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Old 08-11-2002, 12:19 PM   #1
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Peace Versus Righteousness

I was out at the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial this morning and Wash DC and saw a quote that got me thinking. Roosevelt said that if he had to choose between righteousness and peace, he would choose righteousness.

Didn't really sound right not me, so got me thinking about it and spawned some questions that I think would be interesting to discuss.

I orignially thought that I didn't agree with this concept of righteousness over peace. I then went and read "The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine" Theodore Roosevelt's Annual Message to Congress 6 December 1904 and broadened my view on this concept.The Roosevelt Corollary

1. When is the use of violence justified?
2. How do we know if our criteria is correct?
3. Are there different definitions of "Peace" as Roosevelt discusses?

I am sure there are more questions that can be spawned on this!
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Old 08-11-2002, 02:23 PM   #2
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Cool peace at any price, not

A few nights ago I couldn't sleep and so I turned on the TV. An evangualist was on, but after I started listening, it seemed pretty good.

His subject was peace. During the course of his lecture he said that we were expected to pursue peace "to the absolute best of our abilities," but not "peace at any price."

Then he gave an example of people that try to "act" peaceful all of the time. He said that they end up burying a lot of emotion until one day they can't contain it anymore and they explode!

Anyway, his lecture was quite long and invloved, and of course it was supported by scripture -- but the conclusion was that we should of course always strive for peace, but also keep in mind that in this imperfect world, maintaining peace is not always possible, and we need to be wise enough to know when things pass the point of no return. This may be as minor as breaking off a bad relationship or more major, like a fist fight or a war.

I learned a lot from that guy -- and afterwards I slept very peacefully.

P.S. I think that we can always be rightious, regardless of whether the situation is peaceful or not.
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Old 08-11-2002, 03:55 PM   #3
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Some people wnat "peace", some want to be "right-eous". I'd rather be wrong and have peace.

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
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Old 08-11-2002, 04:39 PM   #4
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well.. The peace of the heart and righteousness that comes from following the

Lord Jesus Christ is of a character that lets you walk and talk boldly when in him,

The world is the world and not a place of peace,but when you carry heaven in your heart,

you will bring that peace to the world -

it's an unselfish thing.

Jesus never said to be at peace with the world,quite the contrary,but to renew your heart in him and seek his peace.

Those who are of christian faith become righteous by rightstandig with God and the Lord, and thereby uptaining freedom of heart and action and speech to fear no war in the world but to praise the Lord even with bullets

flying around the ears - and be in his peace.

You may not believe in the heavenly army and angels and that heaven is a real and very active place ,but as a christian I believe that when I pray for protection of things and people I am activating these powers,see people come before angels in heaven,so what we as people do on earth is very powerful as

to bring the peace of heaven to earth.

Maybe this is the kind of insight O'sensei was trying to convey,it's just not an easy subject.

my love to you - Chr.B.
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Old 08-11-2002, 05:43 PM   #5
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I'd like to know Teddy Roosevelt's definitions of "peace" and "righteousness". Are people throughout Africa and Latin America, "peaceful"? They are certainly wronged in various ways. There is no peace without righteousness. If you sell your principles, or your integrity, physical, emotional or intellectual, you are not at peace. You are merely subdued. Please remember all the people whose messages of peace were truly righteous, and what other "righteous" folks did to them.
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Old 08-11-2002, 06:52 PM   #6
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Check out his speech at this link. He explains his definitions. You are asking the same questions I am posing.

Link to Speech
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Old 08-11-2002, 07:06 PM   #7
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I tend to agree with Lynn these days.

Many wars have been fought under the umbrella of righteousness. Religion and scripture have also been used as tools to justify action.

the U.S. actions against the american indians in 18th and 19th century is what I consider to be a prime example.

How do you define righteousness or better yet, when is violating peace or using violence to resolve conflict justified?

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Old 08-12-2002, 08:35 AM   #8
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I would prefer war to living under oppression.

Its easy for those who have always lived in a free society to claim that they would always support peace.


Last edited by virginia_kyu : 08-12-2002 at 08:38 AM.

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Old 08-12-2002, 08:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I tend to agree with Lynn these days.

Many wars have been fought under the umbrella of righteousness. Religion and scripture have also been used as tools to justify action.

the U.S. actions against the american indians in 18th and 19th century is what I consider to be a prime example.

How do you define righteousness or better yet, when is violating peace or using violence to resolve conflict justified?
Kevin, almost every philosophy has been used to commit evil and oppression, does that mean that all philosopy and religion or even every political idea is wrong? What you have to be careful of is those who use these ideas for their own personal power. It is men not religion that creates war.

If the war is fought in self defense or in defense of liberty then I generally believe it is righteous. And liberty sometimes includes religious principles.

