FromTHE DRUIDS PROGRESS, Report #5. The DRUIDS PROGRESS is published seminannually (Gods W

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********************************************************************** *From:THE DRUIDS PROGRESS, Report #5. The DRUIDS PROGRESS is * *published seminannually (Gods Willing) and is sent primarily to * *the subscribing members of ADF. For Further information write: * * ADF, PO Box 1022, Nyack, NY USA 10960-1022 (include a SASE). * *All Items acredited to "the Archdruid" have been written by and * *are (C) 1988 by P.E.I. Bonewits. All items created by other * *parties are (C) 1988 by them. All opinions expressed, save those * *specifically attributed to the Board of Trustees, are the opnions * *of the individuals expressing them and are Not official ADF * *policy. * * Reprint Procedure: Neopagan, Druidic, Midievalist and all * *cultural publications may reprint any material written by P.E.I. * *Bonewits, but his copyright notice must appear in full. If more * *than 250 words are excerpeted, one cent per word should be donated * *to ADF. * ********************************************************************** WARRIORS AND SOLDIERS AND COPS -- OH MY! ---------------------------------------- By the Archdruid As time goes by, and A.D.F. continues to grow, we are attracting people from many different occupations - white collar, blue and pink collar, and now khaki collars as well. We have several law enforcement officers, both public and private ("rent-a-cops"), as well as several members in the U.S. military. Some of tehse have written to us praising the fact that ADF does not seem to be as "anti-warrior" as most Neo-Pagan groups. Some even want to set up a "military grove" to be a sort of free-floating resource for ADF members in the armed forces. One member held a workshop for Neopagans in the military at the ADF Harpers' Hall pavilion during a Neopagan Festival in 1987. Another wants to pursue the possibility of having officially recognized Druid chaplains in teh armed services. Yet another has dreams of resurrecting a Mithraic cult within ADF. It's obviously gotten to be time to deal with some of the issues that most Neopagan groups have been ignoring - specifically those of vilance, self-defense, and the ethics of being a cop or a soldier in modern times. Insofar as ADF is going to have official doctrines (note that I did NOT say "dogmas") about these issues; ones that you, as members, can take into a court of law, this essay is a first attempt at articulating the arguments upon which I have based my current opinions. Naturally, I expect some of you to disagree strongly (but I hope not violently!) with my conclusions, and you are encouraged to send in zines for future issues of D.P. This essay has not been easy to write. Our single most generous supporting member happens to be in the military and has given a great deal of thought to these issues, obviously coming to very different conclusions than I have. I hope he'll write a reply for the next issue. I'm also going to send a copy of this to the folks who publish the Pagan Military Network newsletter for their feedback. Eventually we can all work out a consensus that most of us (and the planet) can live with. Like many members of the Neopagan community, I grew up as part of the 60's counterculture. Our primary interactions with law enforcement officers and soldiers were generally of the negative sort. We saw them as the upholders of a corrupt status quo, mouthing platitudes about freedom and democracy while they beat in our heads or napalmed little children. Yet, most of us grew up thrilling to the adventures of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and other noble, idealistic warriors. In later years, some of us studied the martial arts, and watched television shows such as "Kung Fu", where the emphasis was on the lone warrior who is a master of him/herself first, and of others only incidentally. All of these experiences gave us conflicting ideas about the nature and role of violence in our lives. Those of our generation who suffered in Vietnam or in the ghettos are musch less idealistic than those of us who have been on the dojo floor or the medievalist tournament field. As we create a religion for the future, we must have a coherent body of polytheological opinions about violence. These opnions must reflect our ideals, while being fully informed about historical realities, if we hope to change the world enough so that future history will not simply be a bloody repetition of the past. The awareness of this essential conflict between practical survival needs and ethical ideals is not new. Our Indo-European ancestors (like most other peoples of the past) spent a lot of time thinking about it, and preserved their wisdom in their myths, sagas, and folktales. So before I begin to express my own conclusions about the various issues involved, I'd like to quote from Jaan Puhvel's excellent book on Indo-European myth and epis, Comparative Mythology (John Hopkins Univ. Press, 1987). After repeated tellings of teh standard Indo-European warrior myth as it appears in the different cultures, he has this to say (in the chapter on "God and Warrior") about it: Basic to that [standard Indo-European Warrior] myth is a profound anomic [lawlessness, social alienation] of the human and societal condition, rooted in the use and abuse of power. Order, securitry, peace - positive conditions all - tend to depend for their preservation on