Category Archives: war and peace
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
He who knows how to guide a ruler in the path
Does not try to override the world with force of arms.
It is in the nature of a military weapon to turn against its
Wherever armies are stationed, thorny bushes grow.
After a great war, bad years inevitably follow.
What you want is to protect efficiently your own state,
But not to aim at self-aggrandizement.
After you have attained your purpose,
You must not parade your success,
You must not boast of your ability,
You must not feel proud,
You must rather regret that you had not been able to
prevent the war.
You must never think of conquering others by force.
For to be over-developed is to hasten decay,
And this is against Tao,
And what is against Tao will soon cease to be.
–Tao Teh Ching, Chapter 30translated by John C. H. Wu
You express amazement at my statement that ‘civilized’ men try to justify their looting, butchering and plundering by claiming that these things are done in the interests of art, progress and culture. That this simple statement of fact should cause surprize, amazes me in return. People claiming to possess superior civilization have always veneered their rapaciousness by such claims…
Your friend Mussolini is a striking modern-day example. In that speech of his I heard translated he spoke feelingly of the expansion of civilization. From time to time he has announced; ‘The sword and civilization go hand in hand!’ ‘Wherever the Italian flag waves it will be as a symbol of civilization!’ ‘Africa must be brought into civilization!’ It is not, of course, because of any selfish motive that he has invaded a helpless country, bombing, burning and gassing both combatants and non-combatants by the thousands. Oh, no, according to his own assertions it is all in the interests of art, culture and progress, just as the German war-lords were determined to confer the advantages of Teutonic Kultur on a benighted world, by fire and lead and steel. Civilized nations never, never have selfish motives for butchering, raping and looting; only horrid barbarians have those.
–Robert E. Howard, From a letter to H. P. Lovecraft (5 December 1935), via Wikiquotes
Something to think about in this time of seemingly endless wars that are always waged for the purest and noblest goals.