finnisboylegrisezconcludingchristianthoughts

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Unformatted text preview: Nuclear Deterrence, Morality and Realism jOHN FINNIS \\\ jOSEPH M. BOYLE,]r. GERMAIN GRISEZ CLARENDON PRESS - OXFORD I987 t ‘4 I. Boyle, Joseph M., 194.2— . Oxford Unioem'y Press, Walton Street, Oxford 0X2 6DP Oxford New York Toronto Delhi Bombay Calcutta Madras Karachi Petaling jaja Singapore Hong Kong Tokjo Nairobi Dar es Salaam Cape Town Melbourne Auckland and associated companies in Beirut Berlin Ibadan Nicosia Oxford is a trade mark of Oxflird Universiy Press Published in the United States by Oxford University Press, New York © john Finnis, joseph M. Boyle, Jr., Germain Grisez 1967 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be repmduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Oxford University Press This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in anyflmn of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser British Libray Cataloguing in Publication Data Finnis, M. Nuclear deterrence, morality and realism. I. Deterrence (Strategy)—Moral and ethical aspects 2. Nuclear warfare—Moral and ethical aspects 1. Title II. Boyle, Joseph M. 111. Grisez, Germain 172'42 U22 ISBN o—rg—deflge-g ISBN 0—!9—(924791—5 Pbk Librag of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Finnis, john. Nuclear deterrence, moralitj and realism. Bibliography: p. Includes index. I. Deterrence (Strategy)—Moral and ethical aspects. 2. Nuclear warfare—Religious aspects—Christianity. II. Grisez, Germain Gabriel, 1929— . 111. Title. U162.F48 1967 172'42 5—2380; ISBN o—rg—deflge-g ISBN o—rg—deflgrfi (pbk.) Set by Oxfiird Text System Printed in Great Britain at the University Printing House, Oxfiird by David Stanfird Printer to the University ‘ “1:: :17qu -.. ~ XIV Concluding Christian Thoughts XIV.I WHY WRITE THIS BOOK? Coming to the end of a book like this, one may well feel dis- heartened, not only by the bleak prospects of every political and strategic option, but also by the seeming futility of efforts to reason about the whole matter. Arguments make little im- pact upon reality. The policies of great nations, and their gigantic security systems, are hardly likely to be changed by philosophical reflections. Even individuals are unlikely to be convinced by a book of this sort. Almost every rcader comes to it with definite convictions, for or against the deterrent. And though we have tried to examine the facts carefully, and to develop cogent arguments, we are under no illusion that our work will seem absolutely tight. The network of factual observations, definitions, distinctions, analogies, and other arguments is extensive and complex. Each reader may have found in our train of argument some laboured stretches, if not halts, where it seemed sensible to get off. From past experience, we anticipated such dissatisfaction when we began this project. Why, then, did we undertake it? As a constitutional lawyer concerned with social and political theory, a moral philosopher, and a moral theologian, we have been reflecting on nuclear deterrence for many years. Having reached our conclusions by some distinctive arguments and assessments, we thought we should refine and publish them. But the effects ofany such work are, we think, the responsibility of readers more than authors. Reading the work of scholars on moral issues can help one think through, re-examine, and refine one’s own views. That has been our own experience, especially in working on this 368 Concluding Christian Thoughts great issue. So we hope that, even ifit seems inadequate, our work too may be found helpful. At critical moments in history, when the inertia ofvast histor- ical trends is exhausted, the marginal impulse of ideas can markedly affect the direction ofdevelopments,just as smalljets can set the direction ofa large space vehicle once it enters into orbit. We do not pretend to identify or foresee such a moment. But one might come if the present balance of power began to break down. Ifthat were to happen, and radically new options were to open up before humankind, it could be important to have available a body of moral thinking which now seems futile. Even now, the approach we defend is important for society and politics. Although convinced that the intention to kill the innocent embodied in the deterrent is morally indefensible, we have argued (XIII.374) that everyone in the W'est———and especially unilateralists like ourselvesmmust beware lest the resolve of our nations be corrupted by a moral idealism too weak to reverse the murderous national policies. Compromises between moral requirements and deterrent capabilities may bring the West to a point where its deterrents are fatally weak- ened without the slightest offsetting improvement oftheir moral character. At the same time, we have argued that conventional, short-sighted political realism and strategic thinking must not prevent the