“I am for peace;
But when I speak, they are for war.” Psalm 120:7
Abraham Lincoln never wanted war, but he had to fight one. It is recorded that he was deeply distressed by the casualties on both sides; however he had to fight that war for patriotism and justice! Slavery is worse than war! If one considers Lincoln’s case, then Machiavelli’s prescription below will appear evil no more as it does at face value.
“A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank.”
I also agree with Machiavelli in the excerpt below that it is a blunder to avoid war. Look at the blunder caused by not taking the war to infectious diseases. Now we are on the back foot against COVID-19, and have even begun fighting ourselves. Such is the blunder of avoiding war in this case.
“a blunder ought never to be perpetrated to avoid war, because it is not to be avoided, but is only deferred to your disadvantage.”
“So they took the things Micah had made, and the priest who had belonged to him, and went to Laish, to a people quiet and secure; and they struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire.” Judges 18:27
I have written before, and I write again, that the mistake “good and peaceful” persons make, is that they think because they are minding their own businesses, evil persons will leave them alone. This does not happen, because life is war, and when at war, the only choice left is self awareness, and self defense (even when attacking for the sake of defense). The enemy has no intention of leaving you alone, at least not willingly. The people of Laish in the account above from the Book of Judges, were exterminated and even the name of city changed. Wiped off, except for historical records. Perhaps they forgot that life is war! They were living “quietly”, thus felt “secure”, but alas! They had “noisy neighbors”. Noisy neighbors never come in peace.
“For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful matters
Against the quiet ones in the land.” Psalm 35:20
“And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.”
In his open letter to Margaret Thatcher, during the time of his struggle against apartheid, the Nigerian Philosopher, told her in no uncertain terms that violence was an option and it would be those who didn’t want to take the offensive against the apartheid government that would be to blame. Here are some excerpts to then English Prime Minister Margaret Tatcher:
“We are all opposed to violence, other than in-defence… But most of all, I was dismayed by your lack of vision. You offered no action as an alternative to sanctions. You insisted that nothing whatever be done – even though in the final analysis you moved a little. There was no vision of a way ahead: simply a forlorn hope that P. W. Botha would experience a “Road to Damascus” converging on the road to Soweto…. I must tell you that many people around the world view your continued opposition to sanctions as displaying a misguided tribal loyalty and myopic political vision…. those who seek to minimise sanctions and their effects will have the blood of thousands if not millions of innocents on their hands and their consciences. My heart will be heavy but my hands will be clean. Will yours? Excerpt from Olusegun Obasanjo – My Watch
The Nigerian Philosopher sure does know how to take his war against injustice and repression, speaking truth to power, in a sublime way. Abraham Lincoln’s heart was heavy, but his hands were clean; we cannot say same for many who claim to love peace.
I will close by saying as you go to war (for the establishment of peace and justice), May you be described as Nicolo Machiavelli described Moses when he was examining the lives of some successful men. Hear him:
“And although one may not discuss Moses, he having been a mere executor of the will of God, yet he ought to be admired, if only for that favour which made him worthy to speak with God”
The Amateur Philosopher