Canary Beck wrote an article titled Hatred does not cease by hatred – hatred ceases by love. It is about the reaction of France to the attacks by ISIS. I am going to look at the ideas expressed in the article. I disagree with most of the thinking Canary expresses in this article. You can see if you think she or I see things as they are.
I find Canary’s article horribly incomplete. The presuppositions, biases, fallacies, and reality are unlikely to be pointed out by the politically correct. But, I am not PC… so… I’ll give you the other side.
Canary is concerned when world leaders express thoughts like France’s President Hollande did, We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless. One should be worried whenever there is talk of a war, pitiless or otherwise.
But, nowhere does she express a concern about ISIS and their stated goals. But she may not even know what ISIS’ goals are. After all Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, in speaking about the thinking driving ISIS has stated, “We do not even understand the idea.”
America’s President Obama refuses to use words like jihadists or refer to ISIS as Islamic, even when the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, gives a speech explaining that all he is doing is done according to and foretold by the Koran. ISIS = Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – The leaders of ISIS now prefer IS = Islamic State. The American President prefers ISIL = Islamic State in Levant (or al-Shām the area between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates River). So, that a significant portion of Americans don’t understand the goals and motivation of ISIS jihadists is understandable when even its name is confusing.
I agree with Canary that revenge is understandable. But I doubt she and I see revenge as the same thing. The desire for revenge is different from revenge and important to this discussion. Revenge is a noun and verb. The noun names the action of inflicting harm or pain on another for a perceived injury or wrong suffered. In general most societies are opposed to vigilante revenge/justice.
Canry uses an old cliché about revenge not being able to being back the 120+ that died at the hands of ISIS inspired jihadies. That ‘bring back’ thing is true. But, what is the emotion that drives people to take revenge? Whether you believe in a godless world and the hypothesis of evolution or a God made universe, to be rational you have to deal with the philosophical concepts of where that emotion comes from and why it is a part of us and what to do with it in an enlightened society.
Does the driving emotion behind revenge have survival value? If it does why should we ignore it? If God built it into us, again why should we ignore it? And either way, what is the enlightened human response to that emotion? What is it telling us? Those are easy questions to answer for the emotion of fear. And as Canary asks, how will revenge get us to peace? I can answer that one.
Canary says, “Revenge, however, is not an entitlement.” The idea of an entitlement brings up serious ethical questions. If we evolved there are no entitlements or rights but, if the desire for revenge enhances survival, shouldn’t we act on it? If God built it into us, hasn’t He entitled something or given us a right?
In the context of Canary’s writing the statement: ‘Lusting for revenge is not a true leader’s call to arms, it is a sign of an unskilled mind’ she is describing Hollande. That ignores that Hollande is a politician and most likely is playing to the crowd. I doubt lust is a factor. I suspect anger, political advantage, and a duty to protect the French people are the prime movers in Hollande’s words. An ‘unskilled mind’ at work it isn’t.
Canary makes the statement, “Retaliation is not a route to a more peaceful world.” She goes on to ask hasn’t history shown violent revenge is a failed political and social strategy? If we evolved, then our being here is prima facie evidence that something in this revenge thing is a successful survival strategy/behavior. Doesn’t going counter to evolution reduce our chances of surviving? Seems history and evolution answer it is successful.
For those a bit more philosophically enlightened, the history of wars and evolving city states and nations shows retaliation does lead to peace. World War II being the more recent example. Post WW II is one of the longer periods of general peace on the planet. The Edo Period in Japan and the Roman Pax are the longest known periods of peace in written history. What initiated those peaceful times? Basically eliminating those that would harm those nations by violent means.
Canary expresses the thought, “…instead we must acknowledge that misunderstanding, fear, hatred and violence are in all our hearts – and realize that acting from these roots only helps to sow more terror, more fear, more violence, and more danger, as we lower ourselves to become that which we seek to crush.”
I assume she thinks the reaction to ISIS is from; misunderstanding, fear, hatred and violence in all our hearts. Is that true? Or is something else from evolution, thought, or a God given nature telling us what needs to be done? Do you actually know a jihadie well enough to hate them? Or do you want them stopped?
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