the readiness of something that is inherently destructive, such as "security forces" or a military machine with the attendant mentality. If boosters of law enforcement like to describe their favorite agents of public order as a thin phalanx protecting civilization from anarchy, there is an even thinner line seperating champion from beserk, police action from police riot. Those trained as agents of aggresion and represion may experience difficulty functioning as normal human beings under great stress, or conversely when the pressure is off. Such abnormality also induces clannishness vis-a-vis the general society, "fraternal orders", "Protective" associations, gangsm juntas, and other forms of structured apartness. This kind of perennial tension is reflected in the ancient myths. Warlike exaltation, martial ecstasy where fury gets out of hand, is displayed by the Third Horatius, by Cuchulainn by the berserkir. The Maruts, sodalas, fiana, or einherjar constituted bands with their own inner structure and interctional dynamics, with a collective svadha or "ethos" (the two cognates meaning etymologically 'self-law, autonomy') that was only capriciously at the call of a commanding figure such as Indra, Publicola, Finn or Odin. The warlord himself could be equally self-willed individualist and from inspired and inspiring leader shade over into a lone-wolf kind of martial toiler (Indra led the Maruts, and yet he was also eka- 'one, alone, unique', acted yathavasam 'as he chose' and had a svadah of his own). The warrior thus had an ambivalant role as a single champion or part of a self-centered corps or coterie, both a society's external defender and its potential internal menace. After discussing the myths about warrior kings and warrior gods, Puhvel devotes the rest of the chapter to the stories about mythic heroes, of the sort that many NeoPagans who perceive themselves to be warriors patter themselves after. Here's what he has to say (with my comments in the square brackets): ...A Third type was the warrior who was not divine but a saga hero manipulated by deity, not a king but merely in royal service. This is the kind most marked by a tense relationship to the environment where he operated, to his divine and human patrons and his social constituency at large. He had no agglomeration of transfunctional attributes to lose [as the warrior kings and warior gods did], but he nevertheless managed to offend (or was perceived as offending) all segments of the social order by a structured set of misdeeds. With his flawed willfullness (or perhaps his "programmed", predestined, predictable nature) he comprimised his career by nadir episodes that involved impious/unjust/sacrilegious, cowardly/under handed/unwarriorlike, and covetous/venal/adulterous acts respectively [the 'three sins' against the three Indo-European social functions of legal and spiritual rulership, courasgeous defense of the community, and prosperity and fertility]... The varieties described are found in epic, saga and folklore, from the fells of Scandinavia to the jungles of India, from the Bay of Bengalk via the Gulf of Argos and the Tiber to Galaway Bay. These kinds are not extinct - they were spotted not long ago on both the Mekong and the Potomac [and in Central America, Afghanistan, Africa, Moscow, etc]. As I mentioned in D.P.#1, "one of the primary tasks of the clergy has always been to ride herd on the warriors...Since the primary threat to life on this planet now comes from out-of-control warriors, it's time we started taking that duty seriously again. "We can no longer ignore the issues involved. Here, in no particular order, are some of my thoughts: Despite my loose use of the former term in D.P.#1, I perceive important distinctions between "warriors" and "soldiers," with the former word having positive meanings for me and the later negative ones. In order to define my terms clearly, I will now oversimplify: A "warrior" is a person who has been trained to use violence both effectively and selectively, but who refrains from doing so except when she/he perceives a genuine danger to her/himself or to others in the community whom she/he deems worthy of protection. She or he strives to use exactly the minimum amount of violence (if any) of whatever sort is necessary to defeat the danger, and is willing to risk her/his life in the process. A warrior prefers to see teh face of his/her enemy, and takes personal responsibility for the ethics of his/her behavior. While she/he may enjoy her/his occupation and may experience and appreciate the thrill of battle, she/he does not enjoy or disregard the emotional and moral effects of killing. Warriors will comete with each other, not just to hone their combat skills, but to emphasize their indiividual identities. Courage, honor, integrity, and self-awareness are the ideals I associate with this image of the warrior. A "soldier", on the other hand, I perceive as a hired killer, whose primary task is not the defense of his/her community, although that claim is usually made, but rather the defense of that community's political, social, religious, and economic rulers. A soldier enjoys being violent, especially when she/he has superior odds, and often becomes addicted to the battle frenzy (berserkirgang) experience --many to the point of receiving sexual satisfaction from the destruction they cause. He or she will kill any man, woman, or child that he/she is ordered to kill, simply because he/she was told to do so (as with the