The Path From Defiance to Compliance

January 24th, 2015   Submitted by Stephen White

ComplyThink of the beliefs you have which you hold most dear. How much will it cost for you to change those beliefs? Will you change them for a title? Will you change them for prestige? Will you change them for riches? We would like you to be compliant and obedient, so tell us what it will take for you to change those beliefs?

This kind of questioning doesn’t generally happen in interrogation rooms, but the nature of our world is that those in positions of power desire for you to comply, and they will help you toward that goal if they can. So, what will it take for you to sell out your most cherished beliefs, or those whom you care about? Those who believe in non-compliance as a method of changing the world should consider the non-compliant early Christians as an example. You can be changed and perhaps not even be aware of it. Christian history is a cautionary tale for those who would care to learn from it.

We live in a world where war is ever present. We hear it on the news, we read it in the papers, and we send our nation’s newest adults off to fight in them. For most of the past century Americans have been fighting wars. We involved ourselves in World War I, which was “the war to end all wars,’ of course all wars didn’t end. Not long after, we found ourselves in World War II. Then the Cold War started with the communist countries, which placed us into hostilities in Korea and Vietnam. Smaller “wars” were fought in places such as Grenada, Panama and the Dominican Republic, and there were many potential wars with Cuba and Russia.

In more recent years, we’ve had the Gulf War in Iraq, actions in Bosnia, and of course the “War on Terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan, which spilled over into Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and now Syria. In between all of these the American military has been involved in many other “operations” around the world. Our nation has not experienced real peace for a long time.

So, what should a Christian think about all of these wars? More importantly, how should a Christian act in response to war? Let’s begin by entering into our time machines and rewinding back to Old Testament days. This is where we will find the foundations that Christians build their thinking on.

We find many wars in the Old Testament. Generally speaking, the wars in the Bible were ordained by God in order to secure the Promised Land for His people, and to bring His divine plans to fruition. Beyond that, the Old Testament wars were wars against God’s people, which He allowed as a punishment for their sin. If God’s people went to war for their own purposes, or without God’s approval, they were met with disaster.

Deuteronomy 20 gives a list of rules for going to war. The Israelites were never to go to war to expand the Promised Land, or to conquer any surrounding nation, except by God’s command. God wanted His people to trust in Him. Therefore, human desire or effort to prove Israel’s greatness through military strength or acquisition was forbidden. There was not to be any nation building or “puppet regimes” set up to enhance the security of Israel’s borders. God was their protector. They were simply to trust in Him.

Now, let’s reset our dials and time travel to the days of the New Testament. Here we do not see examples of war except in the book of Revelation. There is little that can be used as justification for war. During the New Testament period the story was about love, peace, patience and how to successfully live the Christian life. The New Testament is about Jesus – the Prince of Peace.

After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, history tells us that for approximately 300 years Christians were mostly a people of peace. In The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, we learn that early Christians would have little to do with fighting or war. Edward Gibbon wrote:

“This indolent, or even criminal disregard to the public welfare (of not fighting for the empire) exposed them (the Christians) to the contempt and reproaches of the Pagans, who very frequently asked, what must be the fate of the empire attacked on every side by the barbarians, if all mankind should adopt the pusillanimous sentiments of the new sect?” [1]

At this time the general teaching of the church was against warfare, and history tells us further that many of the church fathers advocated nonviolence because they believed this to be the teaching of Jesus. For example:

A soldier of the civil authority must be taught not to kill men and to refuse to do so if he is commanded, and to refuse to take an oath. If he is unwilling to comply, he must be rejected for baptism. A military commander or civic magistrate must resign or be rejected. If a believer seeks to become a soldier, he must be rejected, for he has despised God.[2]

Early Christians attempted to remain peaceful people who did not comply with government desires to commit violence on the government’s behalf. But then something changed.

ChiRhoIn 305 A.D. before the battle of Milvian Bridge, the Emperor Constantine claimed to have seen a heavenly vision of the cross bearing a motto, “By this sign shalt thou conquer.” While this is not the cross of Christ that we know today, it is still an early version, or “christogram” of that cross made up of the first two capital letters (Chi and Rho) of the Greek word ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ (Christos) which equals Christ, and suggests the crucifixion of Jesus.

