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T.H. White on Pacifism

I just finished reading T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.

In Part 2 of the book, Merlyn defends a pretty thorough-going pacifism, which I assume is some variant of T.H. White’s own.

“There is no excuse for war, none whatever, and whatever the wrong which your nation might be doing to mine – short of war – my nation would be in the wrong if it started a war so as to redress it.”

Really, asks Merlyn’s interlocutor Kay, there’s no reason that could justify starting a war? Even if they were starving you? Even if you had conquered and occupied them?

Apparently not, according to Merlyn. Rebellion in particular is unjustifiable:

“Look at this Gaelic revolt, for example. What reason has the King here for being an aggressor? He is their feudal overlord already. It isn’t sensible to pretend that he is making the attack. People don’t attack their own possessions.”

I wonder what T.H. White would say about the Libyan uprising. Would he, in Caplanian fashion, label it a Tragic Mistake?

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