Russian airmen who shot down K.A.L. flight 007, or the American seamen who blew up that Iranian airliner). A soldier is perfectly willing to kill at a distance, without ever seeing the faces of his/her victims, and even when she/he sees them up close does not consider them to be "real" human beings (but "huns" or "Japs", or "Gooks", or "Micks", etc). A soldier considers rape and plunder to be a natural right in time of war, even if the war is against citizens of his/her own country. Perhaps most importantly for the purposes of this essay, a soldier takes NO RESPONSIBILITY for the ethics of his/her actions, since she/he is "only following orders". To transform a person from a civilian into a soldier, its generally necessary to extinguish her/his individuality and integrity, and to replace them as much as possible with group identity and unthinking, machinelike obedience. (Robert Anton Wilson has an excellant, and somewhat terrifying analysis of military basic training as a classic "brainwashing" process in 'Prometheus Rising'.) This obedience to authority, "winning", and emotional insensativity to the impact of his/her behavior on the lives of others, are the ideals of the soldier. Of course, most generals and admirals will tell the general public (and their soldiers whenever the public happens to be listening) that the warrior ideals are the ones that soldiers do and should have, but this publically presentable official message is easily drowned out by the other messages delivered during basic training. Now obviously this is a slanted, dualistic view, one that comes from growing up reading about Nazi war crimminals, seeing films of soldiers dropping napalm on small children, studying the history of the European, American and Russian Empires, going to High school near a major military base, etc. and coparing the data gained from these sources to the idealistic legends mentioned earlier. But in order to avoid monotheistic dualism here, lets create a value spectrum with the above defined "warrior" on one end, and the "soldier" on the other. Most modern police officers, security guards, and members of the armed forces will fit somewhere along the line between the two extremes. ABout the only ones who will come close to being real warriors will be those individuals who have dedicated their lives to the Martial arts, and a few political and social activists. (Since some people like to play games with the phrase "martial arts", saying that anything having to do with the Roman god Mars should be counted, including soldiering and C.I.A. assasinations, let me emphasize that when I say "martial arts", I'm refering to Tai Chi, Akido, Karate, Kung Fu, etc as well as similar practices from non-oriental sources, when followed as a philosophy and a way of life.) Perhaps we need two more axes of polarity here, a vertical one for degree of sanity or insanity, and another going off at right angles to the first two, for ethicality and unethicality of character. Warriors going beserk or cops rioting against a group of protestors would go near the insane end of the sainty-insanity scale, while a C.I.A. Hitman or the members of a S.W.A.T. team trying to eliminate a sniper might belong near the sane end. Of course, that hit-man would probably belong on the Wrong side of the ethical- unethical spectrum (depending on his/her target?), as would a Mafia hit-man, Nazi Stormtrooper, or a Russian airman dropping napalm on children in Afghanistan. As American Neopagans, we might decide that the soldiers who fought in the American Revolutionary War were ethical to do so (our English members might disagree) or those in the U.S. Cavalry during the "Indian Wars" (unless you're part or all Native American, or have studied the history carefully, in which case those same soldiers become unethical), etc. Many of these judgements are dificult to make, especially if you belong to a multivalued, pluralistic religion such as Neopaganism. But it should be clear that, despite the conflicting ideals discussed earlier, not all warriors are ethical and sane, and not all soldiers are unethical and insane. Nonetheless, I will make the argument, for the rest of this essay, that in our time it is far more difficult for a soldier to remain both ethical and sane from a Neopagan point of view than it is for a warrior to do so (law enforcement officers wind up in the middle - as usual). Let's get down to some ethical/spiritual nitty-gritty: IT IS WRONG, under any and all circumstances, to drop napalm on kids, or to machine-gun women with babies, or to launch a missile towards abuilding full of elderly people. IT IS WRONG to kill a total stranger, simply because his/her politicians disagree with yours as to the best way the two of you should be swindled. IT IS WRONG, to kill, maim, and torture people simply in order to maintain the wealth and power of multinational corporations, or of the central party apparatus, or of the leader's of one's religion. IT IS WRONG to defoliate thousands of acres of forests or jungles, or to poison rivers and wells, or to poison rivers and wells, or to disseminate new diseases. IT IS WRONG to help dictators to more effctively torture, rape, and enslave their own citizens (or those of neighboring countries), no matter what benefits our own political and economic masters might gain. IT IS WRONG FOR ANY REASON THAT A HUMAN IS CAPABLE OF INVENTING, to create, maintain or use weapons that can kill every man, woman, child, plant and animal on Earth, raping