The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

After Paris: The Perils of Pacifism

Readers may be
surprised to learn that I watch – but am not a fan of – the apocalyptic series,
The
Walking Dead
(TWD). Of course I dismiss the notion of zombies as pure
nonsense, just as I dismiss much past and current science fiction as nonsense. However,
the series fascinates me because it presents, in spite of its ludicrous
premise, moral dilemmas and issues related to emergency ethics. I can’t stand
the graphic
comic books
on which the series is based. And in this culture, with its too
visible protective and insular cloak of moral relativism and multiculturalism,
there isn’t much else to watch on TV.

So I’m left
with a series in which zombie craniums are disabled with a squelch of a knife
or by a bullet or by decapitation, and in which still-living human predators
are gunned down without mercy. It says a lot about our culture that virtually
the only place one might find interesting and challenging moral conflicts and
compelling characterizations is in a TV horror series.
Yes, this
column is connected to the Islamic raid on Paris on November 13th, and it’s
about an element of “mercy” that has been introduced in the series.
In one of the
very first episodes of Season One of TWD we are introduced to Morgan Jones
(played by British actor, Lennie
James
), who saves deputy sheriff Rick Grimes (played by another Brit, Andrew Lincoln; James
and Lincoln’s Georgia accents, characters, and on-screen persona are so convincing you’d hardly believe these actors are British)
after the latter awakens from a coma to find the world gone to hell. He was
shot by a criminal after a car chase through the Georgia countryside before the
apocalypse.
Morgan’s wife
has succumbed to the virus that has either killed most people or killed them
and then turned them into zombies. His wife is now a zombie, and no longer the
person he knew and the mother of his son, Duane. He has a chance to “terminate”
her – she’s just another monster now, and he knows that – but can’t make
himself shoot her. She’s in his rifle’s sights and he can’t miss. But he is
weepy and agonized by the decision, and does not pull the trigger. In a later
episode it’s revealed that his “zombie” wife had cornered his son and bit him.
He is compelled then to shoot her and also put down his son, who would
otherwise have “turned” into a zombie. His inability to terminate his wife when
he had the chance costs him his son.
His emotions
conflicted with his knowledge, and his emotions won. He pays the price.
This is an
overture to the character’s later development, which, in a sense, is a
dramatized deterioration of his moral compass. Under the tutelage of a
vegetarian/pacifist he encounters during his wanderings, he becomes an Aikido warrior. He can
terminate zombies, but refuses to kill living men who are trying to kill him.
He tells one character, and repeats it later: 
All
life is precious.
” He becomes a kind of Zen master with his stick and is
able to incapacitate his attackers, but not injure them in any permanent way,
which is one of the ends of Aikido.  
In an episode
in Season Five, Morgan is accosted in the wilds by two “Wolves,” scavengers who
carve W’s on their own foreheads and on the foreheads of their victims. They
mean to kill him, but he deftly renders them unconscious with his Aikido skills
and leaves them in an abandoned car. Where and when did he learn the art?
Season
Six, Episode Four
, is an hour-and-a-half long dramatization of how Morgan
gets his “all life is precious” mojo.  Searching
for food, he encounters a man named Eastman (a suggestive but not very subtle
name for a man enamored with the mysticism of Eastern philosophy), a former
forensic psychologist who dealt with violent criminals. Eastman imprisons
Morgan, and later they work together. Eastman teaches Morgan Aikido. He is a
kind of “Doctors Without Borders” do-gooder who, after killing the criminal who
slaughtered his family (pre-apocalypse), does penance and swears off killing
anyone. The character, played by John Carroll Lynch, has the pinkish soul and
guts of a bag worm. Where beforehand, Morgan obsessively and methodically burned
the bodies of zombies he terminated, Eastman maintains a cemetery of zombies,
learning the names of the zombies from their pocket IDs, and erecting crosses
over their graves. Eastman is later bitten by a zombie and shoots himself. Morgan
buries him in the cemetery and leaves.
Eastman turns
Morgan into a stick-wielding peacenik. In a later episode, a pack of “Wolves”
attacks the walled-off community in Alexandria where Morgan has reunited with
Rick Grimes. The savages slaughter the defenseless inhabitants – men, women,
and children – with axes, knives, and machetes, taking apparent delight in the
literal bloodshed. Morgan goes into action with his stick. He comes upon a
savage who has been dismembering one of his victims with an axe. He begins to
subdue him, when another character (one of my heroines, Carol) simply shoots
the beast. Morgan is angry. Carol moments later shoots another savage Morgan
has subdued and is tying up. Morgan is angry again. Carol is shown killing every
raider she encounters. Their lives are not precious to her. They deserve to be ended.
They killed. They die. Her justice is implacable, nonnegotiable.

