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Friday, December 26, 2008

War, patriotism, pacifism

Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival

Some folks are born made to wave the flag,
Ooh, they're red, white and blue.
And when the band plays hail to the chief,
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,

But it ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senator's son, son.
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no...

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, don't they help themselves, yo.
But when the taxman comes to the door,
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no millionaire son, no, no.
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, yo.

Some folks inherit star-spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord!
And when you ask them, how much should we give?
Ooh, they only answer more! more! more! yo,

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son.
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, one.

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no no no,
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate son, no no no...



Its [the world-wide Law of Bahá'u'lláh] purpose is neither to stifle the flame of a sane and intelligent patriotism in men's hearts, nor to abolish the system of national autonomy so essential if the evils of excessive centralization are to be avoided. It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It insists upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other.

(Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp. 41-42)


"With reference to the absolute pacifists, or conscientious objectors to war; their attitude, judged from the Bahá'í standpoint is quite anti-social and due to its exaltation of the individual conscience leads inevitably to disorder and chaos in society. Extreme pacifists are thus very close to the anarchists, in the sense that both of these groups lay an undue emphasis on the rights and merits of the individual. The Bahá'í conception of social life is essentially based on the subordination of the individual will to that of society. It neither suppresses the individual nor does it exalt him to the point of making him an anti-social creature, a menace to society. As in everything, it follows the `golden mean'. The only way that society can function is for the minority to follow the will of the majority.

"The other main objection to the conscientious objectors is that their method of establishing peace is too negative. Non-cooperation is too passive a philosophy to become an effective way for social reconstruction. Their refusal to bear arms can never establish peace. There should first be a spiritual revitalization which nothing, except the Cause of God, can effectively bring to every man's heart."

(Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, http://bahai-library.com/writings/shoghieffendi/dg/sec-145.html )

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