Monday, October 26, 2009

"Toward a Credible Pacifism"

New from SUNY Press: Toward a Credible Pacifism: Violence and the Possibilities of Politics by Dustin Ells Howes.

About the book, from the publisher:
Argues that violence is no more reliable than any other means of conducting politics.

Advocates of pacifism usually stake their position on the moral superiority of nonviolence and have generally been reluctant or unwilling to concede that violence can be an effective means of conducting politics. In this compelling new work, which draws its examples from both everyday experience and the history of Western political thought, author Dustin Ells Howes presents a challenging argument that violence can be an effective and even just form of power in politics. Contrary to its proponents, however, Howes argues that violence is no more reliable than any other means of exercising power. Because of this there is almost always a more responsible alternative. He distinguishes between violent and nonviolent power and demonstrates how the latter can confront physical violence and counter its claims. This brand of pacifism gives up claims to moral superiority but recuperates a political ethic that encourages thoughtfulness about suffering and taking responsibility for our actions.