Friday, July 28, 2006

The nationalist temptation
The end doesn’t justify the means
John Howard Yoder argues that the rise of the secular state resulted in the values of "national survival" becoming paramount in thinking about war. Whereas for Christians it was considered preferable to suffer rather than sin, this makes less sense in the context of a materialistic worldview. Once reasons of state became the driving force in national policy, self-imposed restraints during war started to seem irrational. If this life is all there is, then using whatever means seem necessary to protect and prolong it makes more sense. Thus a more consequentialist outlook came to prevail. This obviously has implications beyond questions of war and peace; it's reflected in debates about using human life in medical research, for instance.
From Verbum ipsum.

P.S. Ad Orientem, in the bar-fight analogy the writer’s got it wrong: the scrappy little sailor is Palestine and the bullying marine Israel.

P.P.S. Il Papa, sì; Joseph Bottum and First Things, no.

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