NOTE TO SELF, BASED ON QUAKER TESTIMONIES OF INTEGRITY, SIMPLICITY, PEACE, EQUALITY, AND COMMUNITY:

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.
2. Do what you say, say what you think, think what is true.
3. Subtract superfluities from your life, speech, desires and thoughts.
4. Don't initiate aggression against the persons or property of others, nor support people who do, including the people who "constitute" the government.
5. Respect life and natural law.
6. All people are endowed by their Creator with equal and inalienable rights to the earth and to the fruits of their own labor, and a "Citizen's Dividend" funded by a "Single Tax" on the unimproved value of land and other natural resources would be the fairest way to protect these rights.

For supporting materials, see the Archive and the Recommended Reading and Videos section at the bottom of this page.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Modern Pacifist Philosophy and the Quaker Peace Testimony

David Kopel, a collaborator at The Volokh Conspiracy, has posted his Working Paper on Modern Christian Pacifist Philosophy. I posted the following comment:

As a libertarian Quaker, I'm finding this paper a very interesting read, and appreciate your on-the-mark reference to the Quaker Peace Testimony in the opening paragraph (don't have time to finish it now, but will tonight). Thanks for posting it. BTW, the well-known Quaker Testimony of Peace is focused on war, and the passions, hatreds and lusts which lead to and accompany war. It's not completely pacifist in that it does not necessarily abjure the use of force. E.g., the use of force by the police in the genuine maintenance of peace, and even in the dispassionate punishment of criminals, is not frowned upon (at least it wasn't for most of Quaker history), and Quakers have served as constables and police officers without incurring censure from their religious communities (in my opinion the propriety of working as a police officer has become problematic in light of the many unjust laws on the books, such as those that authorize jail and prison for merely possessing or using marijuana, but that's another matter). Indeed, Caroline Stephens in her classic book Quaker Strongholds made the point that she had difficulty in finding fault with certain wars which seemed to partake of the same nature as that of police action (though she could still not conceive of any war which did not come from evil and lead to evil). But in any event, as the footnote cited in the opening paragraph of the Working Paper makes clear, the Quaker Peace "Testimony" is just that: a personal testimony, witness and aspiration towards perfection, rather than a theory or dogma purporting to define what is right or allowable for all people at all times.