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Violence

Posted: 2019-12-10, 8:53
by vijayjohn
IIRC I thought of starting a thread like this years ago but then decided against it; I told myself the answer to the question I had was too obvious. Lately, I feel less sure of this.

This was partly inspired by a certain thread regarding antifa and what not, but also just by past discussions regarding different kinds of violence. For example, I once saw someone claiming that rape and murder were unacceptable, yet both rape and murder were among the things that some of the Allied forces did during World War II, and I'm not entirely sure they would say they were unacceptable crimes in that case. This makes me wonder, why should it be the case, for example, that one person killing another is not acceptable, yet an entire war can be? How do people define justified and unjustified violence? What are the boundaries? How do people differ with regards to what kinds of violence they see as acceptable or otherwise?

What do you think? In your opinion, is violence acceptable under any circumstances? What kinds of violence, and under what circumstance(s)?

Re: Violence

Posted: 2019-12-10, 10:27
by md0
Those things are more easily discussed than practised. I'm no longer a pacifist, not because I believe that violence is acceptable, but because I realise it's sometimes unavoidable. But it's always something you have to think long and hard about, and take responsibility for in its aftermath, when the threat goes away. You should always feel a reasonable degree of guilt for not having found another way. I feel the same about the use of imprisonment in the criminal justice system. As a society, we should feel like we haven't yet being able to find another way to provide restoration and rehabilitation.

There was none, nor will ever be any strategic necessity for rape. Those are crimes of opportunity, because you expect to get away for it due to the chaotic circumstances.

Re: Violence

Posted: 2019-12-12, 6:11
by vijayjohn
md0 wrote:But it's always something you have to think long and hard about, and take responsibility for in its aftermath, when the threat goes away.

What if the threat never goes away?

Re: Violence

Posted: 2019-12-12, 7:32
by md0
vijayjohn wrote:
md0 wrote:But it's always something you have to think long and hard about, and take responsibility for in its aftermath, when the threat goes away.

What if the threat never goes away?

Are you talking about so-called intractable conflicts like Syria and Israel-Palestine?
Fights still have end points and periods of ceasefire.

Re: Violence

Posted: 2019-12-12, 8:32
by vijayjohn
md0 wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:
md0 wrote:But it's always something you have to think long and hard about, and take responsibility for in its aftermath, when the threat goes away.

What if the threat never goes away?

Are you talking about so-called intractable conflicts like Syria and Israel-Palestine?
Fights still have end points and periods of ceasefire.

I'm not talking about anything in particular, although I actually had something more like gang violence in mind, or I suppose lower-level conflicts in general; caste war in India might actually be a better example. Fights may have endpoints, but that doesn't necessarily mean we live to see them. Do people necessarily have the luxury to think so much about moral dilemmas they directly face?

For example, suppose you lived in a bad neighborhood and were directly threatened by gang violence. Let's also suppose that you decide at some point to resort to violence - to protect yourself, your family, or whoever - and you don't have enough money to move out, and at some point, people from the gang kill you. When are you supposed to think about whether it was right to resort to violence?

Or in the case of caste war: Not so very long ago, in the state of Bihar in North India, many low-caste women couldn't (and probably many still can't) step out of their own houses without a high-caste man raping them. This was such a regular occurrence that some of these women began arming themselves and training other low-caste women on using guns to defend themselves. This ended the rapes until the high-caste men bribed the police to basically go on pogroms against the villages where low-caste people lived. Obviously, many of these women died. Were they really supposed to think about whether they should have resorted to violence or not?

Re: Violence

Posted: 2019-12-13, 14:55
by md0
I don't see the clash here, because I did say that often the answer ends up being "yes, we were right to resort to violence in those circumstances". For me the important bit is to have the conscience to even ask yourself that question. What I'm opposed to is the fetischisation and aesthetics of violence.

If I'm missing something you might have to spell it out for me in more detail, because to be honest, I'm still thinking of this in the term of the antifa thread.

Re: Violence

Posted: 2019-12-14, 4:01
by vijayjohn
Okay, maybe I'm just confused and we don't disagree on anything anyway, but if it's of any help: This thread isn't about anything specific. It's about violence in general. When is it justified, and when is it not?

You talked about what people should do "when the threat goes away." I'm saying the threat of violence often outlives us. We can't do anything when the threat goes away if we die before the threat goes away.

Re: Violence

Posted: 2019-12-14, 7:52
by md0
Ok I think it's a matter of scope. I'm thinking of individual humans we may have to injure or kill in a specific situation.