Is self defense acceptable? What is self defense? For example, would the people criticising Arissa also say that the Iraqi people are wrong to violently oppose U.S. conquest which will result in the death of many people, the loss of culture, and their enslavement to western capital exploitation?
This then brought me to a new consideration.
If John Kerry becomes the next U.S. president, he will certainly order the killing of many people. He intends to carry on the conquest in Iraq. He has spoken out against Venezuela, and will almost certainly carry on with the U.S. agenda of overthrowing the Chavez government.... and so on.
Voting for John Kerry, is a vote for violence. If you vote for John Kerry, you are supporting the killing of human beings, the majority of whom will be people just trying to live their lives. If you vote for John Kerry, you are advocating violence and putting your own stamp of approval on killing.
Now I respect and admire a truly non-violent philosophy when it is lived. I am however, repulsed by hypocrisy.
How many people will condemn Arissa for advocating political violence as a legitimate act then turn around and tell me I should vote for Kerry? Voting for Kerry is voting for political violence. If elected, he is going to preside over many many deaths, carried out for profit and/or political expediency.
The one thing I hear is that he is the lesser of two evils, nevertheless, voting for him is tacit acceptance of the violence he will order. Voting for him is saying that this violence he will carry out is acceptable as a means to a long term goal of reform. Anyone who would vote for Kerry is not acting as an advocate of non-violence. The non-violent advocate says that the ends do not justify the means, and that you cannot use violence to end violence. Ironically, the lesser of two evils argument is exactly the one Arissa is making, and that quite few people are uncomfortable with.
These considerations can be applied to various facets of life.
Many people hope or believe that fundamental change, a non-violent revolution, is possible. However, it certainly cannot happen if the vast majority of people who wish for it, do not commit their lives to living it. Nice ideals, without them being backed up by dedication, and the day to day living of them, are hiding places and an escape from the realities of life. I would like to see more serious self examination and self action regarding these issues which challenge us to find a way to sane and sustainable human community.