Up to this point, the cross had been a symbol of peace and reverence in the church. But when Constantine had it painted on the shields of his soldiers, and adopted it as the new symbol for his army, it suddenly became a symbol of war.

Not long after, Constantine gave many concessions and indulgences to the church in an effort to repeal the persecutions that Christians had been suffering until then. In the Edict of Milan from 313 A.D., confiscated property and meeting places were returned to the church. The hierarchy of the early church was greatly impressed and perhaps indebted to Emperor Constantine. As a result he may have become a great influence on the thinking and practice of the professing Christian church. The problem was that Constantine was a man of war and bloodshed. While there is evidence to suggest that he had become a follower of Christ, he also tolerated pagan religions.

Since the time of Constantine, whenever civic leaders have gone to war they have enjoyed solid support from the church, and greater and greater support from Christians within those churches.

It is important to ask: Why were Christians so unwilling to fight in wars or join a military for the first 300 years after Jesus was resurrected? Could it be that the early Christians would not have anything to do with war because that is what they understood the teachings of Jesus and the apostles to be?

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9

But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. Matthew 5:39

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven… Matthew 5: 44-45

But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Matthew 26:52

Some of these people knew Jesus and were His disciples. Many others may not have known Jesus, but may have benefited from the teaching of the apostles for several decades. Still further, many had this teaching handed down to them through word of mouth, or written and copied letters from their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Is there something they knew that we have lost, or have never learned? We need to remember that the Christians of this time were persecuted, and many died for their beliefs. One of these beliefs was that people who claim the name of Christ should be people of peace – not war.

One soul cannot be due to two masters – God and Caesar.  And yet Moses carried a rod, and Aaron wore a buckle, and John (Baptist) is girt with leather and Joshua the son of Nun leads a line of march; and the People warred: if it pleases you to sport with the subject.  But how will a Christian man war, nay, how will he serve even in peace, without a sword, which the Lord has taken away?  For albeit soldiers had come unto John, and had received the formula of their rule; albeit, likewise, a centurion had believed; still the Lord afterward, in disarming Peter, unbelted every soldier.  No dress is lawful among us, if assigned to any unlawful action.[3] [Emphasis added]

It is strange that the common teaching in religion today seems quite different from the practice of the Christian Church for those first 300 years. In the fourth century, Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430 A.D.), not only didn’t preach avoidance of war, but gave us rules for war in what is called the “Just War Theory.” Did the church finally give up their original stance and decide that as long as those who claim the name of Christ were going to take part in warfare anyway there should be some rules? Did the church cede ground rightly belonging to God to the politicians and the rulers?

Augustine believed that not all wars are justified morally, so he produced the following framework for evaluating whether or not to go to war, and how to conduct a war.

  • There must be a Just Cause, or a very good reason. All aggression is otherwise to be rejected.
  • There must be Correct Intention. Nations should not go into wars for revenge, or for conquest of territory; but only to secure peace among the combatants.
  • War must be entered into only as a Last Resort. Peace must be offered and diplomacy tried. Economic and other forms of pressure must have failed before war is entered into as a last resort.
  • There must be a Formal Declaration of war before hostilities may begin.[4]
  • There must be Limited Objectives. Complete destruction of another nation is an improper objective. War should only be waged to make sure that peace is the ultimate result.
  • When going to war there must be the use of Proportionate Means. In other words, the weapons and force used should be limited to only what is needed to stop the aggression, and secure peace.
  • There must be Immunity for Civilians. The military must be very careful to avoid those not participating in the conflict. In other words, the innocent bystanders whom we call “collateral damage” today.

Some may argue that these were just rules designed to pacify the objections of those Christians who still wanted no part of warfare. Or perhaps it was an attempt to make it okay to take part in military activities. One might say it was a form of gradualism that would bring the objecting Christian into warfare slowly and carefully. If there is any truth to that, then we need to look at the wars we fight today to see how terribly far we have strayed from these rules – very gradually – and ask ourselves how did we get here?  How do we get back?

In the 20th century there have been more people killed in warfare than in any previous century. But the 20th century was also predicted to be the “Christian century,” as genuine Christianity and American culture would be in harmony together. Can these two statements be reconciled? In the two world wars alone multiple tens of millions of people (military and civilian) were killed. The numbers vary depending on who is writing the history, but it’s very clear that our capacity to kill is greatly enhanced with each passing war.

