Violence never really deals with the basic evil of the situation. Violence may murder the murderer, but it doesn’t murder murder. Violence may murder the liar, but it doesn’t murder lie; it doesn’t establish truth. Violence may even murder the dishonest man, but it doesn’t murder dishonesty. Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it doesn’t murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere. This is the ultimate weakness of violence: It multiplies evil and violence in the universe. It doesn’t solve any problems. — Martin Luther King
Anyone who clings to the historically untrue—and—thoroughly immoral doctrine that violence never solves anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler would referee. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor; and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms. — Robert A. Heinlein
If violence never solved anything, police would not have guns or nightsticks. Obama helped solve the problem of Moammar Gaddafi with violence, and FDR helped solve the problem — far too late — of the Holocaust and Hitler with violence. Invariably, the slogan (or its close cousin “War is not the answer”) is invoked not as a blanket exhortation against violence, but as a narrow injunction against the United States, NATO or Republican presidents from trying to solve threats of violence with violence. (source)
Some kinds of violence are absolutely evil. Other kinds of violence are unjustifiable under any circumstances. Still other kinds of violence are debatable. And some kinds of violence are definitely beyond the pale.
HOWEVER, to say in a blanket way that violence never solves anything is to say something so unsupportable that it's absolutely dizzying that otherwise intelligent people assert it in all seriousness.
I don't disagree, not in the slightest.
The Heinlein quote you made was actually a character in one of his novels. That's hazardous; it could have been a character he disagrees with. The character (Dubois, from Starship Troopers, a book that should not be confused with the movie of the same name, no matter how much they might insist that the movie was based on the book, the resemblances are trivial) was arguing against someone you could also have quoted. However, in this case, it so happens Dubois was speaking for the point of view Heinlein wanted to put forward as the correct one.
I knew it was a character in a work of fiction speaking, but I figured that he wouldn't have presented such a well thought out and convincing argument had it not been one he agreed with.
MLK is absolutely right that violence won't end greed, avarice, hatred, etc.
I doubt if anything can. They seem to be part of the human condition.
When the bad guys come over the hill intending to murder and pillage and rape, you need a crew of even badder guys to go up to greet them. Well-reasoned arguments are unlikely to be effective.
So when can we expect our civilization to realize the utter folly of viewing war as a legitimate means of negotiation? As long as humans remain naive and gullible to the overtures of our greedy world leaders there will remain an appetite for death. The common man has no deadly quarrel with his neighbor.
Well, thanks for that, Ed. I guess we'll just have to wait for greed and evil to go away.
Do you have anything that might actually happen in even the distant future that might relieve things a bit?
More women, less men?
That's almost as crazy, Popie, but I think probably your tongue was firmly planted in your cheek.
Dismantling world leadership would be a good start. The problem of course being that the replacements may have the same proclivities.
I understand the problems of viewing life through rose colored glasses. Violence will continue to have it's unfortunate role in our civilization. I see it diminishing as a perceived solution to our problems about as soon as religion withers away and dies on the vine.
Lots of things would be better "if people would just (fill in the blank)."
If people would just stop wanting things that use up limited resources and/or put CO2 in the atmosphere...
If people would just stop believing in religion...
If people would just stop eating meat...
If people would just stop wanting to travel...
If people would just stop wanting to have pets...
If people would just stop trying to save money at the store...
And on and on and on...
China, Russia, Cuba, are led by godless people. Are they much better than the despots they replaced.
You seem to be talking about some sort of beneficent world government (all borders gone), but suppose it doesn't turn out to be so beneficent after all?
"If people would just stop trying to save money at the store..."
I thought that was a good thing. Little do I know or understand evidently.
People today, unless they are rich, price-shop fiercely, which forces companies to look for the cheapest sources, which frequently means going outside the US (or Europe) for the production of their products by people, mostly in Asia or the Pacific (Indonesia, the Philippines) where labor conditions are oppressive and wages are low. This also takes jobs away from local laborers.
I have owned several guitars in my day and a typical $450 dollar guitar made in Indonesia or China might cost 3 or 4 times that if manufactured in the US by Fender or Gibson. Since I have to watch my money, I end up buying the cheaper instrument.