our Mother to death with nuclear fire. Our planet can survive a hundred or even a thousand years of domination by any "evil empire". It won't survive World War Three. To assist in any way, shape or form in killing the entire biosphere (at this point the only one we know exists) is the ultimate blasphemy which a worshipper of Mother Earth could commit. I could not live with myself if I did not know, on a gut-level basis, that these things are Wrong. All the metaphysical and theological and political excuses in the world cannot change these crimes into acts of virture or herosim. Yet each of them is an action that any member of most modern army, navy or air forces (especially those of the "superpowers" - what they used to call empires) can expect to be ordered to commit, sooner or later. The excuses will be grandiose, the justifications noble, and the instructions quite clear: "Do as you're told - That's an order!" Each and every one of these actions is one that I expect a Neopagan (Or a sane, ethical warrior of any other faith) to refuse to perform, even at the risk of court-martial and execution (that's easy for me to say - all I have to worry about is execution, legally or illegally for the 'treasons' of voicing these opinions). THus, I believe that Neopagans, whether Wiccans, Druids or members of any other variety of Neopaganism, have no place in a modern superpower's military. (The Coast Guard or a state militia might be an exception to this basic principle, except when they are performing functions unconnected to actually defending the lives of the populance, but one would have to evaluate each such organization individually. I know that the National Guard in California, for example, actually spends most of its time fighting forest fires, but I remember when it was used against antiwar demonstrators back in the 60's. The kids who shot the kids at Kent State were members of the Ohio National Guard. And lately the Coast Guard has been spending most of its time busting drug smugglers which gets us into the topic of Neopagans and law enforcement, to be discussed later in this essay). As for those Neopagans who are currently in the military, and who are sensibly unwilling to risk death by firing squad, I believe that you should attempt to get out, by any comparitively ethical means necessary, as soon as you can. If escaping really is impossible (and not just damned inconvient), you should try to get transferred to units where your activities will be only remotely connected (they can never be completely unconnected) to those of others actually committing the crimes of the sort mentioned. The question of whether or not we should have Druid or other Neopagan chaplains for Neopagans who choose to join or remain in the military is a messy one. If, as I believe, you're not supposed to be there in the first place, what role does a chaplain have other than to betray his/her faith by telling you it's OK? Would the military allow a chaplain who went around persuading folks to quit? The suggestion that Neopagans, whether chaplains or laity, should be in the military in order to enlighten the armed forces from within is absurd - as soon as you got close to actually changing people's minds, you'd be arrested for "subversion." A discussion of Neopagan chaplains is quite moot, however. The U.S. military in 1987 commissioned it's first non-Judeo-Christian chaplain (a Buddhist!) and is in no rush to have chaplains from any other minority faiths. Besides, military chaplains are expected to have been ordained after a period of college level training that would have rpepared them for full-time, professional clergy work - and we don't have anyone like that yet and are unlikely to for several years. As for young people facing the draft, I say you should refuse to register, or emigrate elsewhere as soon as your goverment actually starts taking kids. If you do register, do it as a Conscientous Objector (and be prepared for a long, messy, fight). I can hear the screams now! "How dare you tell us what to do!" "How can you make our ethical decisions for us!" "This isn't the Catholic Church, you know!" "Who made you the spokesperson for all Pagandom!" Well, nobody did. I'm the Archdruid of A.D.F. and that's about all. Nonetheless I have the same rights as anyone, polytheologian or not, to express my religious opinions. And as a "spiritual leader", I have an obligation to be truthful about my beliefs. Every other major religion in the world has doctrines about these issues. It's about time we started working ours out. As for the Norse warrior types in our ranks, I can only say that the better (sane and ethical) old Norse heroes would have had nothing but contempt for modern military procedures (although I suppose some of the Vikings might have approved of the raping, looting and pillaging part of current jungle warfare). Mithraism was practiced by many of the Roman soldiers who exterminated the Druids in Gaul, and who massacred our priests and priestesses at the main Druid Seminary on the Isle of Angelsey, so I'm inclined to feel uncharitable towards the faith. Nonetheless, it's certainly possible that some modern Neopagan warriors may choose to follow the Mithraic path. I'm uncertain, even though it is Indo-European, whether or not it belongs in A.D.F. (I'm not planning on ecouraging thuggee either, no matter how authentic it might be). "But what about national defense?" I hear some of you asking. Well, if the Chinese come swimming across the Pacific