Since World War II approximately 150 more wars have been fought with an estimated additional 16 million killed. Does the 20th century sound anything like the Christianity that was taught by the Prince of Peace? Does it sound like a “Christian century?”

Now, in the 21st century as we continue to see warfare around the world. We find that there are three major positions that Christians take on the prosecution of a war.

Pacifism – If we carry the name of Christ, we must live in the non-violent way that Christ lived. The world is violent and we should be different by following the way of Jesus Christ. As previously discussed, this would have been the position of Christians for the first 300 years, but it appears to have been mostly abandoned today.

Activism – Romans 13 says Christians are to submit to government, but does that mean government has a blank check? This position suggests we should assume our leaders have access to better information than we do. But should we trust the government’s judgment? Should we endorse it wholly? Should we obey immoral laws and take part in immoral wars? And why did Paul, the person who wrote those words, end up writing “prison epistles” later on? Were his words only for us and not for him, or is there something that is not understood?

A Middle Ground – The Just War theory would be a guide in determining which wars to participate in.

Only two of these positions leave room for a Christian to become a soldier. If Jesus is the Christian’s Lord and example, then there should be an effort to be like Him. If war is capturing, killing and destroying, does that fit with the nature of Jesus? Be sure to understand the difference between defense and offense – between defending your family or nation, and the other military activities that politicians and bankers lead people into for power, money or legacy.

A reader of the Bible will learn that human life is a very precious thing to God – so much so that God’s rules say if one takes a life he is to incur the penalty of losing his own. In short, society was to defend itself against such people. Further, we are told that in defending our homes we can be found faultless.

If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. Exodus 22:2

So, considering these things, it is important to understand that we do have a God given right to defend ourselves, but that needs to be carefully contrasted with being a warmongering people or nation. If we are “over there” as the song goes, aren’t we in an offensive/aggressive position? If someone from another city does violence to me in my home and then I chase him down the street and kill him – in the world we live in I will likely go to jail for murder. If someone from another country does violence to us in our country, and then we chase them overseas and kill them, why is this not also murder – writ large?

Christians must answer these questions. Does the government get to violate laws that are enforced on citizens? Are things that are considered sin for the individual suddenly okay when committed by a larger group of people callings themselves government?

If you call yourself a Christian, have you ever given your belief in war and military service a second thought? Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate this American Christianity that screams for blood, obeys every government call to military duty, and chants “bomb, bomb, bomb.” As one who follows Christ perhaps it’s time to return to the thinking of those early Christians, and refuse to take part in any more government war-mongering; to refuse to enlist in the military or send our children on any more missions of violence; to learn to live at peace and do good to our fellow man instead of chasing them all over the world. Yes, there is a time for defense, but that is not done “over there,” and it isn’t ever anything that we should sing happy songs about.

So, what has happened to that non-compliant Christian? It appears they may have been purchased with the promise of a free government education, housing assistance or even a paying job in a time of need. They have effectively told the government, I will kill for you (or support the organization that does) as long as I get something in return. Or worse yet, they may have chosen to kill as a form of patriotism, which is basically worship of the State. No matter what, they have given up many of their greatest core beliefs related to love, and peace. They have gone from non-compliance to compliance, and have certainly been tempted in that direction by the tyrannical state.

If Christians would read their Bibles (the book they say they believe) they might be surprised to find that refusal to serve a tyrannical government and their leaders is a very common theme in both the Old and New Testaments. Maybe it’s time for the person who calls themselves Christian to return to their non-compliant roots, and be more like Christ. Maybe it’s time to ask, “How do you reconcile being a warrior with following the Prince of Peace?”

 

[1] Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – Volume I (New York: Random House, Inc, 2003), 259-260

[2] Hippolytus of Rome – From Hippolytos “The Apostolic Tradition”

[3] Tertullian, On Idolatry Chapter 19: Concerning Military Service

[4] The requirement that America’s Congress must declare war has been adopted in Article One, Section Eight of our American Constitution, but World War II was the last time that requirement was actually followed.

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23 Responses to “The Path From Defiance to Compliance”

  1. Davi BarkerNo Gravatar says:

    I’m curious. Do you seen a parallel between the conflict between anti war Christianity and just war Christianity, and the conflict between commensurate defensive force libertarianism and unlimited defensive force libertarianism?

