The soldiers of the devil march into battle with guns and swords. The soldiers of God march into battle with kindness. The sword may oust a tyrant, but only by making the one who wields it into a tyrant. A bombing may inspire men to revolution, but only to a violent revolution; and a violent revolution to install a violent regime. A person who knows that his beliefs are true rarely lies; he does not need to lie. A person whose belief is truth never lies; any lie weakens his position. A person whose cause is compassionate will benefit from compassionate acts, but a person whose cause is compassion will not benefit from any uncompassionate act. A person whose cause is consistent with freedom will benefit from freeing men, but a person whose cause is freedom will never benefit from enslaving them.
Property has got to die, and not just in the minds of the people; we must have property’s teeth out. That means the abolition of the state, the violent wing of the bourgeoisie infrastructure. Pacifism must be anarchist if it is to be meaningfully pacifist at all, unless one class’s systematic use of standing armies, beatings, imprisonments, shootings, executions, and tear gassings to forcibly dominate another is no longer to be called violent. To imagine oneself a pacifist simply because one accepts only the violence of the military and the police is to conformistically fawn over power in the admiration of stasis, posturing as a servile lackey to oppressors and affirming their founding tenet that it is might which makes right. And anarchism for its part must be pacifist if it is to be meaningfully anarchist, as no noncoercive society can be established through coercion. If coercion was necessary to establish it, then it will be necessary to sustain it. If it is not continued, then no sooner will it be withdrawn than society return to its prior condition.
It has never been the right time to good. It will never be the right time to do good. All good that has ever been done has been done at the wrong time- at an inconvenient time and far too early an hour, years before society was prepared. Fools that we are, we rarely ask: how can it be the wrong time to do what is right?
Doing what is right is beneficial to my soul, and the benefit of my soul is not detrimental to yours. What else matters, by comparison? I would scarcely sacrifice the benefit of my soul for the stability of society. And even if I were mad enough to value the world more than my soul, I would still be relying on causality to plead my case against God; yet God owns causality.
Here is a useful litmus test: if after an hour of conversation you find yourself arguing that justice and care are impossible, love is insufficiently just, morality is outside of our grasp, Jesus is wrong, and atrocities which you admit to be horrific are justifiable in the name of the greater good, then the thing which you are trying to justify is probably evil. If after an hour you find the person with whom you are speaking appealing to your senses of empathy, mercy, and compassion, and attempting to humanize others in your mind, then the thing which they are trying to convince you to do is probably good.
God is perfectly capable of killing his own enemies.
The new covenant is here. There is no sense in ignoring what it says because it is not what the old covenant says. All orders are legitimate, but do not think that you will escape your court martial for following someone else’s orders while neglecting your own because all orders are legitimate. Other’s orders are legitimate for them- yours for you.
Is the thing which you want to do more just than Peter’s attempt to prevent the crucifixion?
Freedom is inextricably tied to satisfaction. One of the strange paradoxes of life is that the chief thing which people will fight for the freedom to do is establish intimacy with others- and thereby necessarily limit their future choices. If freedom arises it immediately dies, replaced by love, and yet love cannot be established in any other way; it simultaneously requires as a predicate and by its very operation nullifies freedom. Many, when asked what they truly desire, will reply “the freedom to do what I want.” But asked what, exactly, that should happen to be, they can in all sincerity answer only “to obtain the freedom to do what I want.” It is no uncommon occurance that the ends we gain should be only representations of the means we use, or that the struggle to define ourselves should finally becomes our definition. But the motivation that arises from the pursuit of freedom for itself seeks only the elimination of constraints, which applied to the mind means the elimination of goals; gathering for oneself a form of power while simultaneously disavowing any purpose for which this power might be used. It is a form of nihilism which, in the pursuit of satisfaction, gives up satisfaction. But the man who is satisfied does not desire freedom for the sake of freedom, he desires freedom for the sake of that which he wants to do. He needs freedom, not so that he can become no more likely to do one thing than another, but precisely because he is determined to do one thing, and without his freedom he cannot do it. He needs it so that his love for others may rise up and constrain his options to a single necessity- the right choice. Freedom is not “freedom from the obligation to do good, as enforced by the authorities,” but rather “freedom to do good, unhindered by authorities who would surely try to stop you.”
The system is unworthy of your faith. It doesn’t care about you.