can resolve in favor of our survival. And this adaptation must be different in a strange and marvelous way from standing on back legs, developing an opposing thumb, or enlarging the cranium, for it is simply an adaptation of the attitudes we really live by. Declining to be enervated by the unpersuasiveness of various proposals to reduce the danger, we must, I believe, commit ourselves as persons to the radical moral rejection of the nuclear weapons. And we must understand that this moral decision will be the most important thing we can do to help avert nuclear war. The strongest widely accepted moral principle of man says that it is wrong to kill. Adapted to the urgent present, this principle says that it is wrong and abhorrent to kill en masse. The problem is how to convert the energy in morality into power. Gandhi harnessed this energy, in the form of non-violent resistance to oppression, in India. The British had a national fervor like Russia’s, a national religion, imperialism, that was similar in ways to communism, and the will to brutality in the name of these, such as the Russians’ in Hungary. But opposed by a controlled morality of non-violence that was based in a profound understanding of human beings, the very humanness of the British defeated their own fervor, their own religion, and their own will. Gandhi made them think of themselves and of the Indians as human beings first, and as nationals second. Now the time has come when, at least to the extent of renouncing nuclear weapons, we too must wage love on our enemies. It has become practical and necessary to think of ourselves and Russians, not as nationals, but as human beings, because at least, this way, we have a chance of saving life. Trying to hate them, we threaten to destroy them and give them cause to destroy us. Trying to love them, we menace them less and give them reason to save us from them. In Texas where we are used to fights, it is at least as difficult as it must be other places to adjust to the idea. Yet if. in these thermonuclear times, we have not the courage to love our enemies even though we live daily only in the midst of our friends. our morality and our nationhood will fail. What if they don’t love us back? As Khrushchev has attempted to at least modify the Stalinists’ determination to win the world by violence, the Chinese communists have virulently assailed Khrushchev and have put down “peaceful coexistence” as though they do not give a damn what happens to the millions of Chinese they lead. Yet in our own country also we have seen the gradual ossification of our moral sense, the one we are responsible for, so that some Americans accept the prospect of killing “only five million Russians,” while some want to kill however many Cubans there are, and others want to bomb the whole communist world, men, women, and children. We have not yet grasped and decided to live, in international relations, by the essential nature of the Christian doctrine that we should love our enemies; for the essential nature of that doctrine is unilateral love. I AM IMPELLED, by such thoughts as these, to the apparently insubstantial conclusion that our most compelling duty now is to cultivate our consciences as though we had never done so before. We must struggle to contribute to a morally illuminated situation. As Americans we must know, face, accept, and determine to be responsible for the moral facts of the’nuclear weapons. If, then, nuclear war came anyway, such survivors as there were could not ask about Americans, why did they not protest?, as we ask today of Germans. We would have protested. I believe that this kind of moral reflection will lead many of us to identify ourselves personally as “nuclear refusers” who will not condone or participate in the use of nuclear weapons, tactical or strategic, by this or any other nation, under any circumstances or pretexts, for any objective. I have certainly adopted this position as my own, for I believe we must act on the moral certainty that these weapons are the enemies of man and must be anathemized with all the courage and strength we have. In the new situation that such an attitude, if widespread, would create, American leaders would be morally enjoined not to use the weapons. In the new situation, things might become possible that do not now seem possible, and proposals for substantially reducing tension that now provoke nationalistic, paranoid, and sadistic reactions \(reactions that are politically, which is to say really, germane to whether be very differently received. In the new situation, especially if it became internationally infectious, statesmen might again be able to resume control over world affairs. Our own nation might accept a test ban without a suicidal conservative convulsion. Then, some nuclear disarmament. Then, dramatic nuclear disarmament, minimally hedged to prevent our invasion. And then, world nuclear disarmament. Oh, we might not make it, but if we do not; it will be not only our scientists’, and our soldiers’, and our pilots’ faults, it will be even more the fault of our politicians and our preachers and our priests and our rabbis and our editorialists and our writers, those men to whom we entrust our moral heritage, those men whose deepest duty it is to adapt this moral heritage to the world we really live in now. It is a strange climax for our emergence from aeons of sludge and slaughter that our continuance on earth depends upon, not an adaptation that better equips us to destroy our biological enemies, but one that strengthens us’to live with our enemies within our own species. Yet if we seize our times, we now can help turn the long suffering of humanity into a mere prelude to future times of universal freedom and painful joy. R.D. June 28, 1963 7 My people’s ways have willed me not to weep My people’s ways have willed me not to weep, But Heart, that lectures from a master chair, While people sleep, Explained the chance of love and taught me care. For love is lost, began my Analyst, As barn and house rot on a lonely grange, Half hid by mist. And froth the road we see no chance of change. And love may go, as on a journey planned, To fairer, farther parts and foreign folk; We wave our hand, Leaning, eyes strained, on some great oak. And love leaves too, strange chance, where rivers start, The pilgrim lover drowned while drinking deep And then, said Heart, We grasp -the dumb, enduring earth, and weep. thomas sutherland
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