    • Stephen WhiteNo Gravatar says:

      Yes, I do see a parallel between your two options simply because people don’t all believe the same and will place different nuances and thoughts on every issue presented to them.

      When looking at people as a whole, I tend to draw a line with the extremes found on each end of the line. ALL people will be found on this line somewhere – some on or near the extremes, others somewhere in the middle ground.

      The line for your first example would have anti-war Christians on one end. The other end would be those of a pro-war mindset. The Just War crowd would fall somewhere in between.

      Likewise, unlimited defense libertarians would be one extreme – non-defense libertarians on another extreme with the commensurate defense folks somewhere in the middle ground.

      People will move left or right on those lines throughout their lives – usually depending upon who does the best job presenting convincing arguments to them. In our world of war, our governments have the greatest advertising budgets, so it shouldn’t be any wonder that most Americans are war supporters.

      As long as there’s an idea or a cause out there, we’ll argue about it and place ourselves somewhere on that line. Maybe the goal should be to get off of the line completely and present an argument that makes even more sense.

  2. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    you used the words “we” and “us” a lot even though you can’t possibly be old enough to be part of the “we” who lived during WWI. Historically people identifying as Christians have engaged in warfare. When people think that the god they believe in told them that land others are living on belongs to them, there will be war. The fact is many Christians have supported war and will continue to do so and will use the book called the Holy Bible to justify support for war. During WWI most of the war supporters and soldiers on both sides were Christians. During WWII Hitler considered himself a Christian and there are many photos and films of Hitler in churches and even Hitler praying in churches. Religion should not be used to argue whether a war or war period is justified or not. The reason is because religion is not based on reason and the justification or lack of for a war or war itself does not depend on religious beliefs. The case for or against a war or war itself should be made based on secular morality or what I call morality because morality does not depend on religion or what is written in a so called holy book and thus there is morality period that is not based on religious beliefs.

    • Stephen WhiteNo Gravatar says:

      “We” and “us” = America in the issues you raised. You are correct, I’m not old enough to have those words apply to me.

      You are also correct that many people identifying as Christians have engaged in and supported warfare – and likely will continue to do so. But you also correctly used a word in your sentence – that being “identifying.”

      Just because someone “identifies” themselves as a Christian doesn’t mean they are. There is a great deal of mis-understanding about what a Christian is. Many think they’re Christian because they’re not Jewish. But that just makes them gentiles – not Christians. Many think they’re Christian because they were born in a supposed Christian nation, but people aren’t born Christians, they become Christians. Many think they’re Christians simply because they’re good people, but that just makes them good and perhaps moral people – not necessarily Christians.

      I can “identify” myself as a Chevrolet. I can live in the garage, lube myself up regularly and make engine noises, but that still doesn’t make me a Chevrolet.

      You can know Christians by their fruits (works). The fruit that Hitler and his ilk produced was exceptionally evil by nearly any standard – they were likely NOT Christians. The fruit that the churches of that day produced was cowardice (with a few exceptions), so their Christianity can legitimately be questioned.

      I might also mention that nearly all politicians call themselves Christians, but show no evidence of it at all. They are just fishing for votes from gullible people who want very badly to believe.

      A Christian is a follower of Christ – in the same way that a Buddhist is a follower of Buddah. A follower of Christ will want to be like Christ, and the Bible doesn’t seem to offer much in Christ’s teaching that allows the Christian to be a warrior. Therefore, it seems like the fruits of a true Christian would be peaceful.

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        Religion in general and Christianity is an example of the No True Scotsman Fallacy.
        There are many denominations of Christianity and many claim that they are “true” Christians and others who do not believe as they do are not Christians even though they say that they are and that others are not. That is why I used the word “identify”. The way I see it with so many different groups of people who say that they are Christians the term is unidentifiable. I make no distinctions. I consider all them to be Christians because the word can not be defined with so many different people claiming to know what the definition is who disagree with others who also claim to be Christians. I am an Atheist so it makes no matter to me. It is not up to me to figure out the definition of Christianity or Islam for that matter either. I see no reason to believe that a person who is a “Christian” would be any more peaceful than one who does not claim to be a Christian. According to the bible Jesus that he did not come to bring peace but came with a sword so perhaps a follow of Christ would hold to that view. You will probably claim that I don’t understand that verse or have taken it out of context because that is typical what Christians do you point out things in the bible to them. This is why there are so many denominations. People make up their own interpretations to suit them and their particular sect. So it really doesn’t matter what a holy book says because people can not agree on the meaning. After all the bible is a collection of writings that ignorant men who lived in the desert during the Bronze Age wrote on scrolls and at some point around the 3rd or 4th century it was decided that only 66 of the hundreds and perhaps thousand or more books on scrolls were going to make of the holy book and the rest can be ignored. Btw, from time to time more of these ancient scrolls are found hidden in caves in the Middle East and Far East.

