Dr. Joseph Cathey asked pacifist readers:
Suppose that a loved one (wife, child, parents) was going to be murdered - (You had no doubt of the intention of the person doing the murdering) and you had a gun – would you shoot the person?
As usual, there was much dodging back and forth and a lot of fantasy scenarios along the lines of "I'd shoot the gun out of his hand."
Jonathan Marlowe's non-answer was:
Here's a simple question: Have you stopped beating your wife? "yes" or "no?" It's a simple question; why don't you answer it?
Because it's got too many assumptions pre-packed into it.
Wrong. It's completely fair to ask pacifists (or anyone else) if they will live by the principles that they themselves espouse.
That was the point of my post on the subject. When I contemplated buying a gun, there was much holier-than-thou braying from parties that I suspected would use force to defend themselves and their families. The difference is that I was willing to admit it.
I get this same sense whenever I read Stanley Hauerwas -- incessant sniping about the evils of America, made while hiding behind the protections of that same America. The sheer pomposity of much of pacifism is deeply irritating. A more humble voice would say "I'm ashamed of it, but I'd probably pull the trigger."
In these various connected posts, there have been a number of pacifists who said outright "No, I won't use violence, period." I admire their forthrightness.
NOTE: Yes, I'm working on the MLK quote.