Ocean with atom bombs clenched between their teeth, or the Mexicans come charging over the border with their third-rate weaponry (we've never let them have more than they needed to keep their own people properly tyranized), attacking San DIego and El Paso, I suppose even I might concede to a necessity for some sort of National Defense. But my response ("If I were King of the Forest!") would not be to whip out weapons that can kill thousands or millions of innocent bystanders, but rather (if physical violence really were necessary) to unleash professional assasins against the individuals in the invading country's goverment who are responsible. Of course, this sort of measured response, aimed directly at the genuinely guilty parties, is simply "not done." I've had several acquaintences, who used to be in military intelligence organizations, independently tell me that U.S. spies advised our goverment back in 1938 to assasinate Adolph Hitler before he got too dangerous. This plan was vetoed on the grounds that fighting a war by assasination was likely to get OUR politicians assasinated in retaliation. So to save the lives of a handful of politicans in the US and Europe, twenty million men, women and children died. A direct result of that war was the invention and use of the very weapons that threaten our planet's survival today. Frankly, I would rather have lost twenty or thirty politicians. None of this deals with the ethics of assasination, of course. And so far, our goverment assasins have proven much more effective at eliminating democratically elected (but economically threatening) leaders (both foreign and domestic) than at killing genuine threats to world peace. Nonetheless, I would far rather live in a world where wars were fought personally by the people who benefited most from them (the generals, the politicians, the dictators/kings, the multibillionaires, the commissars, etc.) than in what we have now- those folks pulling puppet strings to make the rest of us dance, and die, to their tunes. But that's a fantasy. We are stuck with what we have. The CIA, the KGB and all the other alphabet comrades take their orders from the powers-that-be in each nation/corporation, not from ordinary citizens like thee and me. This may not change in our lifetime. So even if you could convince yourself that murder is sometimes ethically justifiable, a career in these agencies is going to be no more ethical than one in the associated armed forces. But what about the theory of the "just war"? That always comes up in these discussions. I say it's just a war if you defend yourself when the KKK attacks your farmhouse and tries to shoot your husband and kids, burn down your barn, and rape your cow. At that point you're ethically, morally and even legally (outside of New York City) entitled to defend yourself and your family from "a clear and present danger." But wen the Front for the Liberation of XYZ attacks its country's Gestapo in an effort to free prisoners who are being tortured for trying to organize labor unions, and the Russians or the AMericans (or the British, the Israelis, the French, the Chinese, etc) send in tanks, bombers, napalm and experts to train the Gestapo in better torturing techniques - no, thats not a just war for the invaders - no matter what impact the results might have on teh President's or the Chairman's Swiss bank accounts, and no matter what noninterference might do to the next quater's profit margin or the current five year plan. The overwhelming majority of wars that have been fought in America's brief history, like those of Britain, France and other Western nations, have had little to do with "preserving human freedom." Our Revolution and the War of 1812 were fought so that a bunch of wealthy men (George Washington and friends) wouldn't have to pay taxes to England, at least as much as they were for "life, liberty and the pursuit of (male, land-owning) happiness." The Civil War was an economical battle between the Second Wave industrial North and the First Wave agricultural South, with the freeing of slaves an afterthought done more for it's devistating economic impact than for any concern for human rights. The genocide campaigns against the Native Americans, the multiple invasions of Central America, The Spanish American War, etc. were all done for the purpose of gaining physical territory and/or exclusive trading "rights" ("Hi, Give us all your natural resources at dirt cheap prices or we'll kill you!"). The First World War was for the benefit of the banks and the munitions manufacturers (who also had a hand in setting up WWII). Even I have to admit that Hitler needed stopping, although I've already indicated one way it could have been prevented (by all the Gods, it could have been prevented by the WWI victors simply not having been so nasty afterwards!), but the war in the Pacific was the direct result of Japanese and the American Empires disputing territory thousands of miles from either's home turf (neither of them really had any 'rights' to the Kingdom of Hawaii). Korea and Vietnam were also territorial grabs. We wanted to make sure that prime agricultural land (before defoliation, the Mekong Delta used to be called 'the Bread Basket of Southeast Asia') rubber plantations, tungsten mines, offshore oil deposits, etc., remained under our control (or that of our 'friends'), rather than let the rival Chinese or Russian Empires have them. Not to mention the wonderful locations for air, land and naval bases