  3. JohnNo Gravatar says:

    My summary: humans are very dumb.

  4. Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

    Hard to know where to start on this one. First of all, the term “Christian” appears three times in the Hebrew Book — each time more-or-less of a derogatory expression. Never do lead players (Shauel (“Paul”), Barnabas, John, Peter et al., greet or refer to each other as “Christian”. It appears that none would wish to be so identified.

    But it is used with abandon within religiosity today.

    Reflecting on reference to Gibbon’s work, he alluded to and pointed out how “Chr-stians” of this time ended up with celebrations such as “Easter”, “Chr-stmas”, etc. It’s almost funny (if it weren’t tragic): people identifying (that is a correct identifier, I think — pun intended) as “Christians” tend to say something like, “well, we’re a New Testament Church! The Old Testament is done away!…” (with no authority whatsoever for that declaration).

    So here we have them celebrating “good” Friday. One might think that would be the designation for the day after that rather bizarre event called “Thanksgiving”. But no, they’ve come up with “black” Friday for that one, which might be more of an appropriate selection for that presumed day the Messiah was murdered. That would be in keeping with the racist idea that “black” is “bad”, which is not my idea or subscription, by-the-way.

    So religionists attempt to fit the Good Friday – Easter Sunday practice into Joshua’s somewhat cryptic but very definitive declaration that the whole she-bang is out of whack time-wise. Religious “scholars” will stand up, sit down, scratch their butts and come up with all kinds of highly intellectual and indecipherable explanations for that one.

    Now, nobody argues, for instance, that murder, theft, rape, incest, etc., are “wrong” — but never seem to be able to state why those things are “wrong”. They’re just….wrong.

    On the other hand, there is often disagreement and infighting among Sunday-keepers with those who choose to “keep a sabbath day” from say, Fri-day (ever wonder how Pagan names got plastered onto days of weeks?) sunset to “Saturn-day” sunset. “…Oh, that’s legalism! That’s all been made obsolete by the ‘New Testament’…!”).

    So, it is easy to understand how church goers were weened over to Statolatry, nationalism, and war.

    Constantine was an interesting character. He was a warrior. He later claimed “conversion”. He crowned the first Pope who was crowned (previous Popes were not crowned). He set the precedence of Roman emperors crowning Popes (although Popes often crowned Roman emperors on down the line — sometimes one crowning the one, then he crowned the other — in a sort of quid-pro-quo). Constantine brought about in short order a rather amalgamation of religiosity, rank paganism and rulership.

    A general concordat , assuring that wars could be carried out without dissension. Praise-The-Lord-And-Pass-The-Ammunition.

    It’s not hard to understand how anarchists eschew religion.

    But “atheism”? How crude when you think about it. Another subject for another thread.

    Sam

  5. Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

    My journey into anarchy (a continuum, not a destination [I think]) has eliminated certain terms from my vocabulary. “Morality” is one of them. And Dillahunty did a nice job covering that without my extremist rant. “Rights” is another. Each implies (to my way of thinking) something either imposed upon or expected from others.

    As is normal for me (why I seldom accomplish much in my dotage), I found myself looking over the sidebar menu and clicking this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ExAsZ7Yyd4

    A lengthy but interesting “panel discussion” (the moderator made it clear it was not to be a “debate”) between Atheists and Mormons (at a Mormon school). Each is entitled to his or her belief, neither should attempt to impose beliefs upon others.

