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Pacifism Revisited

Entry 137, on 2005-03-03 at 13:57:34 (Rating 1, Comments)

A while back I mentioned a book written by Archibald Baxter, a prominent New Zealand pacifist during World War I. I have finished reading the book since then and have two thoughts on the subject. First, along with other conscientious objectors, he made an extremely courageous stand against military service; but second, did he really achieve anything?

Its always hard to tell how accurate an account of this type is when told from one person's point of view many years after the events described, but if it is accurate it shows him as a very tolerant person, who didn't blame the individuals in the army for the treatment he received. Its clearly the military system he blames, not the people. It also described a remarkable amount of tolerance for, and interest in his position by soldiers who were actively involved in the war.

In the end, the war went ahead, no one refused to fight because of his position, and there have been many wars since, but he was one of the original objectors and showed the way for many others, so I guess at least he showed it was possible to make a point in this way.

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