Discover more from Culturcidal by John Hawkins
We Need More of the Right Kind of Violence
Sometimes, a Lack of Violence Can Be a Big Problem
A flood can kill you just as easily as being without water in a desert. You can be a glutton, or you can starve to death without eating enough. You can’t meaningfully run a government without taxes, but if taxes get high enough they can slowly strangle your economy to death. In our modern world, people tend to take things to one extreme or the other, but the correct path between the two is almost always somewhat nuanced.
So, it is with violence.
Violence is a tool and as Robert Heinlein famously noted, it is a very useful one:
Some people are so unused to this line of thinking and unschooled in world history that they struggle with that quote, but it’s pretty apparent what he means.
Every single worthwhile scrap of land on this planet was violently taken from one group by another group, usually many times. Almost all nation’s borders are a result of bloody warfare at one time or another.
We eat animals and many animals will eat us, given the chance. There are an awful lot of species that no longer exist either in a particular place or anywhere because they were wiped out by local predators or us.
If you are an American, the reason you are not a subject of Britain or speaking Russian, Japanese, or German right now is because your ancestors were better at killing them than their ancestors were at killing us. To the extent that you are “safe” right now, it is because as George Orwell so brilliantly put it:
Of course, it actually goes much further than this.
For example, although most of us do not think it all the way through, every law, no matter how innocuous it may seem, is ultimately backed with violence. Take jaywalking. If you jaywalk and an officer sees it and then approaches you to give you a ticket, what’s going to happen if you refuse to accept his authority? He’s going to MAKE YOU. If you tell him to leave you alone, he won’t comply. If you leave, he will follow. If you are difficult enough, he will arrest you and if you don’t willingly allow him to do it, he will call for as much back-up as it takes to subdue you. If you struggle, they will overpower you. If you pull a gun, they will also pull a gun and if need be, kill you.
It has to be this way because a law that cannot be enforced is a wish, not a law.
That’s also why this is one of my all-time favorite Ann Coulter quotes:
What is “international law?” In theory, it’s an agreed-upon framework all nations work within, but in reality, it’s whatever the people with the strongest militaries are willing and able to enforce.
Whether China swallows Taiwan, Russia conquers Ukraine or Hezbollah blows up a building in America has nothing to do with the law and everything to do with whether they can pull it off or not and how much they fear a violent reprisal.
This works on a personal level, too. Will Smith rather famously slapped Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife:
Do you think he would have done the same thing if the Rock had made the joke? No, of course not because the Rock is big, jacked, and would have kicked his ass.
Do you think if a burglar had a choice, he’d break into the house of someone armed or someone who’s not armed? We all know the answer.
Why does the Bible say:
An appropriately violent correction both encourages the child to do the right thing AND teaches him not to do the wrong thing again.
It’s necessary to re-explain this because EVERYONE reading this can easily reel off examples of times when violence is bad or inappropriate, but you could actually make a good argument that we and other civilized nations are paying a big price for being too reluctant to use violence when it’s appropriate.
There are a number of examples we could give of this, but again, it’s important to emphasize that while using violence can be absolutely justified (you’re in your home and a stranger breaks in to kill you and your family) or absolutely unjustified (you want to rob a stranger, so you beat him up and steal his wallet), it is often much more of a trade-off.
For example, dueling was “a thing” in America from well before we were a country up until the mid-1800s. A duel was usually a result of some sort of offense to honor and there were supposed to be formalized rules.
Many prominent Americans like Andrew Jackson, Stephen Decatur, Henry Clay, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton fought in duels. Even Abe Lincoln and one of his future generals came very close to fighting it out with swords.
Eventually, as the legal system became more formalized and people were sickened by the bloodshed of the Civil War, dueling died out. Imagine what would happen if this practice were brought back today and thousands of people were dying via dueling every year.
Certainly, a lot of people would die, and depending on how it was done, we might even have the equivalent of assassinations happening with famous duelists being paid to take offense and challenge people who’d feel honor-bound to respond.
On the other hand, could we end up seeing less loss of life as street gangs like the Crips and Bloods solved their disputes in duels instead of street shootouts? That seems possible at least. What we can be absolutely certain of is that soon after dueling was implemented, we’d be a much, much more POLITE society. It’s easy to insult people with no consequences, but if you had to fight a duel over it? Well, it’s like that old Robert Howard quote goes:
Now, don’t get the wrong idea – this is not a pitch to get duels going in America again, although I am far from sure it would be a bad idea if it were possible. It’s just a way to emphasize that violence can serve an important purpose and it is entirely possible that a LACK OF VIOLENCE can lead to far worse outcomes at times.
There are several examples that come to mind here.
For one, how about our borders?
What would happen if we put landmines in certain places? Set up automated drones that fired on people crossing illegally? What if walking into certain areas could get you killed by a sniper? Generally, this is considered barbaric and beyond the pale because it would lead to people getting killed. That is 100% true, but what do you think would happen if 50 people crossing the border were shot or blown up on their way across, which is certainly something we have every moral right to do to defend our border?
Well, it seems highly likely we’d see a MASSIVE decrease in the number of people trying to cross the border illegally. If the flow of illegal aliens slowed to a trickle, we can’t say for sure how many Americans would live instead of being murdered by illegals because there are no definitive statistics on that, but the number could be in the thousands each year.
Additionally, 890 illegals died trying to cross into the United States in 2020. In other words, would using violence to defend our border lead to a lot of lives being saved? It seems highly likely that it would.
Similarly, over 25 people were killed, over 2,000 officers were injured and 2 billion dollars’ worth of property damage was done during the George Floyd riots. Since then, crime and murders skyrocketed, particularly in liberal cities that coddled the looters and rioters.
What if instead of handcuffing the police and letting the bad guys run wild, the police and the National Guard started with a different guiding principle? That being, rioting and looting are completely unacceptable, and they should use as little force as possible, but as much force as necessary to shut it down.
In other words, do everything possible to control the situation without escalating to deadly violence, but if it comes down to a choice between letting a mob loot and burn a city block or shooting them, then shoot them.
In those situations, we come down resolutely on the side of letting the violent mob run wild in this country, but it’s the wrong call. Ultimately, far more people died, were injured, had their livelihoods destroyed and lived (and are still) living in fear because the government didn’t maintain its monopoly on force. If mobs know that rioting and looting may be a death sentence, suddenly it won’t be a fun way to pick up some new clothes and a TV anymore.
We also need to talk about our military. Theoretically, we have the best military that has ever existed. Yet, if that’s the case, why is our military record in major conflicts since WW2 essentially 2-2-1?
Iraq war: Win
Gulf War: Win
Korean War: Tie
Granted, it was a different time back then, but nations in the past with the sort of military dominance we have were able to conquer nearly the entire known world, but I guess Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan also didn’t have lawyers okaying whether or not it was okay to kill their enemies.
Their first concern was winning and taking care of their men, not the safety and welfare of enemy civilians. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t care whether we kill civilians or not, but it does mean that making sure our troops make it home and actually achieving our objectives should come before the lives of civilians in a nation we’re at war with.
There was a time when our troops just summarily shot combatants who didn’t wear uniforms. We nuked Japan during WW2 and firebombed German cities. Incidentally, we won those wars and there was no question about it. That’s not a coincidence, it was just that we had priorities in the right order back then. We understood that winning “hearts and minds” didn’t matter very much unless we won the war.
Just to reemphasize, this is not a call for wild, out-of-control violence. On the contrary, it’s a reminder that violence has its place and that a society can just as easily suffer from a lack of violence at the right times as it can from allowing too much of the wrong kind of violence.