    I join neither side of such a “debate”, but found the “panel discussion” somewhat interesting. Sam

  6. Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

    Stephen White:

    “…If Christians would read their Bibles (the book they say they believe) they might be surprised to find that refusal to serve a tyrannical government and their leaders is a very common theme in both the Old and New Testaments. Maybe it’s time for the person who calls themselves Christian to return to their non-compliant roots, and be more like Christ. Maybe it’s time to ask, “How do you reconcile being a warrior with following the Prince of Peace?”…”

    I went off on one of my “rants” without carefully reading your essay to the end, Stephen. An excellent treatment of Chr-stianity and war. You and Lawrence Vance should get together.

    I have often observed that one who genuinely places credence in the Hebrew Book (usually called the “bible” by the religious) could be nothing OTHER than anarchist. It’s eerie nowadays when I think of it — how the hoi polloi are propagandized endlessly to assuage guilt through celebrations of war, parades, etc.

    The enormity of the truth is incredible. Sam

    • Stephen WhiteNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for “reading to the end” Sam!

      It’s very discouraging for a writer when folks miss the point and go off on a “rant” as you called it, or use the venue for attacking what others believe. I’m glad you found the point of the article in the last sentence and wrote again to say so.

      There are tens or perhaps hundreds of millions of people around the world who call themselves Christian. But in America, while they talk the talk, they quite often don’t walk the walk. Wouldn’t it be something if they all practiced peace like the person they claim to follow?

      Thank you again!

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        Uh, I’m sure there are Christians who would claim that you don’t walk the walk. Like I said it is the No True Scotsman Fallacy. Btw, if Jesus existed he supposedly was a Jew not a Christian and the bible says he came to bring peace but came with a sword.

  7. Nikos SakkasNo Gravatar says:

    Stephen, in my view Christians followed the Jewish paradigm. These also preached tolerance and non violence as long as they were under tough Egyptian rule; later, when they became a proper state, a growing state, they sort of forgot their previous legacy. Then, they turned into mighty and unforgiving warriors; the Old Testament, is unparalleled when it comes to killings, rapes, etc.; I have kept aside some quotes (can easily refer to) that made me come close to vomiting. All, of course, in the name of God.

    So, I think an approach to your underlying question is that “being weak makes one preach non violence”, “being strong makes him practice violence”. Human nature rather than Christianity.

    I think this runs through history. Only in modern times I see some notable exceptions; I do believe the US has created a new paradigm, in the sense that a superpower for the first time in history does not feel obliged to use ALL of its military power. And I’ m really happy to see this emerging as a global pattern. China is adopting the concept of trade rather than true war.

    And that, I believe, is really good news!

    • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

      How about the US government and military rebuilding Japan after the empire of Japan surrendered? That was unheard of in the history of warfare. Had the empire of Japan nuked the USA I don’t think they would have rebuilt the damage they inflicted and left the US government intact.

      Austin 3:16

      • Nikos SakkasNo Gravatar says:

        truly remarkable, I completely agree. Breakthrough moments. which don’t trace back to religion I believe. Its rather a new blend of capitalism, democracy and a global and long term view on things.

      • TomNo Gravatar says:

        Japan bombed US ships and planes for 2 hours on a US stolen Island over 2 thousand miles from the US, then left; and they were never a threat to the US.
        The US responded by firebombing 67 Japanese cites and nuking 2 more. You have who the barbaric party was very wrong.

        Furthermore, governments and militaries do not rebuild countries.

        • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

          When a military attacks another country’s military the attackers are a threat to the country they attacked. The empire of Japan decided to wage war against the US by attacking the US Navy at Pearl Harbor. The empire of Japan prior to waging war against the US had a recent history of engaging in acts of aggression and war against other countries and lands who posed no threat to the empire of Japan such as Berma, Mancheria (sp?), Korea, Nanking, parts of China, etc… The fact is that the empire of Japan was a blood thirsty empire that invaded and waged war for no reason other than political conquest, the desire to bully people, and theft of land. The US government and military did rebuild Japan. This was rare because that almost never happens when a military and country defeats an enemy. I suggest you read some history about it. In fact there is a recently made movie staring Tommy Lee Jones as General McArthur about this subject. it was the empire of Japan that was a barbaric party. When the army of the empire of Japan invaded Nanking the Japanese soldiers tortured, raped, and killed the women of Nanking. There are unintended consequences to actions often. The unintended consequence for the empire of Japan’s decision to go to war with the US is that Japan was firebombed and nuked. They brought it upon themselves by going to war with the US. It is like someone hitting a bee hive with a stick and getting attacked by bees. The bees would have left them alone but they decided to agitate the bees and they got stung because of that.

