Wednesday, April 18, 2007

On violence

Two points to ponder, and on which I'm sure most of us will agree:
  1. Violence is bad.
  2. But wishing it away won't make it go away.
I've noticed that many people commenting on the current tragedy, and on other issues including both smacking and the threat of Islamic totalitarianism, have great difficulty distinguishing on the one hand between force used to commit violence, and force on the other hand that is used either to avert disaster or in self-defence against violence. It should be obvious that if one is barred either legally or culturally (or by Philip Alpers) from using force either in self-defence or to avert disaster, then force in the more violent form is going to predominate.

Note too that defending yourself and your loved ones does not mean that you have to 'carry heat. 'Ayn Rand noted that
...men have the right to retaliate by force against an initiation of force. But if men wish to live together in a free society, they must delegate that right to government. Personal retaliation is improper, because in a free society the government functions under objectively defined laws- laws that state what constitutes a crime....If everyone wanted to excercise his 'right' to retaliate by himself, project the chaos of arbitrary whims and total irrationality that would rule the country...(incidentally, if somebody pulls a gun on you, you have the right to fight back. But this isn't the right to initiate force; it's the right of self-defense.)

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