I don't see the U.S actions against the indians as such a horrible thing, I seem to remember that the indians were quite good at making war with each other, conquering other tribes, and committing their own atrocities, I know because I am part Comanche.


Last edited by virginia_kyu : 08-12-2002 at 08:53 AM.

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Old 08-12-2002, 09:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Michael Neal (virginia_kyu) wrote:
I would prefer war to living under oppression. Its easy for those who have always lived in a free society to claim that they would always support peace.
I prefer peace and freedom. No one has "always lived in a free society". Some one has fought and died for that right. Yes, I will "always support peace", even if that means going to war and fighting for it. The two are not mutually exclusive, but truly interrelated and dependent on each other.

Until again, (and I hope there is never an again)

Lynn

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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 08-12-2002, 03:49 PM   #11
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Isn't O'Sensei's great vision to be able to find a way to have peace without violence?

I understand this is an ideal...but how do we get there? Somehow we have to find a middle ground and balance between using force to achieve peace and other measures such as creating cooperation and interdependence between people and nations.

Fighting in the name of self defense is acceptable, but where do you draw the line, and how much "force" do you use?

Defining self defense seems easy on the surface, and on an idividual basis it may be a little clearer. But in many of these instances we could simply walk away.

Where do you draw the line when someone is violating your "rights" or principles? (righteousness).

When is it acceptable to intervene on anothers behalf when we feel that they are being violated?

I know these seem like basis questions, I thought I knew the answers to most of them, but I am finding the more I read and think about things...I am not too sure it is all that easy.

As budoka, I think we really should think hard about "righteousness" when we should use our skills and how.

I think people in general (and the U.S.) are quick to escalate to full one atemi, before exhausting diplomacy.

It can be as simple as giving your wallet to a mugger instead of pulling a gun on him, or as complicated as attacking afghanastan to remove the taliban to induce true peace. (Many Afgani's would argue that they had peace before the U.S arrived there and started bombing!)

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Old 08-12-2002, 09:33 PM   #12
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I agree that it is not always an easy question to answer.

Quote:
I think people in general (and the U.S.) are quick to escalate to full one atemi, before exhausting diplomacy.
Actually I think the U.S. relies too heavily on diplomacy at times to its own detriment. I can't think of any serious conflict that has been resolved through diplomacy or could have been. Peace occurs generally when one side is defeated in detail.

Last edited by virginia_kyu : 08-12-2002 at 09:36 PM.

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Old 08-12-2002, 09:57 PM   #13
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I thought the cold war would be a good example, but then I realized that we fought several wars, Vietnam, Korea that were really a part of that. But in many ways we did avert war through measures such as economics sanctions etc that prevented a large scale war.

I think it would be hard to list an example, because if you avoid it, then you probably didn't know it existed as an option any way. How about the cuban missle crisis?

Our actions in Japan and Germany worked very well. We essentially showed them compassion. Same with the civil war. Frankly the success of the U.S. has come from the most part from the compassion it has shown it's defeated foe after the war was run. This has not always been the case in history for other countries where the dominated and oppressed or enslaved their vanquished foes.

If diplomacy did not work, then we would not be allies with Great Britan, France, Spain, Germany or anyone else.

I would agree that once you commit to war you defeat your enemy solidly and swiftly. There is no room for diplomacy in battle. This is why we lost Vietnam, and why we are still having problems with Iraq.

But like in Aikido, my point is that we should try to exhaust every other avenue of non-violence and alway look for the peaceful way out (without violating our core values or principles if possible). If that is exhausted, then defeat your opponent swiftly and throughly. Then pick your opponent up off the mat and help him recover!

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Old 08-12-2002, 10:01 PM   #14
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Oh yea, forgot to add this Michael..this is the imporant stuff from my post.

I disagree somewhat that peace generally occurs when the enemy is defeated. Not at all IMHO. Just because no bullets are being fired doesn't define peace. We do not have peace in the Balkans yet. They still hate each other (that is why we have peacekeeper there).

True peace only occurs when we create harmony and interdependence and understanding between people. War, bombing, etc will never ever create true peace.

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Old 08-12-2002, 10:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Our actions in Japan and Germany worked very well. We essentially showed them compassion. Same with the civil war. Frankly the success of the U.S. has come from the most part from the compassion it has shown it's defeated foe after the war was run. This has not always been the case in history for other countries where the dominated and oppressed or enslaved their vanquished foes.
Where are you getting your information from? Dropping atomic bombs on civilians is not my idea of compassion. Granted, you're referring to US policies AFTER wars are over, but Japan only had "peace" because it became America's little friend in business. Still today, Japan has economic problems stemming from being tied to America's economy.