News of the
Paris attacks, and what the killers did to their hostages in the Bataclan
theater – slitting open the throats and stomachs of the victims, dismembering
them, torturing them – instantly recalled the attack on the community by the
Wolves. See Pamela
Geller’s column
on the horrors.
The penultimate
part of the episode is when Morgan runs into a group of savages led by one of
the Wolves who attacked him in Season Five. The Wolf recognizes him, he
recognizes the Wolf. He talks the group into leaving, warning them that they
will be shot if they don’t leave. Morgan’s Aikido skills are such that he could
have taken down the whole group of five. But he convinces them and allows them
to leave.
They later
attack Rick Grimes (stranded outside the community) who kills them. Grimes of
course doesn’t know that Morgan let them go free, and Morgan doesn’t yet know
that they tried to kill Grimes. I wonder if that information will come out
later on.
Morgan is
still later attacked by the first Wolf who tried to kill him in Season Five. Morgan
subdues him, Aikido style, and takes him prisoner, tying him up and leaving him
in a basement. The Wolf promises Morgan he will kill him and every man, woman,
and child left alive in the community. Morgan should kill him. He doesn’t.
At the end of
that episode, after the attack is over and bodies are littering the streets –
the bodies of the Wolves and their victims – Carol and Morgan pass each other
on a street. Carol gives him a wordless cold shoulder. I love that scene.
But “all life
is precious.”
No, it isn’t. Morgan
has to learn that lesson the hard way. Carol, or Rick, or some other character,
will need to point out to him that while he considers the life of a killer
precious – one assumes for the sake of whatever potential “good” the killer may
find in himself or in the lives of others – killers do not hold the same
indiscriminate value in the lives of others. Killers who kill for the sake of
killing – for the sake of destroying the good for being the good – have forfeited
any title to life and even of being human.
Letting a
killer go because his life is inexplicably “precious” frees him to kill again,
and again. Is Morgan retarded? Has Eastman’s Eastern philosophy put sand into
his mental gas tank so it can no longer function? Isn’t it obvious that by
freeing the guilty, the guilty can destroy again?
So, as Brendan
O’Neill writes in a hard-hitting
Spiked
column about Paris, no sooner have all the bodies cooled and been
collected after the November 13th Paris attack by Islamic jihadists acting out
their Islamic, nihilistic, “no life is precious” philosophy, than the
apologists begin harping on how precious and understandable the killers’ lives
and motives are, proffering every rationalistic, evasive, anti-life,
anti-reason excuse under the sun to help justify the sadistic butchery of 120
people.
Less than 24 hours after the
barbarism in Paris, the bodies of more than 120 concertgoers, Friday-night revelers
and children barely cold, and the apologies has already begun. They
couldn’t even wait a whole day, these cultural appeasers, whose kneejerk
response to every act of terrorism is to ask what we the wicked West did to
deserve it, or to argue that we the wicked West will make things worse with our
response to it. The simple fact of our existence makes us ripe for murderous
assault, apparently; and the folly of responding to such assaults with either
police activity at home or military activity abroad makes us riper still for
attack. We’re damned if we stay still, damned if we take action. Our citizens
must die because our nations are nasty.
The apologists
and appeasers of whom O’Neill writes would sooner see the destruction of the
West by Islam than chance to say a single bad thing about Islam and its agents
of death. We’re asking for it – by virtue of our simple existence? We exist;
ergo, we die, and die as painfully as the Islamists wish, at their leisure? They
imperil our lives, but we mustn’t be judgmental?
The direction
TWD may be taking – unless Morgan’s pacifist outlook is corrected – is not
promising. The producers and directors of the series may be infected with the
virus of non-violence against the violent. There’s a new character yet to be
introduced to viewers; his name is “Jesus.”
Who are the
real, living zombies in our culture today? The moral relativists. The multiculturalists.
The apologists. The enablers. The abettors. The moral egalitarians in the MSM
and in politics who would rather flay Western civilization for its alleged “crimes”
against Islam and barbarians than defend it.
Pamela Geller,
in her November 15th Breitbart column, “The
West Has Lost the Will to Live
,” drove home this point:
Obama has aligned with the
jihad force. In Syria, Egypt and Libya, and worst of all, now Iraq. He has
blood on his hands. He has the blood of hundreds of thousands of
Christians, the blood of our soldiers. By abandoning Iraq, he takes on his
hands the death of every soldier who gave life and limb in Iraq to defend this
country….
If you have an ounce of
self-esteem, when someone comes at you with a gun, you answer with force. If he
is out to destroy you, you owe it to yourself to defend yourself. We need to
understand that the left is as dangerous, if not more so, than the suicide
bomber, for obscuring this basic fact—because leftists have the legitimacy of
the mainstream, the imprimatur of respectability, and they wield this spurious legitimacy
like a club to destroy all opposition to their totalitarianism….
We need to go to war against
the left. We have to get that into our heads. We have to accept that terrible
reality. They want to destroy our freedom. They want to destroy our country.
They want to steal our children. That’s war….
Pamela Geller
has not lost the will to live. Neither have I. Neither has Daniel Greenfield or
Robert Spencer or Brendan O’Neill, nor countless others in this country and
abroad. We are the West. Before we’re confronted with an AK-47 killer or suicide
bomber, we must confront those who claim that our lives aren’t precious enough
to defend.

