Paul’s Perambulations

October 15, 2019

“Love your Enemies” comes to West Point Military Academy

Filed under: Education,Love,Peace — admin @ 4:13 pm

 

This weekend I attended the West Point Military Academy conference entitled Ethics of War and Peace. Once again I publicly identified as the sole pacifist in a group of about 75 (mostly cadets). I shared my views with cadets and others, and heard their views. After much reflection and discussion with others, I decided to wear my “LOVE YOUR ENEMIES” shirt tor part of the conference and for lunch and during our West Point campus tour. Yes, this was at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Suspect it may have been a first. I appreciate the respectful discussion that this enabled. It was important for me to practice wearing this shirt before West Point, because when wearing it I feel that I become a different person, both to myself and to others. That’s a long story. In so doing, I found that the shirt is frequently ignored, pointedly so. Absolutely the elephant in the living room. There’s more to be said than can be said here. In any case, I felt that my presence contributed to the event and am grateful for my academic credentials that earn an invitation to this conference. I was blessed that Fran came along, and she could enjoy the trip as a vacation (our rooms in the military hotel overlooked the Hudson River). When we left West Point Saturday afternoon, we drove home to change into formal wear (my annual foray into a free tux) for the Mendel Dinner at Villanova. Quite a change, while also an opportunity to explain to fellow Villanovans (including Father Peter, President of VU) about my attendance and activities at West Point (I was prepared to discuss Love Your Enemies from an Augustinian perspective if that was desired). Actually, the only folks who seemed prepared to really discuss this were some of the cadets with whom I chose to sit. I suspect the cadets in attendance were a special group – those with the interest and experience to attend a conference of professional philosophers. These conferences are different from the psych conferences I attended for decades. It’s a good learning experience for me, as well as an opportunity for me to make a unique contribution.

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