Disregard for the value of human life is an evil. It is the most inhumane kind of evil. When one is told that it is the proper thing to do to commit inhuman acts of evil and, if not convinced, forced to commit inhumane acts of evil by those with the authority to punish those who do not capitulate, then a sensible and humane human being will have to question that authority and the legitimacy of the society that places authority in the hands of such people.
Being on the wrong side of an illegitimate patriotism, an inhumane patriotism, should be understood to be, in a legitimate democracy, an act of true patriotism for a true democracy, a sensible democracy, exists first and foremost for the welfare of the people. For “welfare of the people” to mean anything at all, there must exist a high level of respect for the value of life, for every individual’s life and such valuing would never allow for a single life to be wasted.
Vietnam taught me that the society in which I lived was hardly a legitimate democracy and the years since have forced me to understand that we take so many steps backward that it is near impossible to move forward toward the original dream of a more perfect union.