We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The wonderful Kentucky author Wendell Berry wrote this piece a couple of years ago. There is much in it with which to disagree, but it is a point of view shared by many good people, presented by a fine fellow. I met him one time, and I have to say that I think he's the kind of rugged guy who'd be happy to shoot you if you came onto his farm and messed with his family. But he says not...I think. The view is not far from that of the RC Church, for which Life is the high sacred value, trumping all others. There is a conflict with other sacred values, such as human dignity and freedom. Remember the Brits in the 60's marching and carrying signs reading "Better Red than Dead"? It all comes down to the question of whether anything is worth dying for. The Pacifist might ask a different question: "Is there anything worth killing for?"
"... we cling in our public life to a brutal hypocrisy. In our century of almost universal violence of humans against fellow humans, and against our natural and cultural commonwealth, hypocrisy has been inescapable because our opposition to violence has been selective or merely fashionable. Some of us who approve of our monstrous military budget and our peacekeeping wars nonetheless deplore “domestic violence” and think that our society can be pacified by “gun control.” Some of us are against capital punishment but for abortion. Some of us are against abortion but for capital punishment.
One does not have to know very much or think very far in order to see the moral absurdity upon which we have erected our sanctioned enterprises of violence. Abortion-as-birth-control is justified as a “right,” which can establish itself only by denying all the rights of another person, which is the most primitive intent of warfare. Capital punishment sinks us all to the same level of primal belligerence, at which an act of violence is avenged by another act of violence."
Addendum: Another view, from a piece in One Cosmos:
This is why I consider Gandhi such an unqualified--you will pardon the expression--ass. The notion that violence is a priori bad or immoral is one of the most pernicious ideas imaginable. As I have said before, it is as immature, stupid and dysfunctional as the idea that your immune system is bad because of the violent manner in which it greets invaders. Pacifism is the moral equivalent of AIDs; it is like equating a compromised immune system with robust health.
Errh, no. Methings he doth protest too much that violence is a reasonable and necessary element in human relations. Is it, like good mustard, always appropriate, or like A-1 useful only in specific circumstances? Instead of reflecting on this difficult point you drift into defending violence per se. Bad logic. Ghandi was successful as was King because beneath the non-violence was the sense that violence was possible and that this was a better way for both sides. They were far more subtle than the commentator above.