          ” I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” – Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor)

          • TomNo Gravatar says:

            It’s totally collectivist and statist thinking to conflate the rulers of Japan with the residents of Japan, as you’re doing. The Japanese, 6,000 miles from the US, whose property and persons were bombed by the US on a grand scale, didn’t order the bombings on Pearl Harbor. You clearly don’t recognize individual rights. And the fact is Japan didn’t have the means to even take a small California town, if hypothetically, they wanted to. That’s far from posing a threat. The historical fact is Roosevelt wanted an incident that would stir up enough Americans to allow him to get the US into the war, and he did everything he could to incite it.

            Furthermore, what you leave conveniently leave out of your war propaganda is the fact that the US and its allies Britain, France, and the Dutch, long had colonies in Japan’s neighborhood, and had kept the resources of them, especially oil, off limits to resourceless Japan, in order to keep them economically dependent on the US. Also, the US was an ally of China who Japan was at war with.

            In order for one to believe the US government and military rebuilt war decimated Japan, a country with a population of 80 million in 1948 and growing, one has to think highly of the capability of the state and military to do good and cause economic growth. That’s far from an anarchist point of view. Even a socialist can’t seriously try to argue that the US rebuilt Japan because they received no money from the Marshall Plan (and, btw, Germany received very little money from the M.P.). Regarding the movie you mentioned, Hollywood and Al Gore’s friend Tommy Lee are in the business of producing fiction, and the Pentagon and Hollywood have long had a cozy relationship in that endeaver.

            Regarding “unintended consequences”, here are 2 big ones. First, 5 years after WWII ended, the political vacuum left by Japan’s destruction allowed the Communists to take over China, the most populous country in the world; and among the numerous horrible consequences of that to the lives of their and other people of that region in the following decades, was tens of millions of Chinese dying do to bad central planning calculations. Second – “war is the health of the state”- the decimation of Japan and the war in Europe required a massive expansion of the US state and empire, much of which was permanent; and all of which necessarily caused a major loss of individual liberty.

            • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

              I have not conflated the rules of Japan wit the residents of Japan. I thought I had made that clear by referring to the “empire of Japan” but apparently that was not clear to you. When I state the ” EMPIRE OF JAPAN” I am referring to the state of Japan which was an empire. Whether or not the empire of Japan could have “taken” a small town in California is irrelevant. The empire of Japan attacked the US navy at Pearl Harbor and by doing so declared war on the USA. I am not a pacifist and I believe that the people of a country has the right to defend their country from a military that has attacked their country. The empire of Japan was the aggressor. I am aware that FDR wanted a war with the empire of Japan but regardless of that the attack on Pearl Harbor by the empire of Japan was unjustified. The empire of Japan was the aggressor because the empire made a military attack first. What you have failed to accept is the fact that the empire of Japan was an aggressive blood thirsty empire that waged war for no reason other than political and economic conquest. I urge you to study the 19th and pre-WWII 20th century of the history of the empire of Japan. The soldiers of the empire of Japan invaded Nanking and raped and murdered vast numbers of the women of Nanking. Many of the soldiers of the empire of Japan supported the warmongering blood thirsty empire of Japan and believed it was ok for them to invaded, pillage, rape and murder people in other countries. There were Japanese soldiers who were so fanatical in their support for the state of Japan that they willing sacrificed themselves in order to kill soldiers of other countries. I am referring to the Kami Kazis. As for the communist taking over the state of China, the empire of Japan had no business and right to rule China. How you can justify the empire of Japan ruling the Chinese people because without them the communists in China would is bizarre . That is the way interventionists justify their desire for interventionism. I am not an interventionist. War is the health of the state and that applies to the empire of Japan which waged war in Manchuria, Berma, Korea, Nanking, China, the USA, etc…

              • Nikos SakkasNo Gravatar says:

                I think Tom is right in most of his statements (“It’s totally collectivist and statist thinking to conflate the rulers of Japan with the residents of Japan”) however the initial point made by HRearden was that rebuilding Japan was something unique in history which I also absolutely true and very remarkable.

                This said, I think this thread is moving in a direction totally irrelevant to the article.