The Quest for World Peace
The aim of this assignment is to provide students greater choice in assignments, allow them to explore more open-ended and evaluative questions, and (optional)
encourage interaction on the discussion board.
Answer 5 of the 14 questions below. Answers should be 150-250 words each.
From PART III
1. Tolstoy’s interpretation of Christianity as teaching a “law of non-resistance” is very different from most Christian churches. Do you think he is right according to
the Bible andor rational ethical theory?
2. How does Gandhi see his teaching of Satyagraha as different from Passive Resistance? Is it really that different in practice?
3. Was Gandhi lucky to face opponents such as the British rather than Hitler or Stalin? Does this undermine the universality of Satyagraha as a technique? Does it work
only against opponents with certain traits, and what are these traits?
4. King writes from Birmingham Jail (p.71 190)
You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme
Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, it is rather strange and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask: “How
can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: There are just laws and there are unjust
laws. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral
responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with Saint Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.”
Is this answer adequate given that reasonable people of good will disagree about justice in many cases? How would you respond to non-violent civil disobedience on
behalf of ends you consider unjust?
5. Robert Holmes gives us a taxonomy of the Philosophy of Non-violence? (p.133 198) Which version of the theory do you think best, especially in regard to Principled
vs. Pragmatic non-violence?
6. How does Holmes counter the objection that the pacifist or “nonviolentist” simply wants to keep his own hands clean and maintain his own moral purity, when he
should be defending the innocent? (p.40 202) Is his response to the objection convincing?
7. In “Violence and Power” Litke discusses several definitions of Power. Which do you think is best and why?
8. What are the main weaknesses in Jessie Hughan’s proposal for Non-Violent Civil Defense? Consider her assumptions about the motives of the invaders, the fact that
she is writing in 1942 (is it dated), and the effects that a few people resorting to violence would have on her tactics?
9. Gene Sharp warns that even a small amount of violence by one’s side will sharply counter the effectiveness of non-violent action as a technique. (p.159-160, 228-
229). Do you agree?
Mubarek Awad doesn’t address this issue. Is the Palestinian history of terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians a serious problem for his nonviolent resistance proposal?
10. Non-Violence and Terrorism have both been described as techniques of the militarily weak to combat the strong? Is one generally more effective, or does it depend
on the situation and one’s opponent?
From Part IV
11. Do you agree with Lawrence Abbott’s proposal for World Federalism (i.e. is it practical and a good thing). Consider the problem that civil war can still break out
within federal states like the USA and the former Yugoslavia, and the danger that the world government would be undemocratic.
12. What is GRIT? (Osgood p.82-83 290) Is it a more practical approach to achieving peace and security than unilateral disarmament?
13. Beverly Woodward outlines 6 elements of a “peace system.”(p.250 300). To what extent has the world been moving in this direction over the past 25 years?
14. Johnson says that since Hiroshima doubt about the survival of our species has become a pressing concern. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about our chances for
avoiding extinction over the next 2 or 3 centuries? Give reasons.
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