Tuesday, February 19, 2008

for Peace

Here's a great little quotation from a great little blog article on one of Hauerwas' many essays. Here, Hauerwas is discussing the effect of nuclear weapons and the resultant culture of fear on our moral lives. Instead of political polarization, his suggestion is much more... Chestertonian.
I believe we do have an alternative to the desperation that fuels our fear of nuclear war. That alternative is, quite simply, the need to reclaim the significance of the trivial. For it is my belief that there is no more powerful response to totalitarians than to take the time to reclaim life from their power. By refusing to let them claim every aspect of our life as politically significant, we create the space and time that makes politics humane. Therefore there is noting more important for us to do in the face of the threat of nuclear war than to go on living - that is, to take time to enjoy a walk with a friend, to read all of Trollope’s novels, to maintain universities, to have and care for children, and most importantly, to worship God. (p. 256-257)
It's quite possible that this approach is quite close to my love for Chesterton as well. Actually trying to live a human life is often the most subversive political action you can take.


  1. This sort of reminds me of a book by former libertarian presidential candidate, Harry Browne. It was titled "How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World".

    One of the basic points was that we often get our feathers ruffled by so many infringements on liberty on a grand scale (things that we can't do much about). We may picket, or write letters to politicians, or what not. And those actions may have more or less of an effect. But usually not much. And so we give up the battle right there and lose hope. But, on the other hand we find ourselves, almost every day, voluntarily giving up our liberty on little things (that we can do much about with a high success rate).

    So, in many ways, on the big things we are making statements and acting (with low yield in effectiveness) while squandering very many small opportunities in everyday, mundane things (which have a high yield of effectiveness). So the point he made was that if we win the big remarkable battles and haven't won those small, commonplace battles, we still don't have real liberty.

    I think its a pretty good slant on things and echoes what Hauerwas is saying here. And, yes, in avoiding nuclear war, it would be handy if life, society, and existence had some sort of tasteful flavor that made war look distasteful in juxtaposition :)

  2. good reminder of our necessary and glorious creatureliness... thank bro.