close to our rivals (no "Monroe Doctrine" for our competitors, no-sir-ree, just for us). None of this shhould be surprising, except for those who believe their high school history books or the stories in the mass media. Every Empire in history has acted this way: The Russian Empires (both Czarist and Communist), the Chinese ones, the British, etc., going all the way back to Mesopotamia, have all grabbed as much loot as they could and have made up whatever excuses, if any, their soldiers needed to hear. In most of tehmodern empires, however, it has become necessary to claim that one's invading armies are not conquering turf, but are liberating toiling masses instead. China doesn't commit genocide in Tibet, it "educates people away from their superstitions." America doesn't prop up sleezy dictators who are killing their own citizens, we "help friendly goverments to maintain a strong defense against communisim." Russia didn't invade Afghanastan to gain access to the Middle East and create another buffer state around its national borders, it was "helping a friendly goverment to maintain a strong defense against capitalism" - oops, that one's already been used." The bottom line of all this political discussion is that goverments - all goverments - habiotually lie to their citizens and thhe rest of the world, especially when planning and executing wars. The only thing that makes ours any better is that the U.S. was founded by a bunch of agnostic, skeptical, Freemasons who didn't trust goverments very much - including the one they were founding - and who tried to see to it that intelligent people could keep the corruption and tyranny down to a dull roar. But that's impossible if citizens naively believe whatever whatever their goverment tells them is true, routinely obey whatever orders they are told have come down from on high, and object to messages like this one being published. I'm not the first to point out these unpleasant and "treasonous" truths - Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, H.L. Mencken, and other famous/infamous people repeatedly remarked on the gullibiliity of teh general public when faced with official versions of reality. People not only tend to believe what they're told when goverments are leading young men off to slaughter, they tend to actively disbelieve any evidence to the contrary. Historians now know that the Lusitania, supposedly an innocent cruise liner whose sinking by the German navy was one of the primary incidents that led the U.S. into entering WWI, was indeed carrying ammunition to the British. Evidence has accumilated that the U.S. battleship Maine was blown up by American spies in order to create an incident to goad a reluctant public into the Spanish-American War. John F. Kennedy, who was begining to de-escalate the Vietnam War, was "coincidentally" assasinated, then replaced with someone who was quite williing to keep the war going as long as needed. All this has been published over and over again, in scholarly jopurnals, in the back pages of newspapers, in obscure political magazines. But very few people read these unpopular facts, and most of those who do don't believe them, since they contradict the history books, the goverment, the press, and the military. Those who do believe are so cynical that they don't think it really matters - after all, whats' done is done. In one sense they're right. We can't change the past. All we can try to do is to remember as many of its lessons as possible. Amoung those many lessons are (a) goverments seldom are willing to pass up any opportunity to gain greater power, (b) goverments always become more powerful in wartime, and therefore (c) there is a built-in incentive for goverments to be iin a constant state of war. So we not only have to watch the scoundrels in our own goverment, but those in all the others as well. How does all this political skepticism tie into Neopagan ethical approaches to military service? Very simply. When our goverment tells us, or anybody else's goverment tells its citizens, that awar is necessary for "national defense," the odds are a thousand to one that the goverment is lying. For the individual member of the armed forces, murder, rape and pillage, whether directo or by remote control, become even harder to excuse when you haven't even a shred of hard evidence that teh crimes you are being ordered to commit are actually going to protect your loved ones at home from whatever theoretical threat is being waved in your face. What you can be sure your crimes will do - up to the point where someone starts WWII - is to fatten several national leaders' Swiss bank accounts, generate enormous profits for the arms industry in all the countries involved (the same companies in Europe sold weapons to all sides in both World Wars, and are still doing it today), get rid of a lot of surplus teenage males (always a threat to the inner stability of any culture), and thoroughly mix the gene pools of the survivors. None of these results, except the last, is one that the average Neopagan approves of, and there are plenty of ethical (and much more pleasant) ways to mix genes. So I'm forced to repeat my earlier conclusions. Despite all the traditional arguments about "just wars" and "national defense" and making the world safe for democracy/capitalism/communisim, etc, a soldier, sailor, marine, or airfighter in a modern superpower armed forces organization is holding down a job where he/she has agreed to commit acts of a grossly