Germany has only been a country for about 10 years. Splitting a population in half (ok, the Soviet Union was also to blame for that one) and choking a country with interests on loans they had to take, from the country that, again, had bombed innocent civilians in Dresden to "demoralize the nazi supporters", that is definitely not compassion.

When you fight a war, not out of self defense, you are dominating and oppressing. It doesn't matter if after the destruction you rebuild a couple of bridges or drop some supplies while CNN reports on the "humanitarian" missions.
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Old 08-12-2002, 11:14 PM   #16
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'I would agree that once you commit to war you defeat your enemy solidly and swiftly. There is no room for diplomacy in battle. This is why we lost Vietnam, and why we are still having problems with Iraq.' - Kevin

That's what you learn in war text books. The world would be a peaceful place if you completely dominated and vanquished all of your enemies.

And what problem is it exactly that America has with Iraq? With Somalia? With Afghanistan? With Palestine?

Who started the war first and for what reason? Why would any of those countries start a war with America? Whose peace is it are you fighting for?

America is trying to shape the world to what it thinks is the right way. It doesn't matter if that is right or wrong, it just is. More of the 'White people's burden'.

For what its worth. You didn't even prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Taliban was responsible for the attack in September. Yet the retaliation of massive bombardment left more than hundreds of thousands dead. That justifies 5000 thousand american lives?

This morality you speak of, is very lame indeed when the lives of non-americans are considered less valuable. But it is not unexpected. In the end, everybody is selfish. We are born that way.

Lastly, if I really wanted peace in this forum, I wouldn't have said a word. Instead I could have just kept silent, or even supported the previous discussion. Right or wrong, I've chosen to use my freedom to say something and in the end, I could cause an argument to start.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 08-12-2002, 11:25 PM   #17
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I hate to drag in an opinion from another thread, but peace results when you destroy your opponent's will to continue the fight. There was peace at the end of Vietnam because the cost in human lives (or at least American lives) exceed that which we were willing to pay. Peace in WWII has been pointed out above---atomic bombs and fire-bombing do wonders in making civilian populations decide it's time to quit. Some wars (perhaps eventually the current one) became too economically burdensome for the people to support. There is no peace in the Balkans, and may never be, because of so much past bloodshed. There is a lot of payback left uncollected there, and people are still willing to fight over that debt. I think we are fooling ourselves that a similar debt is not accruing in many Islamic countries. I sometimes wonder if we had spent as much money on medical care and educational opportunities in a variety of refugee camps and bombed out cities, as we have on smart bombs and bunker busters, if anyone would feel their only way to be heard in their otherwise bleak and pointless life was to strap explosives around themselves and walk into a crowded place.

Because we are large and until recently, so safe ans secure, I don't think we realize how deep the desire for revenge can go. After the Trade Towers, do most Americans really care how many innocent civilians on the other side may die before an open-ended war ends. And that was just one attack. Some countries have had hundreds more that they consider unjust in some way, and want to collect on.

I think even using 'defense' as a justification for war is difficult, it is not outside my imagination to see a time where one country can make war seem so inevitable that the other attacks first just so it can get one strike in. In fact, both the US and Iraq are portraying themselves as the one so threatened right now.

One last comment before hopping off the soap box: just because Native Americans fought wars between tribes does not justify our treatment of them throughout our country's short history. That is like saying just because we had a civil war, it would be OK for Canada to invade and occupy the US, round us up and put us in camps. Just my opinion.
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Old 08-13-2002, 06:53 AM   #18
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My $.02

Vigilance is the key to freedom.

Most Americans do not tolerate leaders who encroach on their freedoms. Both extremes of the American political spectrum generally get their ideological base from concerns over rights ("liberals" mainly collective rights of society and "conservatives" largely individual rights)

I practice Aikido because I find peace in the practice of it. If I am attacked, I will defend myself in the moral manner I have prepared myself for. I can not solve every problem with a gun any more than America can solve every problem with atomic bombs. So I practice and remain vigilant, as does my nation.

Our mistake in 1991 was to stop our ground war after 100 hours and standby to let Saddam fall. It is not the time to repeat that mistake.

One atemi does not make victory or peace.

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing
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Old 08-13-2002, 07:04 AM   #19
ian
 
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I think neither peace nor rightousness are necessarily qualities to persue exclusively. Both are social constructs used to control people, but this doesn't mean they do not have a purpose.

Rightousness is used to make people behave in accordance with a set of moral values, and induce guilt when this is not adhered to.

Peace is used to maintain a stable society and government.

HOWEVER when the situation changes and the moral values are inappropriate, the only place to look for a new standard is through your innate nature. Also, if you are have a corrupt government, I believe civil war is justified (otherwise the UK would still be a monarchy). However this is not based on 'moral' values set by society or fixed in stone. As we learn from Aikido, adaptation to the situation is more important than rigid rules.

