Home » All My Posts » Can a person refuse to fight?

Can a person refuse to fight?

…if called upon by the government to do so. Thomas Hobbes would concede this right with some limitations and John Locke would probably deny. And even though Lockean tradition is superior in terms of social contract theory, I tend to take refuge behind Hobbes, considering the Leviathan I am subjected to in my part of the world. But I am still not sure how to tackle this question, which albeit still at some distance, is moving towards me while staring ceaselessly on my face . While the angst is becoming unbearable and the masochist within me is yet again alive after so many years, I ramble inveterately in search of judgment.

For me, to fight or not to fight is not simply a question of making difference to the world by making use of one’s inherent belligerence. Whether metaphysical or ethical, the problem inevitably boils down to the ultimate motive of taking others’ lives by sacrificing your own. I may resist the sovereign in order to preserve myself but how can I justify my resistance in defending others. I am still skeptical about the question, but if the sovereign is equally egoistic, is it ethically culpable to deny defending others?

While I engage my self with the sovereign’s, he gives me another good reason to fight: National interest. Number of questions pop up in my mind. In this context, the raison d’être of my nation’s existence is still debatable. Is it religion or something beyond – or something obscure enough to even care for? Can it be that national interests are similar to citizens’ interests? All citizens or few – or most? But while I am busy unbracing these gordian knots about liberty, sovereign is only obsessed with questions related to property. An onlooker makes me realise that war is already on and interests of nations are unified. But the war is against terror and terror begets no one’s interest – only more terror. Can it be that one nation’s war terrifies other’s existence. Desperately wanting answers, I feel dejected and discombobulated. In my befuddlement, I turn to revelation.

Revelation preoccupies me better; probably, because I have never been a profound realist – always interested more in things metaphysical. While I am sure to exist briefly, I search through revelation and find allowance for fighting. It prescribes by qualifying it as a last resort to stop anarchy and calls it justice; – the only reason to fight for. I focus my mind to this life and start philosophizing about just war theories. The Book also delineates moral and ethical principles for the sovereign to rule – and to fight for. The revelation does not allow me to doubt his intentions and though his voice seldom reaches me, I know that he is a pragmatist. Albeit he wears his intention on his face, I ask him whether he intends ruling by these principles. He ignores my question and defines justice for me instead. I am not sure if fighting anybody else’s war is justice; even if interests appear to be unified. Revelation does not make a mention of interest; whether self, national or international. The sovereign atlast reminds me that I am falling a victim to religious anachronism.

Ceaselessly asking myself if revelation is bounded in time, I am not sure if God would judge me according to borders. I am not even sure if its a valid question to ask. In my suspension, I wait patiently for the actual question to come closer and look back into its eyes.

7 thoughts on “Can a person refuse to fight?

  1. To determine if you are truly a conscientious objector you must look certain death in the face and react to either save your ass or sacrifice it. The heroes don’t want to be held up because they are ashamed at the actions they have taken to either survive or win the battle or both. They proved not to be objectors when the chips were down. Our instinct is to survive. Whether challenged by gun, knife, sword, bat or missile – we instinctively strive to survive thus strengthening the human race. The aspect of how you got into a life or death struggle is not relevent. When your country calls you must answer the call or seek another country.

  2. I am sorry but you’re moving on the tangent. I am not arguing whether I have the right to object the motives of those who answer somebody’s call to fight.

    I am basically presenting a state of Moral Ambiguity in which I perceive myself to be. All our actions have to have some moral basis and we are not just savages who are living to survive for the sake of it.

    Countries are just the ‘unreal’ frame of spatial references which we desperately require to define ourselves in the modern world. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Can you tell me the exact meaning of this pronouncement: Country’s Call

    regards

  3. Salam

    I have difficulty understanding the exact question! Is it, “Should I fight for my country when I am not sure about it’s motives, methods, or the consequences of the war?”

    Wassalam

  4. assalamu alay’kum Brother,

    “Is it morally justified to fight for country’s sake solely?” is one way to phrase it. Whether I am skeptic about the motives of war or not is not the real question as there are legitimate ways to remove that skepticism. As far as consequences of war are concerned, war carries on whether I participate in it or not and nobody including me can comment on its consequences with certainty.

    I am as confused in asking the ‘question’ as you are in understanding it. What adds to my problem is that I am finding it extremely hard to find the correct moral equilibrium. I am keeping my fingers crossed in anticipation whether God seperates truth from faslehood in my life.

    wassalam

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