The question that always bothered me was whether that person -- or any man -- had any right to expect someone else to do the dirty job for him. Can we ever simultaneously acknowledge the necessity of a deed and the absolute immorality of doing it? That in a nutshell is the Problem of Evil: that evil exists and that by and by we will have to face it. The question Tom Fox should have posed is "how do you stand firm against a car-bomber headed straight for a schoolbus?" And if you say, "shoot to save the children" ask yourself if it ever justified to be glad that God had sent someone else to shoot the bomber and go hell in your stead. Tom Fox stood for his beliefs to the bitter end. And now the men who killed him are out there, waiting to kill again.
This has always been the issue I have toward pacifism and pacifists. In an earlier post, I wrote:
I, too, feel a profound weariness at the rationalizations of Gandhi--and all others whose rigidity on this subject make them aid and abet tyranny and human misery. They think they hold to their principle of pacifism because they are compassionate and caring human beings. But the results of pacifism say something different.
Gandhi was a good man, but when it came to the holocaust, he proposed that nothing should have been done. If we had followed his lead, how many millions more people would have died? How many today would live under the boot of the Nazi philosophy?
War is a terrible choice. No reasonable person could believe that it is benign or intrinsically "good" to wage war. Yet, it is sometimes a choice that reasonable people need to make simply because there is evil in the world and it cannot go unchecked--not if you truly care about other human beings.
Pacifists cannot deal with this simple truth, or having accepted it, believe that the triumph of evil is unimportant compared to keeping faith with their own peculiar fantasy of the world.
The tragedy and irony of Mr. Fox's death at the hands of terrorists is, in my mind anyway, overridden by the tragic and misguided mentality that sees no moral difference between people who deliberately commit unspeakable evil and those whose role is to protect innocents from unspeakable evil.
Wretchard quotes Mr. Fox as saying about his reasons for going to Iraq:
We are here to stand with those being dehumanized by oppressors and stand firm against that dehumanization. We are here to stop people, including ourselves, from dehumanizing any of God's children, no matter how much they dehumanize their own souls.
Mr. Fox went to Iraq in order to stop people from having dehumanizing thoughts. His death would have more meaning if he and his organization were committed to stopping the dehumanizing behavior. Personally, I don't care much what other people think or believe. What matters to me is how they behave toward me and toward others. I allow them the freedom of their thoughts, no matter how depraved; but an important line is crossed when they act on those depraved thoughts and believe they have the right to harm or oppress others.
But then, I don't want to mess around that much with their thoughts (unless they ask me to help them; which would presume some insight on their part); nor do I want to save their souls particularly (I figure their immortal soul is their own business). I want to stop them from killing people.
Mr. Fox and his organization would perhaps like to control and/or change people's thoughts for really really good motives; and he apparently believed deeply that to do so would help to save their souls. It is truly ironic he did not seem to appreciate that his heartfelt desire was not too dissimilar--though perhaps more passive--to the desires and motivations of the people who murdered him.
It is that flaw in thinking that enabled Mr. Fox's death and underscores its fundamental meaninglessness. It is that flaw in thinking that will continue to enable the murderous fanatics who killed him; and which will lead to the deaths of many other souls.
Michelle Malkin has much more on the story.
UPDATE: In response to several annoyed people in emails who ask me what is wrong with wanting to change a person's thinking, my response is simple: nothing is wrong with it. But, their question sort of reminds me of the old joke: "How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one. But the lightbulb has to really want to change."
I would have to say that it seems to me that even before you work to change a person's mind, you must control their violent and malevolent behavior. If you cannot control it; then you must denounce it in the most unequivocal terms. If it is possible to reach them on an intellectual level -- then you denounce their underlying ideology and present your arguments as forcefully and logically as possible, as we recently observed this person doing.
Sometimes,this is all you can do.
What you should not do is to make excuses for evil. What you should not do is to compromise with it. What is completely outrageous and morally indefensible is this statement made by Fox's organization explaining his death at the hands of conscienceless, murderous thugs:
"We believe that the root cause of the abduction of our colleagues is the U.S.- and British-led invasion and occupation of Iraq."
In my professional opinion, the people who could write such a perverted statement desperately need to have their heads examined and obtain professional help. They themselves are the "root cause"--the enablers and apologists extraordinaire--who permit and encourage evil to flourish in today's world.
One person like Wafa Sultan does more to further the cause of peace, justice, and human dignity than do legions of these so-called "peace" activists.