(you may be able to tell I'm a Taoist), and here is a great Zen verse:

Most think that hating all that is bad is good,

What is bad is the hating mind itself

Ian

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Old 08-13-2002, 09:23 AM   #20
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Having been there, I can tell you no one ever wins a war.

Winning over an enemy through violence only perpetuate violence.

Einstein said that the type of thinking that creates a problem is never the type of thinking that solves it.

We have to change our minds, as Ian suggested.

The question fo me is, can two "rights" occupy the same space and the same time peacefully and still be different?

Don't get me wrong, I am flag waver and a protect you family and country kind of a guy. Been there and done that. IMHO, It may give us life and freedom. But it doesn't give us peace.

Until again,

Lynn

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Old 08-13-2002, 09:26 AM   #21
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We are at peace with those countries because we beat them, plain and simple. The diplomacy came after their defeat, not before and on terms of our choosing.

I am not saying that every situation warrants attacking our enemies. It depends how serious the situation is. I think 9/11 falls on the serious side but I agree that we must continue to be measured in our response. And yes our response has been measured and quite low scale to this point considering how many terrorist sponsoring nations exist.

If you think diplomacy will resolve the current situation just take a look at the diplomacy between Israelis and Palestinians over the past 50 or so years.

You can't have peace when there is one or more parties that do not want it unless you defeat them completely.

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Old 08-13-2002, 10:29 AM   #22
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Quote:
Lynn Seiser (SeiserL) wrote:
The question fo me is, can two "rights" occupy the same space and the same time peacefully and still be different?
Let me butt in and say that's when more than lip service should be paid to empathy, fairness, equity, and compromise. I like those concepts a hell of a lot more than "righteousness." "Righteousness" gives me hives, kinda like "Open Door Policy."

Regards,
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Old 08-13-2002, 11:41 AM   #23
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Quote:
Tom Grana (IrimiTom) wrote:
Where are you getting your information from? Dropping atomic bombs on civilians is not my idea of compassion.
Would Japan have given up otherwise? How many would have died if the US had invaded the mainland? All of them? That's nearly how it was on some of the Islands. Take a look at Okinawa and see if the bomb might be termed compassionate relative to what happened there. If you had your facts straight you would have mentioned the Tokyo fire bombing as well.
Quote:
Germany has only been a country for about 10 years. Splitting a population in half (ok, the Soviet Union was also to blame for that one) and choking a country with interests on loans they had to take, from the country that, again, had bombed innocent civilians in Dresden to "demoralize the nazi supporters", that is definitely not compassion.
Compassion? Again, relative to what? The Germans were the first to bomb cities. How many did the German armies kill? How many innocents died because of their race? West Germany wound up with a prosperous and vital economy. Did East Germany? Which was the more compassionate?
Quote:
When you fight a war, not out of self defense, you are dominating and oppressing. It doesn't matter if after the destruction you rebuild a couple of bridges or drop some supplies while CNN reports on the "humanitarian" missions.
I'm not sure which wars you are talking about. WW2, from a US perspective was a war of self-defense. Japan attacked first. Clearly that was a war of self-defense in a fighting sense. You could argue the oil embargo prompted the attack but then I imagine the Chinese would have preferred something more dramatic than an oil embargo on a country that had invaded them. In regards to Germany they declared war on the US. They had invaded and conquered several countries and were trying for more. Not getting involved would not have been very compassionate to those countries.

I don't mind criticism of the US. It's in vogue these days among certain 'enlightened' nations but in regards to WW2 there is nothing for the US to be ashamed about, up to and including the bomb.
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Old 08-13-2002, 12:42 PM   #24
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Thumbs up sad foreign policy

I'm an American living overseas, and I can tell you that the image of the US is not very good right now.

The first thing Bush did when he got elected was pull out of a lot of international agreements. He basically snubbed a lot of friendlies. And then suddenly he needed their help for his "war on terror."

With so much tension in various places around the world, he's just adding to it in a bad way.

Last edited by mike lee : 08-13-2002 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 08-13-2002, 01:07 PM   #25
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Re: sad foreign policy

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
I'm an American living overseas, and I can tell you that the image of the US is not very good right now.

The first thing Bush did when he got elected was pull out of a lot of international agreements. He basically snubbed a lot of friendlies. And then suddenly he needed their help for his "war on terror."

With so much tension in various places around the world, he's just adding to it in a bad way.
Are you talking about the Kyoto treaty? Who cares! I would rather other nations writhe with jealously over the long term economic success of the United States than sign a treaty that is designed to hurt the United States economy in order to advance the economies of socialist nations.

How does this petty economic jealously stuff compare to defending our nation against attacks from people who do not know what diplomacy is, only killing.

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