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Forum Philosophicum

Volume 18, Issue 1, Spring 2013

James A. Harold
Pages 5-17

Distinguishing the Lover of Peace from the Pacifist, the Appeaser, and the Warmonger

How is one to distinguish a true lover of peace from a mere appeaser, a pacifist, and a warmonger? Distinguishing them can be sometimes confusing, as they will often appropriate each other’s language. The criterion for the above distinction does not only lie in outward behavior, as knowledge of inward attitudes is also required. A right understanding of these attitudes and motivations involve at least an implicit grasp of the true nature of peace, which is investigated as something more than the mere absence of war, insofar as peace is primarily a work of two moral virtues: justice and charity. It is in the spirit of justice and charity that the true lover of peace must then distinguish—both in one’s own life and with nations—between what can be ignored and / or forgiven, and what must be redressed. Furthermore, the distinction between the lover of peace and the pacifist, with the possibility of pacifism being a distinct tradition from just war philosophy, is investigated. The argument is made that pacifism should not be considered outside the context of just war because one needs that context to address if and who demands restitution.