Passivity is not an option

What are the reasons to choose nonviolent methods of resisting evil (as opposed to acquiescing to evil by criticizing violent resistance to it)? One reason may be spiritual: If you walk in the Light of Christ and are in that power, you are beyond the temptation to commit acts of violence to get what you want—recall that the Bible identifies lust as the principal cause of war and fighting. Another reason may be practical: Adhering to nonviolence even when under attack by one’s enemy ends up discrediting the enemy and prevents an escalating cycle of violence that would hurt your own cause.

In both cases, however, passivity is not an option. You must put your body on the line in some fashion, whether it to be to receive the enemy’s blows or by overwhelming the enemy through thousands of bodies like your own, as for example when thousands of counter-protestors routed a band of white nationalists that were marching in Boston.

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Defeated

Nothing symbolizes the foreclosure of the future like the slaughter of a nation’s young. And it’s so routine now — there have been at least eight this year at a school or college where someone was injured or killed — that attention will quickly fade, as it does with subjects one doesn’t intend to do anything about. Another word for that bitter fatalism is “defeat.”

And we have been, in an important moral sense, defeated. We won’t do anything about it, or can’t; the fact is so well understood that we don’t even need new commentaries stating as much for each shooting — we just recycle the old ones, from the old shootings. If this is what American freedom means, if this is what the Constitution entails, if this is where prayer gets us, then it’s easy to understand why millennials — the first generation to be raised on a steady stream of schoolhouse slaughter — barely believe in anything, democracy, American-style liberty, America’s future and organized religion included.

Elizabeth Bruenig