News from Neptune

Co-opting the Antiwar Movement

Perhaps it betrays my essentially reformist rather than revolutionary disposition to think that there is something wrong with what Eliot has Abp. Becket say in Murder in the Cathedral

The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

However much that may be a guide for oneself, Christians at least (and Eliot thought of himself as one) are cautioned against judging the motives of others. We’re reduced to trying to descry the good action and leaving alone the heart’s reasons that the reason does not know (in others at least).

But there can be as we might say operational differences in opposing the war (a) because it’s wrong, or (b) because it’s done wrong.

They’re obvious as soon as an appropriate remedy is proposed: the alternative is (a) stop doing it, or (b) do it better.

It may be that this distinction — indeed antithesis — has been exploited to neutralize the anti-war movement in the five years since the largest anti-war demonstrations in human history. In any case, that movement does seem to have been successfully neutralized, and it wasn’t an accident.