Previous

Neither “Misguided” nor “Flawed”

Next

Islam’s Psychotic Obsession

2 Comments

  1. revereridesagain

    Those charged with the responsibility of defending their own and the lives of others, being willing to put their lives on the line in defense of positive values, must know that people on whom they depend for backup share the same commitment. Rick, as the group's titular leader, knows he can expect that from his real warriors including Carol, Daryl, Michonne, Glenn and some of the others. He has rightly observed that the wobblers will inevitably get themselves killed and put others at risk in the process. He now has a big problem in Morgan, who has already nearly got him killed and is harboring a murderous Wolf in a basement because "all life is precious".

    Morgan's Aikido/pacifism is meant to sooth his damaged psyche, as was Eastman's. If you would enact justice on the murderer of your family, you just shoot the bastard between the eyes. Putting himself through an ordeal of sadism alien to his nature left Eastman so mentally scarred that he tried to make himself over as a saint to live with what he had done.

    Morgan, by contrast, knowing that putting his emotions above reality brought about his son's death, seems to attempt a variation of "suicide by cop" by becoming so morally wasted that no longer cares if he lives and wants someone to put him out of his misery. Instead, he gets schooled in Eastman's path of self-purification. But Eastman was a hermit, and his pacifism was less likely to impact anyone but himself.

    Morgan will soon be confronted with the impact his refusal to adopt a rational moral code and kill the killers may have on their victims. He resents and rejects Carol's implacable justice even in the face of so evil a being as that Wolf in the cellar. The future of "TWD" may turn on whether Morgan does learn the lesson that not all "life" is precious.

    I also noted how the Bataclan massacre mirrored the Wolf attack, down to the hacked up bodies and the trails of blood across the floor of the theater. There are times when it indeed feels as if we are living in some alternate "TWD" world in which Muslims are the "walkers".

  2. Edward Cline

    Thank you, RevereRidesAgain: I shall be posting your comments on Facebook anonymously.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén