I immediately thought of Clayton and his heretofore foreign worldview, weighing it against how I now felt instinctually glad that my brother would be able to react if a crazy person tried to hurt our mother. And how, at the same time, it felt like madness that I would be glad someone was carrying a gun to church. But that’s the thing about my values—they tend to bump up against reality, and when that happens, I may need to throw them out the window. That, or I ignore reality. For me, more often than not, it’s the values that go.
Source: Confronted by my own bullsh*t: I wanted to be the voice of nonviolence for my church after George Zimmerman’s acquittal, but all I could do was cry for all my inconsistencies – Salon.com
Go read it. It is an interesting beginning in soul-searching and she still has long to go.
She won’t probably read this post, but in the off-chance: One of your watershed moments will be when you can eliminate the concept of violence as purely evil. Think of violence on its basic definition: behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. What can be evil is its application as in hurting somebody to obtain a gain against their wishes. A criminal using violence regardless of the tool, to rob money, or satisfy a bruised ego or obtain sexual satisfaction from a woman; yes, those are evil uses of violence.
Your internal conflict comes from realizing that there are truly good applications of violence such as the defense of oneself and our loved ones or the innocent and that it is morally reprehensible that others should suffer or die because we are programmed with the silly (and dangerous) notion that all violence is bad. The other part of the conflict is the misuse of the legal definition of violence (the unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force) to define a philosophy or a way of life. Non-Violence is defined as the personal practice of being harmless to self and others under every condition. It is the last part which many of us find reprehensible and immoral for the reasons explained in the beginning of this paragraph: To do nothing when your life is about to be extinguished by others is against nature. To do nothing when the life of your loved ones or the innocent is threatened by evil individuals is to be complicit in their deaths: you may have not pulled the trigger or drove the knife into the chest, but you morally share the guilt if you were in a position to do something and chose not to. Your guilt goes exponential when you work to impede others to from defending themselves or others under that faulty and immoral code of Non-Violence.
I am willing to bet that your token conservative is one of the nicest, sweetest, less “violent” persons you know. It comes from being prepared and understanding how violent evil hurts others. We do not seek or desire such a thing for anybody and strive for deconflict by other means, but when all other options are spent, we will inflict violence rather than allow evil to triumph.
“One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that ‘violence begets violence.’ I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure—and in some cases I have—that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.”
Col. Jeff Cooper.
14 thoughts on “When Reality hits you in the face.”
Going beyond the self-exulting gun grabbers who wrongly assume moral superiority, you summed up nicely why intractable pacifists are both cowardly and immoral. Even if they do not approve of it, they rely on someone else to do their dirty work of protection.
Also, the natural consequence of being unwilling to fight for what is right is the triumph of evil and the enslaving of the innocent. A world of these wimps results in the Nazis, the communists or the muslims ruling the world without pity.
I would take it a step further. Not only is there such thing as violence that is not evil, but that particular violence is the cornerstone of civilization itself.
What makes civilization? Is it enough people in one spot? Buildings? Farming? I would say that all of those conditions could still exist in a state that none of us would recognize as civilized.
The true element that MAKES civilization is the willingness of the strong (or at least enough of the strong) to protect the weak from those that would prey on them. Without the willingness to do violence to those that would prey on the weak there is no civilization. The idea of never doing violence under any circumstance is not civilized as some of these people have made it out to be. It is, in fact, a degradation that moves back towards barbarism.
Bryan, you made me think of the “State of Nature” which is horrifying since it operates on selfish “might makes right” principles.
In contrast, recall the nuclear trip wire in Europe and the Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine that kept the peace between the USSR and the United States and kept (quasi-socialist) Europe free for decades, thanks to maligned nuclear weapons.
Being able to stand up to a bully or to put them down if necessary is both non-aggressive and keeps the peace. A good step towards civilization.
That did not stop the unwashed hippies and socialists from complaining and demonstrating. I hear that they make really good track grease for T-72s, so maybe we should have let them come on in…
Notice that the word “willing” is used in my example. One can be willing without doing actual violence. One can be willing without rudeness, aggressiveness, or any form of “might makes right”.
The willingness to do violence to those that would prey on the weak (aside: preying on the weak is the true “might makes right” scenario, not willingness to protect them) is as simple as the smiling officer that gets coffee at the gas station in the morning…but has a glock and will use it to keep people safe. Or the church pastor that keeps a small pocket pistol. Or the man that carries a j-frame in his pocket every day and never uses it his whole life…but did so just in case he needed to protect another.
Willingness to protect the weak from those that would prey on them is the exact opposite of might makes right. It’s those with might choosing to do right with it rather than use it for personal gain over those without. THAT is civilization, and THAT is what makes a safe community. Without that it only degrades as those willing to prey on others are unopposed. Then no level of shelter, culture, or agriculture will make that area civilized, because those with evil intent can do what they will.
Bryan, I am in 100% agreement with you.
Your statement is what keeps us from reverting to a state of nature where the violence is the norm. The might makes right is the opposite of civilization. The judicious use of force as in “may” is what is needed to be a polite society and to protect the innocent.
Sorry if I poorly stated my support for your wise words. The example of nuclear detente was to show how controlled force is what permits peace, not just nuking the soviets into oblivion.
No apologies needed. It could be just as well said that I should have been the one to read what you said a little closer.
Well said Miguel!
I have an avid interest in historical European martial arts (aka HEMA), firearms, and a general fascination with military history. I bore all of my friends to death by babbling incessantly about the subjects.
I am also a staunch adherent of and advocate for the Non-Agression Principle. Likewise, I will blather on about it and it’s applications to politics or social issues whenever they come up in conversation.
Some of friends have asked about the perceived dissonance between my active study of violence and professed beleif in non-violence. This is where I try to explain that I am _not_ a non-violent person, I am a non-aggressive one. The quote from Col. Cooper is a useful illustration, as is the Cathechism of the Catholic Church’s wise words on the difference between killing in defense of self or others (killing as a means to a just end) and (killing as an unjust end unto itself).
But, I’ve probably gotten the most “lightbulb moments” by using the well-worn in gun circles analogy about sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves.
There is only one way to deal with pacifists.
Listen politely to their arguments, agree with their assertion that violence only begets violence, etc… etc… .then suddenly, and without any warning, punch them in the nose.
Now, be careful, they might respond by trying to punch you back. Be prepared. Recite their very same arguments right back at them. Violence begets violence, etc… and when they calm down, haul off and punch them in the nose again. Knock them down if you can.
Obviously, they will be angered by this, and might want to respond by striking you. Again, remind them of all their arguments for being a pacifist. Hit them again.
Repeat until they decide to join reality.
I think we can do better than going for assault & battery on those who have a different opinion, wouldn’t you say?
It’s meant more as a figurative approach.
Apologies if anyone takes this seriously.
Thanks very much for calling attention to this article since I don’t read Salon, as well as your thoughtful commentary on it. I particularly appreciated your observation: “One of your watershed moments will be when you can eliminate the concept of violence as purely evil.” I have experienced this myself. It is truly revolutionary.
Kevin over at Smallest Minority put’s it that there are two kinds of action by people: violent and predatory(what the bad guys do), and violent and PROTECTIVE. And that far too many on the left don’t/won’t understand the difference.
The big turning point for me was the epiphany from “I can’t be violent, that would drop me to their level” to “Nobody has the right to harm me!” Armed self-defense flows logically from that origin.
Personally, I think of myself as a Boojum: I may look exactly like a Snark, but I’m just one hell of a lot less safe to hunt.
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