This might help clarify a post I made earlier. I don’t think I’ve ever really stated my personal beliefs on the way to peace.
My personal belief is that the surest way to peace is to encourage it as an individual decision to dedicate one’s life to discouraging a state of war. That would include using non-lethal self defense techniques unless absolutely necessary and taking a pragmatic but restrained approach to firearm ownership and usage; voting only for politicians who stress peace and de-escalation as a policy priority; withdrawing from identity politics, nationalism, and extreme religious views permanently; adjusting your lifestyle in small ways that are mindful of the issues that lead to today’s biggest conflicts, such as reducing oil consumption; and reaching others for the cause not by forcing their compliance through legislation and pressure, but by extending compassion, dignity, and fraternity to those who need it most.
If we show people that this can be a personal choice and a lifestyle rather than something that they have to be “for or against,” maybe more people will consider it and more people will strive for that. It could be a movement that makes people feel good about doing it without pressuring them to conform. This could restore empathy and compassion in a society that has some incredibly jaded ideas about emotional considerations.
This is why I feel that moral policing is wrong. It sends the wrong message, that the way to conformity and peace is to “follow the leader.” But how many leaders have we followed already, onto blood-soaked battlefields? We don’t need leaders. We need people who refuse to be led because they have a personal dedication to the cause of peace that they will defend with everything they have. When you make a decision like that on an individual level, you will cherish it and you will always believe it is right.
You know, even though it took a much greater investment of courage in the war to keep going on the battlefield (so much that even the bravest men often couldn’t give it), when it came to the amount of courage you had to muster up front, the conscientious objectors had to really have a thicker spine than we did. They were mercilessly taunted and most of us feared having our manhood, our courage, or our dedication to our king questioned more than we feared the bullets and shells. Had we known what we were getting ourselves into, many of us would have saved ourselves that horror and found a legitimate reason to be elsewhere. I was 38 at the time, and I went willingly. I could have easily waited another year and I would have been too old by the time the draft was instated in 1916. But I let Lord Kitchener do my thinking for me.
If another world war breaks out, I’ll be a conchie this time. I hope to help convince others to have the courage to do the same.