This week, we were supposed to do a collaboration post. And, we ended up doing it… but a little differently. This time around, we couldn’t really agree on how to write it. We had our topic down and everything, but we just couldn’t agree on one thing. Our opinions crashed. We both felt that our own opinion on the subject was the right one. So basically, we decided to do a post on the same subject, but separately. So basically, we decided to battle it out and get our opinions out on the net, for you, our readers, to decide who’s really right. Please leave your vote in the comment box below as “KangTheDestroyer” or “LittleTunaCan” depending on which opinion you agree with.
“We are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who’s in the right?”
Everyone must have, at least once, thought they were right. Maybe even got into a petty argument with a friend because you felt you were right, and the friend felt that he/she was right. In All Quiet On The Western Front, the main character and his friends enthusiastically enlisted in the war, thinking that what they’re doing is the right and good thing. However, they realize the true horror of the war and they begin to think that the war is wrong. But who is right and who is wrong? As the war drags on, Paul and his friends begin to realize that the other side, the “enemy”, isn’t so different from them and the people back home.
“It is strange to see these enemies of ours so close up. They have faces that make one think – honest peasant faces, broad foreheads, broad noses, broad mouths, broad hands, and thick hair. They ought to be put to threshing, reaping, and apple picking. They look just as kindly as our own peasants in Friesland.”
In a very different story, a similar situation occurs. In Julius Caesar, Brutus feels that the right thing to do is kill Caesar. They weren’t complete strangers, but close friends. In the moment that he made the decision that Caesar must die, he felt he was right. Caesar is killed and Antony takes revenge for him. Brutus, in the end, dies. He was the “noblest man of all” because the decision he made was for the sake of the people. However, was that the only choice he had? He could have just talked to Caesar and peacefully taken care of the situation. But because he felt that he was “right” in that moment, he proceeded with the murder plan and eventually met his doom.
If anyone were to ask what the right thing was, everyone would have their different opinion on what’s right and what’s wrong. However, it could just be what they think is right in the moment or situation they are in. Paul thought that war was all fun-and-games and that what the Germans were doing was right, but later realizes the terrifying reality of war and the little-to-no difference between the French and themselves. But the real question is, is there really a “right”? If everyone has a different opinion of what “right” is, then what is truly “right”? World War I was a terrible and devastating war. Some people could say that the war was pointless and a stupid way to resolve the problem. But others can say that even though it wasn’t a good thing, it was the “right” thing to do, because it was needed. Then, others will refute that it wasn’t needed and could have been avoided altogether if one country did this or that. This will continue on back-and-forth, because there really is no “right” way to do something. A person may think something is right one moment and something else is right in the next and in the next, and so on. With so many different opinions and options, there can be no “right way”; it just doesn’t exist.
Arguments, fights, battles, and wars; why do these things happen? It all starts off with two sides disagreeing with each other; each side with a goal, thinking that his actions are justified and correct. This feeling of “being right” led to events such as a World War. As I read All Quiet on the Western Front, written by Erich Remarque, I began questioning the idea of “being right”. Everyone’s had this feeling before because everyone has sure had an opinion on something and has acted on that opinion. But, what if your opinion, like the Kaiser of Germany, could start a war? Opinions and actions of one can affect another. And that is scary to me because I am not ready yet to let my sense of “right” hurt someone else, if I am ever “wrong”.
Was the idea behind World War 1 “right”? The Kaiser sure thought so, considering it lasted four years. But his soldiers had different opinions:
“True, but just you consider, almost all of us are simple fold. And in France, too, the majority of men are labourers, workmen, or poor clerks. Now just why would a French blacksmith or a French shoemaker want to attack us? No, it is merely the rulers. I had never seen a Frenchman before I came here, and it will be just the same with the majority of the Frenchmen as regards us. They weren’t asked about it any more than we were.”
Erich Remarque knew how to make an audience doubt the reason behind WW1 in this book. I, as a reader, looked at the Kaiser with distaste and the war with pity as I read. However, this book was written in Paul’s point of view, being biased because of it. To get the audience to flip their minds into seeing it from the Rulers’ sides, I would like to bring everyone back to Julius Caesar, written by Shakespeare.
In Julius Caesar, there is Brutus. Brutus was the leader of the Conspiracy, the one who wishes to rule after Caesar, the one who believes that he “right” to take Caesar down. Brutus was tricked into believing he was “right” because the conspirators sent him fake letters from the people, asking him to overthrow Caesar. Shakespeare points out many times that Brutus is not a bad man, he merely wishes to do what is “right”. Even Caesar was surprised when he found out that Brutus was part of the conspiracy, producing the famous line, “Et tu, brute?” Caesar himself had trusted Brutus, and his judgment. So, if he had taken over after Caesar, would that have been that bad?
The only reason the conspiracy became an all-out civil war was because Marc Antony disagreed with Brutus. Antony believed that Brutus was “wrong” to overthrow Caesar. He was the one that worked up the people of Rome so that they could start a civil war. If it was not for Marc Antony, Brutus—the man trusted by the great Caesar himself—could have ruled over Rome in peace. Brutus’s ways, thoughts, and actions could have been considered “right” by the people.
Therefore, I want to take my stance in this and say, everyone is right. In one’s mind-frame, he will always be “right”. And who is to argue and say that one person is “wrong” and that he is “right”? This whole argument is very confusing, but I hope it’s understandable. Being “right” is something that happens in one’s head. Being wholly “right” in everybody’s eyes is impossible; everyone will have a different view on things. If one really believes in an idea, why not try to stand up for it?