Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Violence as I see it

I hate violence. I don't approve of its use in any situation, even in "self-defense". I think the people who hold the philosophy that it's better to only use violence as a last resort, and only in defense, are better off than those people who think it's all right to initiate violence. They would argue they're better off than those who never use violence at all, but non-violence isn't without a case study.

That said, if I were going to do violence, I would cast aside all silly notions of honor, fairness, and mercy. I would use every underhanded technique I knew, kick a man when he's down, and upon receiving a plea for the opponent's life I would slaughter him.

Violence, and its great child War, are hideous things. I don't try to pretty them up, I don't try to honor any practitioners. I see bumper stickers reading something like "Against the war; for our troops" and spit in disgust. Who do you think carries out the acts of the war? It's the soldiers, who in my mind are very cowardly and despicable.

"That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed."
--Albert Einstein

"There are many causes I am willing to die for, but none I am willing to kill for."
--Mohandas Gandhi

While these quotes might not be exact (differing translations?), I agree with their spirit. That one would admire a soldier who goes out and kills people because some leader in a white house tells him the people he is killing are his enemy amazes me. "Oh, but a group of Jews killed my uncle, which is why I fight!" Your enemy is not the Jews, it is the group who killed your uncle that also happened to be Jewish. To get more technical your enemy is the highest possible leader of that group, be he the President of Israel or a commander who said "let's kill this guy's uncle!". If the group did not act on their own, but by command, they've been victimized by the same system you as a soldier are in.

When the soldiers in our armies don't even properly identify their enemies, how can you say murdering is okay? (I'd forgive you for the delusion that murdering once your enemies are clearly defined and backed by reasons is okay.)

Anyway, I've strayed away from the root issue, which is violence. In any fight, your goal is to win. Following rules of engagement and believing in things like honor in battle keep you from your victory. This does not mean I think the US torturing for information is okay, but if it worked I wouldn't denounce it on the grounds that it's not "proper warfare." (It doesn't even work though, which is a bigger denouncement than the one about proper warfare.)

There is one more quote, however, that I will share:

"When you surround the enemy
Always allow them an escape route.
They must see that there is
An alternative to death."
-- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

This is sound advice, both in violent disputes and non-violent ones. Hit your opponent in the groin, throw sand in his eyes, if he begs for mercy slaughter him. But if he tries to retreat, let him go; you have won.

Addendum: I think it's worth explicitly noting that I am not putting all the blame for war in the soldiers themselves. The largest portion of blame lies with the leaders. It is one thing to fight your enemies yourself or with others who join your cause voluntarily, it is another thing to manipulate and exploit the people around you into fighting for you. The soldiers are victims in war, too, but they do share a lot of the blame regardless. I don't respect any of them, but I do sometimes pity them and the system they're in. If only people in general were more aware of the Dark Arts...

Posted on 2009-07-22 by Jach

Tags: philosophy


Trackback URL:

Back to the top

Back to the first comment

Comment using the form below

(Only if you want to be notified of further responses, never displayed.)

Your Comment:

LaTeX allowed in comments, use $$\$\$...\$\$$$ to wrap inline and $$[math]...[/math]$$ to wrap blocks.