Quote [48] – Peace, Military Commerce & Our Individual Choice

“The importance of securing international peace was recognised by the really great men of former generations.  But the technical advances of our times have turned this ethical postulate into a matter of life and death for civilised mankind today, and made the taking of an active part in the solution of the problem of peace a moral duty which no conscientious man can shirk.

One has to realise that the powerful industrial groups concerned in the manufacture of arms are doing their best in all countries to prevent the peaceful settlement of international disputes, and that rulers can achieve this great end only if they are sure of the vigorous support of the majority of their peoples.  In these days of democratic government the fate of nations hangs on themselves; each individual must always bear that in mind.”

The world as I see it
“I am very glad of this opportunity of saying a few words to you about the problem of pacifism.  The course of events in the last few years has once more shown us how little we are justified in leaving the struggle against armaments and against the war spirit to the Governments.  On the other hand, the formation of large organisations with a large membership can of itself bring us very little nearer to our goal.  In my opinion, the best method in this case is the violent one of conscientious objection, with the aid of organisations for giving moral and material support to the courageous conscientious objectors in each country.  In this way we may succeed in making the problem of pacifism an acute one, a real struggle attracts forceful natures.  It is an illegal struggle, but a struggle for people’s real rights against their governments in so far as the latter demand criminal acts of the citizen.

Many who think themselves good pacifists will jib at this out-and-out pacifism, on patriotic grounds.  Such people are not to be relied on in the hour of crisis, as the World War amply proved.

I am most grateful to you for according me an opportunity to give you my views in person.”

The world as I see it



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