A Political Analysis Of The Conscientious Objector

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O'Donnell, Michael
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A Political Analysis Of The Conscientious Objector
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At the outset of this thesis certain matters should be stated and explained for the purpose of fully understanding the following pages. Although the most objective viewpoint is sought throughout this paper, common sense warns this goal cannot be totally achieved. With this realistic spirit then, let me explain my personal perspective of politics for those brief moments when I stray into subjective analysis. The most prevailing tenet of my perspective of politics is a deep distrust of most accumulated knowledge in western history. This distrust is not rooted in whether this knowledge is credible or not credible, provable or not provable, true or not true, but whether it is the product of a natural, free, and open thought process. , Tragically, most of western thought has been neither natural, free nor open, but rather a malignity caused by mesmerized societies that have indulged in genocide, belligerency, pollution, prejudice, and many more injustices to mankind. Contemporary man must realize his predicament and literally erase not the past, but the way he thinks of the past and the way he thinks about the present. He must cleanse his thought processes by trying to understand the motives of his actions and he must trace his mental lineage back to a natural, free and open origin. W Certainly not all of western civilization is to be distrusted; some products appear to this writer to be acceptable. However, when seen in the light of the whole, it appears that this culture still waits for the birth of wonder. A second tenet of my perspective of politics is a denial of the western notion that politics should be looked at in relation to the maintenance of order. It is precisely notions like this that have contributed to the dehumanization of man. The concept of order has been so infected by industrial and technical advancement that man is now treated as a programmed entity who must react uniformly to a given stimuli, namely the institutions of politics. Man must abdicate this maintenance of order viewpoint of politics and create a perspective that sees people and treats them as people. Politics must be looked at in relationship to the ability to care for one another, thus moving towards a brotherhood community. A third prevailing tenet of my perspective of politics deals with one of the basic diseases of western civilization, that being the competitive ethic. An ethic that has used many changing means, such as the city-state, feudalism, monarchism, and the nation-state, but has always had the same end--greed. This ethic and the societies it has helped develop have contaminated almost all of man’s life style. So that today we must refuse this ethic and create a new life style based on cooperation and understanding for the benefit of all mankind. A life style that will not allow means and ends to be separated. A final tenet of my perspective of politics, which I hesitate to mention, is my stand on the current military conflict in Vietnam. I hesitate because I feel this matter is secondary to my perspective of politics and secondary to the subject matter in this paper. However, it will undoubtedly be mentioned in one way or another so I will briefly outline my stance. It seems to me that we find ourselves in Vietnam because of four main and prevalent foreign policy errors we have made in the past 25 years. First, the United States has relied on a mystique of military power in international affairs rather than on economic, social, political, and military persuasion. Second, the United States has formed foreign policy to meet its vision of a unified, monolithic, international communistic conspiracy that has never existed. Third, the United States has been too rigidly anti-communist in its foreign policy. And fourth, the United States has terribly exaggerated the possible American role in bringing about desirable social changes in other countries. As for Vietnam itself, it seems to me we are participating in a war (not merely a conflict) that has not been declared a war, thus an undemocratic war. I also feel this war was not undertaken as a last resort after all other avenues to a just solution were made and that at certain times weapons and strategies have been used that have not discriminated between combatant and noncombatant personnel and areas. In conclusion, the purpose of this preface has been to help in understanding this thesis. It is true that my perspective of politics reeks with contemporary backlash theory, but let it be clearly understood that I do not hold this viewpoint as absolute nor do I hope it will be; it is merely a summation of my perspective at this time (September, 1969).
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Political Science & International Relations