Political Approach to Pacifism

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* Winner of CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

This volume is intended to be a comprehensive demonstration of the relevance of regime theory to issues of peace.


"Massively erudite, this work argues against absolute pacifism and "bellicism" in favor of "prudent" just-war fighting by "'American' commercial republics" into the indefinite future. Research support from the US Institute for Peace is acknowledged. The text is contained in v.1 (451 p.) and requires reference to v.2, which consists entirely of 2,229 extensive endnotes (216 p.), more than 1,500 bibliographical sources (95 p.), and a name index (37 p.). Inspired by Plato's dialogic Republic, explicitly emulated in chapter 4, Morrisey reviews arguments from antiquity to the present. His critical interpolations throughout emphasize grounds for rejection of pacifism that will be familiar to readers of this work: human nature is prone to lethal aggression; defensive killing for survival of self, society, and freedom is justified. Morrisey's uniquely comprehensive work summarizes and carries forward the long tradition of justifications for war and violence in Western political philosophy. As Leon Harold Craig notes in his study of Plato's Republic, "there is a deep relationship between philosophy and war" (The War Lover, CH, Apr'95). Recommended for war and peace collections, advanced researchers, and admirers of scholarly erudition." - Choice

". . . two volumes that well repay the effort it takes to read and understand them. As far as I can determine, there is no other book on this topic that takes the same path, namely, the path of looking at the moral issues raised by war and peace by way of what Morrisey calls the 'political orders' or regimes. . . . This book is extremely well-documented. The footnotes and bibliography amount to a study in themselves, and, in this reviewer's experience at least, put almost every other book on pacificism in the shade on this basis alone." - The Rumson Reporter

"This remarkable book studies the relationship between pacifism and political life generally. It is, as far as I know, unique in the literature. . . . it is at first startling, but then illuminating, to see a fruitful analysis showing how these much-despised "superstructures" and the statesmen who shaped them really do affect the course of history. At the same time, Morrisey goes beyond institutional analysis to a consideration of underlying philosophic and religious principles. . . . This major study is a must for college and university libraries." - Edward Vincenzi, Director, Conflict Studies Center

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