision to act is taken from the people and ceded to the courts or to the government. When a society freely acquiesces to such policies, oppression cannot be far behind. The individual spirit although subjugated, may yet not be crushed.
By a process of reason or psychological coercion, submission will eventually occur, and peace reigns. Submission is sometimes imperative, as in marriage where there can be no peace unless both parties agree to be submissive one to another, irrespective of whether or not there is a designated head. All should know that when Christ returns “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” for it will at last become clear that submission to God is our last hope. But while submission is optimal in these cases, I think it counterproductive in civil politics.
On the other side as we move away from freedom and debate we encounter protest, the first option of those who feel marginalized or disenfranchised. Should this prove ineffective it gives way to sabotage. Groups of Frenchman who go around destroying traffic cameras that are used to issue speeding tickets have become folk heroes and many are sympathetic to their quest. But acts of sabotage in desperation may degenerate into acts of terror directed at legitimate, or more tragically, innocent illegitimate targets. Finally, no recourse remains except an all out war. Thus, it behooves men of good will to at all times do whatever is within their power to encourage their fellows, even those with whom they disagree strongly, to come back to the table and reason together.
While theoretical, these issues seem pertinent to the current political landscape.