“To ask why we fight, is to ask why the leaves fall? It is in their nature. Perhaps there is a better question.”
This line comes from the World of Warcraft trailer for their Mists of Pandaria expansion. And whatever you can say for that expansion, the trailer is pretty awesome and the narration is brilliant.
The truth is, humans are always going to fight. We’re animals, and like every other animal out there we’re going to fight. One can no more remove the violence from man than one can remove gravity from a planet.
It is in our nature.
So as the Narrator says, perhaps there is a better question:
What is worth fighting for?
This question is as old as fighting itself, really. Everyone has their own answers.
Some say nothing at all is worth fighting for, nothing in life is worth the pain and suffering and violence. John Lenin said it quite well in his song Imagine. Other people say there are things worth the pain, the suffering, the violence. Like John Halstead, who say that the earth is worth fighting for. Some people say that the Gods and the sacred are worth fighting for, like Krasskova, Dawson, and Odinson. Or a religion is worth fighting for, like ISIS does. The end of all religion, like Atheists do. Or a nation, like the Kings of old did. Or a race, like Black Lives Matter does.
All these things people find worthy of violence, of pain, of suffering, of struggling to overcome others in order for the survival, or victory, of the thing they find worth fighting for. Worth fighting others who do not believe as they do, who believe in something else that is worth fighting for.
I have watched as Pagan has fought Pagan, each one believing they were defending their holy thing even as they tried to destroy the holy thing of someone else. I have watched as Halstead and atheist pagans attacked polytheist pagans and as polytheists pagans attacked atheist pagans and Halstead.
I have watched as Muslims all over the world attack non-muslims simply because they were non-muslims, and I have watched as more and more non-muslims rise up and prepare to attack muslims in turn.
I have myself destroyed the arguments of Halstead and others, raised flags against Muslims and Islamists for their deeds. I don’t claim that I am neutral in all this. I have fought, I have bloodied my fists as well. And I know somethings about what it is that I do. And I have realized something.
I am not better than the people I fight. What I’m doing, the violence and suffering I spread with my battle is no better, no less horrific, than the violence and suffering spread by those I’m opposing. I’m not the good man and they’re not the evil man. We just two people, or groups of people, slugging it out, no better, no worse.
There was a recent episode of Dr. Who which really encapsulates a near perfect truth about fighting. It’s a bit long, and the video is crappy, but I recommend you watch it all.
This is why I haven’t taken things with Halstead personally. This is why I don’t even take thing with Islamists all that personally, as much as I want to see that ended and never back down from that fight. I’ve known war, I’ve know violence, I understand it in a way few people ever do.
And I never want people to suffer like that, because in the end, there are things worth fighting for, but at the same time we could choose not to fight over them. Islamist could decide not to kill everyone who isn’t a muslim. Halstead could decide Polytheists don’t have to be challenged as a threat to Paganism. Polytheists could decide that Halstead doesn’t have to be expunged from the internet. We could all just sit down and never have to fight about our differences because those differences don’t have to make us bad people.
But not everyone will agree with that. Not everyone will agree not to push the shiny buttons in the box. They will believe that their side is right, that their side can win, that it’s worth risking loosing everything that exists for them for the chance to be victorious over those who disagree with them.
That a fifty percent chance of surviving is worth the fifty percent chance of dying.
And if you’ve seen my fights, seen what I fight against, you might very well notice a pattern of what I fight, of who I fight.
If you’d paid attention to the polytheist side of debate you’d notice one underlying question on that side: “why does an atheist practice a theistic religion?”
And if you look at Halstead’s side of the debate you will see another underlying statement: “any ‘paganism’ different from mine is a type of ‘paganism’ I don’t recognize and needs to go.”
If you look at Islamist the underlying statement is: “anything not my Islam needs to be destroyed.”
if you look at the other side there is a question: “what gives you the right to dictate everything must be like you believe?
Authoritarians. Dictators. The people who think their way is the only way and there should never be any other way at all.
Who in their greed feel they should get to rule everything. Who drive everyone to hate those different from them, that they need to be destroyed. That it has to be Muslim against Infidel, Atheist against polytheist, black against white. People who believe that their side is the absolute right thing to fight for and everything else must be destroyed as a threat against what they believe.
Because it is not enough to fight to protect “your people” or “your beliefs” or even what you think is worth fighting for. If that victory comes at the cost of someone else, how is it better than what they were fighting for? If ending their voice, their existence, is the price for yours, if you have destroyed like that, what makes you better than those you destroyed when the next round comes along.
I fill fight, I will kill, if need be, for what I believe. But what I believe is that all people should be free without molestation from others. I fight when someone molests someone else, when someone stands up and says “only my way shall be the way for all people!”
If the only way you can be a Pagan is if people practicing polytheism are good little children who go away or bow to your whims, then by what right shall you be? But if you can sit among all and be at peace, then what care I or others if you have no gods or hundreds?
If you can only be a Muslim by destroying everyone who is not a muslim, then what right have you to be? What would the world care if you worshiped your god so long as you molested none? It would not. And if your religion is like Islam, insisting even after over a thousand years that it is the only rightful way to be, then by what right does it have to be? If it cannot live in peace with other men, then it is at war with all men. And will be till either all other men are gone or it is.
If you can only raise up your race by tearing down the privileges of others, then how are you any better? You’re just cruel people, being cruel to other people, because you think someone was cruel to you, or you had it worse, or whatever reason. and then they are cruel to you and you scream “see, look at the cruelty of these brutes, they deserve to be torn down because their cruelty is why I suffer!”
If you cannot forgive the happiness, the existence, the beliefs of others, if you cannot forgive someone because they have something you do not or believe something you do not, if that is why you fight…
Then that is why I fight against you.
“Why do we fight? To protect home and family. To preserve balance, and bring harmony. For my kind, the true question is: what is worth fighting for?”
Liberty, Democracy, each individual life.
Charlie Chaplin says it well.
Though I may go to the edge and beyond, though I may become worse than that I set out to fight, this will always be my foundation. All people should be free, and I will do anything to protect the freedom of those that will live without harming others. So that those behind me can live free, and safe, from those in front of me.