West from making the sacrifices and taking the risks realistically required to work towards a world order less vicious and threatening than today’s. x1V.2 REALISM? What seems to us balanced realism may seem to others mere lack of the courage of our convictions. Opponents of the de- terrent may think us ineffectual for deploying an elaborate moral argument against it, only to accept certain positions not far from those of conventional realists. Proponents of the deterrent may think us naive and evasive. For isn’t it clear that if many people accepted the moral case for unilateralism, the West would be gravely weakened in its resistance to an ideology that cares little for morality or conscience? Is our more complex “v.2 Concluding Christian Thoughts 369 political advice anything more than a salve for tender con- sciences? And isn’t there something unhealthy about the moral- istic concern for personal clean hands? Indeed, if consistent moral reasoning condemned the deterrent, wouldn’t that be a reductio ad obsurdum of moral reasoning itself? Doesn’t every- thing, even ‘reason’, have its sensible limits? Well, the deterrent seems realistic because so far it has not failed. But it is optimism indeed#whether naive or wilful—to think that the deterrent strategy can be maintained indefinitely without disaster. Many strategists and military men who have thought honestly and deeply about it will freely admit that this is so. Yet they hope that some day, soon enough, there may be mutually agreed nuclear disarmament. But this hope, too, is optimism, and very shallow. For, as we have argued (XII.I), the history of the nuclear era offers no ground for considering mutual disarmament a realistic prospect in the foreseeable future. When conventionally realistic policies failed in the past, the disaster was usually quite limited. (Not always, nor for every— one; the disaster that befell European Jews 1930—45 was virtually total. It deserves to be called a ‘holocaust’.) Our moral judgment on the deterrent is not grounded on the prospect of nuclear holocaust. But that prospect—one in no way dimin- ished by close acquaintance with the facts about existing deterrentsAcertainly casts an eerie light over every attempt to portray nuclear deterrence as worldly realism. Even ifone can set aside the prospect ofapocalyptic devasta- tion, one should admit the absurdity of the present world order. Rival superpowers propose competing visions of a peaceful world of freedom, peace, and justice. Yet they assure one another of destruction (‘if...’); they exploit other peoples, though in different ways and to very different degrees; and they spend vast wealth and resources in their competition, while in large measure neglecting the present misery ofa world they hope to benefit in the future but also threaten to destroy. But can we, consistently, argue in this way? Or are we sliding into the consequentialism we have rejected? Our moral abso- lutism, against consequentialism, will doubtless have seemed to conventional realists a very unappealing aspect of our case, 370 Concluding Christian Thoughts quite apart from its implications for the deterrent. Even if realists grant that consequentialism fails as an ethical theory, still they will defend consequentialism’s emphasis on the actual realizations of human goods in prospective states of affairs. How can moral absolutists care enough about real human misery to ground an argument on it, rather than on the moral law to be fulfilled for duty’s sake alone? Manifestly we are neither Stoics nor Kantians. But, con- fessing to being Christians, we may be suspected of another form of deontologyof the legalistic voluntarism so strong in much ofthe tradition ofcommon morality. Those imbued with this voluntarism placed great emphasis on keeping the Com- mandments, avoiding sin, keeping out of hell, and getting to heaven. They considered wise those who obey God and gain a future reward, and foolish those who defy God and receive their just deserts. If this book rested finally on a vision of humankind subservient to a superhuman tyrant, the realist might rest his case on the human self-respect such a vision so demeans. Here is a true challenge: to show, in some other way, why it makes sense to adhere, whatever the consequences, to the stringent precept against killing the innocent. To meet this challenge adequately would need a book as long as this, at least. But we can outline an understanding of the Christian faith, an understanding which we think fairly articulates the common Christian tradition. Though that faith includes God, divine commands, heaven, and hell, our account is quite dif- ferent from the near voluntarism which many readers, we think, will have assumed, or been taught, was the core of that tradi- tion, and of common morality. Those who know better may pass over the following section. Those who are curious to glimpse the foundations ofa tradition which, after all the distortions and misadventures of its course through the centuries, is still shared by the authors of this book—not as traditional, but as trueimay be willing to read a simple profession of faith. Justification for these beliefs may be sought elsewhere. Here we state them only—and just to the extent necessary—to identify the realities which make moral absolutes integral to authentic realism and self-respect. x1v.3 Concluding Christian Thoughts 371 XIV.3 A PROFESSION OF FAITH The life and happiness of the one God is the shared life and happiness of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That life and hap- piness forever precedes their creation of everything, visible and invisible. They created not for any benefit to themselves, but to express God’s goodness and to enlarge the family of persons. Human persons, and the human family, are made in the image ofthe divine persons and family. But human persons do not at once share as fully as they can in the life and happiness naturally proper to God. Created with their own nature and possibilities, they are endowed with a certain real independence from God. Having the power of free choice, men and women do not become members of the divine family against their will. The mutuality required for full friend- ship—as distinct from relationships such as masterislavei is possible between divine and created persons because created persons can accept or reject the divine proposal, and their role in it, with a freedom similar to that with which God makes it. We believe, then, that life in this world is the embryonic stage of the life each human being is created to live, that death in this world will be birth into another life, and that for those who do not reject God’s proposal of full friendship, the other world will be a common home: in the words of the tradition, ‘heaven’ or ‘the kingdom’. That common home is to be rich not only in the life and happiness natural to the divine persons but also in the goods proper to created persons. Human life in this world has its great significance not only as the acceptance or rejection of God’sgoffer of friendship but also as the shaping of human selves and relationships which can continue in the everlasting life of the divineihuman family and friendship. Like the acceptance or rejection, so the shaping ofselves and relationships is in and through free choices. But human persons are called to God’s kingdom as bodily persons, whose relationships with one another are bodily, and whose life and flourishing require a corporeal world. So in developing one’s gifts through work and play, as in every mor- ally significant action, one prepares material for the heavenly kingdom. God’s promise is to re-crcate and perfect the material we cherish and prepare, not least our bodies lost at death, and 372 Concluding Christian Thoughts to make these realities part ofthe fabric of that ultimate sharing oflife and happiness. Human goods, therefore, cannot be fully appreciated if con- sidered only in the context of this world, in abstraction from the place they will have in heaven. Nothing of true human worth brought to be in this world is of merely passing value. Whatever is humanly good is to last. All the consequences for persons of their own and others’ acts are important, for human goods are important not merely as ideals, but as realized in actual persons and communities. Most important among these consequences are what people do to themselves and to one another when they make choices, and when their behaviour carries out a choice. What sort of persons men and women are, what sort of communities they form and build up—~these are more important than anything they have, and than anything else they might try to achieve. But all the good fruits of human nature and eflbrt are important. Wishing all men and women tojoin the heavenly communion freely and make their personal contributions to its richness, the creator provided human beings with a guide to their choices and efforts: the moral demands of their own reasonableness. These demands, like a law written in human hearts, direct each human person to promote the goods immanent in moral personality and morally ordered community. Choices which respond to those demands prepare most effectively the material of the heavenly kingdom. Choices which do not respond to those demands violate human goods in pursuit of some arbit- rary and distorted fragment of human fulfilment. Such choices fail to prepare worthy material for the kingdom; in making them, people refuse to make themselves ready, as individuals and as a community, to share in the heavenly communion. Stringent moral precepts which can seem senseless in the this-worldly predicament of an individual or community thus can make sense when human life is understood in its most far- reaching and proper perspective: its relationship to a heavenly life and community which, even in this world, is being built up in and through human choices and efforts. The moral ‘abso- lutes’ are not arbitrary hurdles; they require that, in serving human persons reasonably, one refrain from any choice to violate a human person in any of the basic aspects of his or x1v. 3 Concluding Christian Thoughts 373 her personal life and well-being. And this requirement is an implication ofan upright person’s will towards integral human fulfilment, a fulfilment which begins and develops, but cannot be completed, in any this-worldly life or community. But how do wrongdoing and suffering fit into this picture? Since humankind was created and called as a family to share in the heavenly community, each person can accept or reject God’s proposal, not only as an individual, but also as a member of a human community. The rejection of God’s proposal, by those who should have led humankind, from its beginning, into the communion of divine friendship, left humankind in a state of division and conflict, and since then no one comes to be in friendship with God merely by coming to be as a member of the human race. This basic situation ofcommunal alienation is the fallen human condition, called ‘original sin’. God created the world good, and human life in this world would—so he discloses—be very different had humankind lived as a community in the friendship with God which at the be- ginning he proposed and made possible. Pervasive alienation would not be the human situation, and somehow, mysteriously, even death itself would not be everyone’s fate. The distraction of fleeting gratifications and the false security of possessing things and dominating other persons would not have the appeal they now have. But as it is, fear and conflict, self-indulgence, avarice and exploitation pervade human history. In this world, noble and generous self-sacrifice, true freedom, justice, brotherhood, and peace will always be exceptional, limited, and fragile. But sin’s abuse of freedom is possible only because God sus- tains sinners in being, together with their free choices. Having created persons free so that they may willingly accept his plan and be true friends, God does not withdraw the gift of freedom when it is abused. Conceivably, God could prevent sin and its consequences by being more selective about whom he creates and what sort of world he shapes and sustains. But though God does not choose he does accept (see X.6) all the evil we find in this world, in view of the good, otherwise impossible, that in his providence he will bring out of the situation which involves this evil. Regarded without reference to the real point of human life 374 Concluding Christian Thought: in this world, the evil which God thus allows is unintelligible and altogether appalling. But when this world is seen to be a smithy for shaping the selves that will last into eternity, and a workshop for fabricating the human material of the heavenly kingdom, the evil begins to become intelligible. Any analogy may seem to trivialize the nobility and sufferings of men and women; yet, ifdue allowances are made, an analogy can help: as an oyster cannot make a pearl without the traumatic irrita- tion of a grain of sand, so human persons could not become what they are to be without the challenges and opportunities that would be absent from a world free of sin and suflering. Thus understood, evil is less appalling, and especially so because Jesus Christ shows God’s good will toward humankind. The being and life ofJesus testify thatfifor all the awesome mystery of the divine nature and purposengod does not ex- ploit or cruelly punish the human race. For the Lord Jesus is a divine person, the Father’s eternal Son, who has voluntarily becomc man to share fully in the misery of this fallen world. Here he has established a new human community in friendship with God, a community which (though it includes many whose membership is not fully conscious) is the visible and self- conscious beginning in this world of the kingdom of heaven. During his earthly life,Jesus faced the sin and suffering which pervade the fallen world, dealt with them as best he could, stood against them, and eventually was overwhelmed by them. There are many wise and generous people who have tried to deal with evil on assumptions Jesus did not share. Some have thought it fundamentally a misunderstanding or illusion; others have thought it fundamentally a positive reality independent of and opposed to good. Jesus acted in the knowledge that, while evil leads to illusions and distorts positive realities, it fundamentally is a mutilation wrought by sin in the fabric of God’s good creation. So he did not deal with evil as if he were trying either to dissolve confusion or to destroy some opposing force. Instead, he dealt with it by healing, mending, restoring. That way of dealing with evil is the only way suited to overcome it. Every sinful, suffering member ofthe fallen human rac...
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