Reflections On The War

Many of the same people urging Ukraine to accept land concessions as the necessary price of “peace,” where peace is defined as an invading dictator’s willingness to cease immediate hostilities, are, in their domestic political views, vehemently opposed to so-called redistributionist justice. In the latter case, they regularly cite both the moral illegitimacy of violating the property and self-determination of some in order to placate the legally euphemized thuggery and thievery of others, and the inevitable ratchet mechanism of what they (correctly) label “the entitlement mentality,” which ensures that any wealth or principles relinquished under coercive demands will only invite ever more coercive demands. Funny that these people cannot see themselves at all, when it comes to insisting, in the name of peace and “the children” of course, that Ukraine should be forced to surrender its land and self-determination to Vladimir Putin’s thuggery and entitlement mentality.

The idea that the earnest pursuit of Ukraine’s war of self-defense, a war which serves America’s national interests on numerous fronts — and for a relatively tiny price tag in American terms — should seem to hinge on the outcome of the 2024 US election, is striking. All the more striking is the fact that the great danger to Ukraine’s fate is that the hinge might swing in the direction of the (traditionally anti-Kremlin, pro-liberty) Republican Party, rather than the (traditionally pro-tyranny, anti-war) Democrats, since the Republicans are likely to be led in 2024 by a presidential candidate who is either an actual strategic asset of the Kremlin (Donald Trump) or at least someone sufficiently compromised by fear of the still-sizable Trump cult to be unwilling to continue America’s semi-serious moral and material commitment to Ukraine’s survival.

There is a philosophic perspective according to which one might say, “Tyranny is just another part of the cycle of human necessity, and in the end a man must be prepared to live with whatever external circumstances the gods have in store for him, since even the worst conditions of life can become the wellspring of higher spiritual freedom.” And that may be true, for those living philosophically. But one of the realities of the philosophic perspective that is often implicitly denied, or at least overlooked, by philosophers themselves, is that a society would not get very far, or perhaps even survive at all, if everyone adopted the detached, ironic, aloof attitude of the philosopher. Indeed, for the non-philosophical majority to adopt some approximation of that philosophic detachment would amount, both personally and politically, to a descent into nihilistic defeatism and moral slavishness of catastrophic proportions.

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