unethical and immoral nature whenever he/she is ordered to commit them, for reasons that will usually be equally unethical and immoral. That makes superpower military service (and that in many smaller nations) a "wrong livelihood" for a Neopagan. Period. What about other forms of "serving your country?" If the goverment decides that all citizens must spend a year or two working as firefighters, or conservation corpsmembers, or hospital workers or street pavers, etc., then such service may be perfectly ethical and moral. An argument can even be made that such community service is a genuine moral obligation (nobody, except absolute Libertarians, likes parasites very much). However, if such service becomes "alternative service," meaning that you are filling a job position so that someone else can go commit crimes in your place, then you haven't escaped the ethical and moral issues, however worthy the service you are performing might be. I'd like to emphasise that I am not saying that Neopagans in the military are "bad people" or "lousy excuses for Pagans." Many very good people join the military for reasons that have little to do with wanting to kill. They join to get job training (although they often get cehated in this area), to earn tuition to pay for college later, to travel around the world (..."visit exotic places, meet fascinating people, and kill them"), or because they genuinely believe that they will be helping to "defend their country" by becoming part of the military machine. If you grow up believing everything that the goverment and the mass media tells you, this sort of innocence is understandable. What I am saying is that Neopagans now in the military, or contemplating being there, should think long and hard about all the issues and arguments, official and unofficial, overt and covert, genuine and fraudulent, before they decide to stay or joiin. Now about those Pagan cops: As I see it, the major polytheological point in evaluating the morality and ethicality of law enforcement has to do with the nature of the laws that are being enforced. A discussion in the field of criminology: "Crimes with victims" and "crimes without victims". The former are the obvious ones: murder, rape, arson, theft, fraud, most traffic laws, etc. and some subtler ones such as bribery, graft, etc. The latter are activities in which there either is no victim at all or in which the primary "victim" is the criminal: the vast majority of sex, drug, and gambling crimes fall under this classification. In essance, Judeo-Christian preachers who have been unable to convince their congregations to stop "sinning" have used their political power to get the civil goverments to declare various sins to be "crimes". It seems clear to me that no culture can survive for long if it allows crimes with victims to take place without efforts to prevent the crimes and/or punish the criminals. It seems equally clear that the legal creation of "crimes without victims" is a complete violation of the principle of seperation of church and state, but such is not unusual. A Neopagan cop who is devoting his/her career to working on a homocide squad, or investigating arson, or solving rapes etc, is behaving in a perfectly appropriate fashion for a Neopagan. Contrarywise, if she or he is arresting prostitutes, or busting gay couples for sodomy, or destroying pot fields, then she/he is not acting in keeping with Neopagan beliefs, but is instead using the force of the civil goverment to impose Judeo-Christian (and corporate) values on the general populance. That's not only immoral and unethical, it's unconstitutional as well. Unfortunately, in order to get promoted to a position where you can concentrate on crimes-with-victims, you usually have to spend several years enforcing victimless crimes. The other major sorts of crimes without victims are the political ones. In these "crimes", generally useful laws are reinterpeted to forbid what are supposed to be constitutionaly protected protest activities. And this is where we get into gray areas of interpetation. If a hundred thousand people are marching down a street protesting a goverment policy (ie, exercising their constitutional right to peacably assemble and petition the goverment for a redress of their grievances), it's immoral and unethical to attack them with billy clubs and police dogs, even if you think their opinions stupid or ignorant. But if someone from an ecological action group has decided to destroy bulldozers, or sink whaling ships or dump bags of red paint on members of a goverment commission who are neglecting their duties to protect endangered species - then we have a problem., Their activities are clearly illegal, and are indeed crimes that have victims (the developers, the whalers, the bureaucrats), yet they are being done to prevent even greater crimes, ones that many Neopagans would also oppose. Personally I cheered when I heard about the "eco-terrorists" who sank the whaling vessel in Iceland, wrecked the whalers mainframe computer and destroyed the freezing units. But when you become a law enforcement officer you swear an oath to uphold the law as written. You aren't (officially) allowed to pick and choose which laws you will enforce and which you will ignore, although every cop I've ever known did, in fact, pick and choose on a daily basis, simply as a matter of necessity in big cities (where there's too much crime going on for the police to stop all of it), and of tradition in small towns(where the local cop or sheriff is often judge, jury and punisher as well). However, as a law enforcement officer, you're supposed to enforce every law as it currently exists, no matter how unjust, stupid, immoral or ecocidal it might be. If a Neopagan takes that oath, she or he is going to be in spiritual trouble sooner or later. Yet, unlike the average member of the military, a cop routinely acts in a genuinely heroic way. The highway patrol keeps the crazies from killing the rest of us on the roads. Homicide detectives try to find murderers and stop them. SWAT teams capture or kill insane people who are shooting passersby. Cops pull people from burning cars and buildings, rescue drowining children, give mouth-to-mouth and CPR to collapsed victims of heart attacks, and risk their lives every day they go out onto big city streets. If we had a legal system that was sane, rational and upheld the seperation of church and state, and a politcial system that was not terrified of its own citizens, then the career of law enforcement might be a completely honorable one, all the time, for a Neopagan. As it is, Neopagan cops must constantly be making complex ethical and moral decisions about their own behavior as cops. If you can find a section of your law enforcement agency where you can be exclusively involved in solving and/or preventing genuine crimes with victims, then you could have a long and honorable career. But if you are a general duty officer, then sooner or later you are going to be ordered to arrest someone you think is harmless and innocent, simply because they've violated some Judeo-Christian taboo. Thus, being a cop can be a right livelihood for a Neopagan, but its a hard road to walk. Nonetheless, there are advantages to the Neopagan community as a whole, in having cops around who know that Neopagans aren't baby-killing monsters. Certainly the fundimentalist cops are working real hard to convince the rest of their collegues that Neopagans are no different from the Satanists who are committing atrocities. Having some knowledgeable members of our community be also part of the law enforcement community can only improve communications between all of us. Having said all these negative things about soldiers and cops, just what sorts if warriors DO I approve of? Well it should be obvious from my earlier remarks that I believe that martial artists are worthy of admiration, as are spir5tual warriors in the Native American style (though that phrase, like "shaman" has been badly abused by New Agers and Neopagans alike). I also approve of earth Warriors or "ecoguerillas", such as the members of Earth First! and the Sea Shephard Soceity, who are willing to risk their own lives to protect our Mother. I think that private citizens who fight for freedom and our constitutional rights, through such groups as Common Cause, People for the America Way, the American Civil Liberties Union, etc. are warriors worthy of our admiration. What all these warriors have in common, and what I think is fully in keeping with the warrior ideals of our Paleopagan ancestors, is a belief that process is as important as results. To a martial artist a dishonorable victory is not a victory. Ecoguerillas try very hard to avoid endangering human and animal life while they are destroying machinery. The legal action groups mentioned use constitutional means to defend the constitution, even though they know that their enemies will not. And let us not forget the herosim of many people who do not think of themselves as warriors. The woman who pulls a plaow because her children are hungry and the horse died, is a hero. The man who stays awake night after night nursing a sick child, is a hero. The nonviolent activist who lays her body down in front of a bulldozer or a truck carrying toxic waste, is a hero. The antinuclear protestor who is willing to go to jail for his or her beliefs, such as Starhawk, is a hero. And they are all, in their own ways, warriors that we can be proud of. A genuine warrior confronts her or his enemy as another human being, not as a faceless stranger or a nonhuman "thing". A genuine warrior is willing to risk his or her own life, job, reputation, family relationships, and more, to fight for what he or she believes is morally and ethically right. A genuine warrior knows that her or his greatest challenge is internal, rather than external. If any of us wish to call ourselves "Warriors for the Gods" or "Defenders of Our Mother", then we must be willing to pledge "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" to the causes we claim to believe in. Anything less may be good on its own merits, but is not true heroism. Thor, Indra, Athena, and Kali are not impressed by fancy costumes, expensive weapons, or self serving excuses. They are the ones who will judge whether someone is really a Neopagan warrior or a blowhard - not me, not ADF, and not the Neopagan Community. So if we are going to have warrior cults within ADF, the organizers are going to have to have their acts together. Each of them should select a cause with which most Neopagans can agree, then train themselves to fight for it effectively (not just romantically - but thats another whole essay), and begin the process of fighting. Just sitting around drinking beer and swapping war stories/myths is not going ti be enough to gain them any respect or support from the rest of us. Putting their bodies on the line for Our Mother will.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank