Friday, November 11, 2011


It is true that peace is desirable.  Things tend to go better for more people during times of peace, myself among them, and I can hardly condemn that from which I benefit.

It is also true that the maintenance of peace is a tricky thing.  In many cases, it can be done through careful negotiation, but for that negotiation to work, all concerned parties must be willing to compromise; they must have a commitment to creating and keeping peace.

It is true that not all parties which might be involved in the peacemaking process will be persuaded by careful negotiation.  It is against such people, against any situation that s not amenable to reason, that the ability to effect violence must be maintained.

I do believe that the violence should be minimized.  As a student of aikido, I, acknowledging the rights of people to maintain the integrity and security of their possessions, bodies, and selves, believe that it is incumbent upon a right-thinking person to work to inflict minimal harm on others--and that it is a higher expression of martial ability to subdue an opponent such that no attack is possible than to destroy that opponent.

The human body is fragile and easily undone, after all.

I believe that the same is true for nations as for the people who compose them, and so I believe that a military force is necessary.  I know also that I will never stand among such a force.  That does not mean, however, that I do not respect those who do.  And so I offer my thanks, small as they are against so great a set of sacrifices as has been offered and is still being rendered up, on this Veteran's Day.

As I have said before, I owe my existence--in several ways--to the fact of specific people having been veterans.  And as I have also said, I can hardly condemn that from which I benefit.

Then again, I do have to be wary of overstating things.  I benefit from many things, I have no doubt, which are themselves execrable.  Some of them I surely know nothing about; I admit that I do not attend too closely to the production cycle of those things I consume, but I do know that agriculture and manufacture are rife with exploitation.  And my work does tend to remind me of the existence of the downtrodden, since many of my students are very much among that large group of people.  No doubt I contribute to the social structure that keeps the downtrodden trod down.

Wow.  I guess I am an evil hypocrite.

Even so, that does not mean that those who have served and continue to serve are not worth respect and thanks.  And so I still offer it them.  As should a great many people, whether they do or not.

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