Having argued with a few people about the war in Ukraine, my take-away is this. People are very willing to sacrifice the lives of others for their ideas. People who support the idea of a victorious western outcome in Ukraine, without negotiation or concessions to Russia, do so, with a full willingness to sacrifice human life for an idea of freedom tied to independent statehood–which is but one definition of freedom.
It is amazing that people are willing to sacrifice their child, or their spouse, in war to save a nation. In the end, does it really matter whether the worker serves the Ukrainian or Russian elite? Will their lives be different enough to justify the sacrifice of a loved one? Would there ever be enough of a quality of life change to sacrifice a loved one? If the answer is no, then who is the worker fighting for? It’s very confusing.
The problem is even worse from far away. Many Americans are stating that Ukrainians should fight until the Russians are expelled from all former Ukrainian territory, including Crimea. So, in order to satisfy an American idea of freedom, Americans willingly promote the sacrifice of Ukrainian lives. How noble.
The willingness to sacrifice life for an idea is the root of the problem. It is the soil from which violence grows. Ukrainian political leadership, and its outside supporters, are willing to sacrifice the lives of workers and others for the idea of freedom linked to independent statehood, the Russian nation, which feels threatened by thirty years of NATO expansion to its borders, combines this with the idea of itself as a great power–divinely granted–to justify the unleashing of its killing machine: lives for ideas.
The most interesting thing about all of this is that Russian identity is deeply tied to its Orthodox Christian heritage; the largest co-employer of the Ukrainian proxy forces, the U.S., has apparently developed into a nation of largely fundamentalist Protestant thinkers which manages to accommodate the U.S. Catholic Church; neither, however, actually gets the idea of Christ, which is a unique idea that one does not stoop to the lowest common denominator to get one’s way. One must rise above the petty, to eliminate the petty. Christ, as metaphor, or as a transcendental metaphysical or spiritual force, stands for the idea that one should willingly sacrifice one’s life in the face of evil, without violence, rather than perpetuate evil, through the use of violence. It is one of the most scripturally plain things to see, yet one of the most covered-up truths in history.