Violence vs Non-Violence
By Any Means Necessary – El Haj Malik El Shabbazz
If history has shown us anything, it is that we are a violent species. One can and does make an argument for societal factors such as poverty, land rights, and of course religion, but as we have seen by observing the lesser primates such as chimpanzee, violence seems to be an inevitable make up of our DNA. So violence is a forgone conclusion, it will happen. However there has been a seemingly never-ending and ongoing debate whether to use violence or non-violence when it comes to fighting the fight. Ghandi and Dr. King both died in support of a non-violent movement and both were able to achieve change as a result of their non-action. Generally speaking, I would like to think of myself as a person of non-violence. It takes work to be this way because after all, conflict is much easier than conflict resolution. However, I’ve been thinking a lot about the cause we are all here fighting for. The cause of basic human rights to believe or not believe whatever it is you choose to. So much of what I have seen and heard in the news and on the internet has made me furious. Whether it is against atheists or homosexuals, it seems the right will stop at nothing to push an agenda that goes against the grains of basic human morals and decency. I would venture to say the LGBT community has made more strides and has had more victories than atheists, but then again, in many ways our fight has just really taken off. Yet as I see the field of Republican candidates gearing up for the 2012 elections, it seems not one is a moderate and all have made it clear that the conservative agenda is what this country needs to return to. Michelle Bachman has openly stated she feels intelligent design should be taught beside evolution theory in science class. The idea of a Republican President, a Republican Senate, and a Republican leaning Supreme Court honestly frightens me. What would this country look like?
So I ask you this my friends; If there came a time where we were challenged as atheists, and laws proposed and passed that would tear down the wall between church and state, would you fight “by any means necessary” or would you turn the other cheek as it were and try to stand up by sitting down? What lengths would you go to in order to fight for what you believe in? Is violence every necessary? What would you do?
To be honest I don't think that violence would get us anywhere. Who or what would we attack, and for what purpose? Actually this would work against us, especially since I would imagine that this tearing down of the wall of church and state would happen in a non-violent way to begin with, we could not react to it in a violent way. What we would need is to raise awareness. Atheists have an advantage in that we are not one single group. All kinds of people with different careers and ethnic backgrounds would have to join together and take a stand. We would need to make the effort to be visible to the public.
As far as creationism in school, this is a fight that should eventually be won because they are talking about science class, and the hard facts of science (or any subject where religion is involved) are on our side. Visibility and consciousness raising would be hands down the best way to approach such a situation. Our real trouble would be how to shake people on our side out of complacency.
I don't think violence is how we'll achieve what we want. It is non-religious thought in the first place that led to science being so widespread. I don't think we'll have anything to worry about if we just live the way we want to be viewed.
I do think there should be more atheist groups out there to show the public that godless morality not only exists, but can be superior to its counterpart.
Quite interesting question. If it had happened in my home country, I'd probably flee if possible. If not possible, I'd become a dissident. If threatened with arrest, I would join an armed uprising.
It actually strikes quite close to home as my predecessor at work went home to Libya to join the rebellion in February. I doubt I would have the balls to do that.
I guess that is more my question.
I know we all don't like violence and would not choose it as a way of dissent, however there are times that there is no other option. Libya is a perfect example as is Syria.
As a question it isn't as impossible as immediately apparent. We might not go seeking violence, but what would you do if it were thrust upon you?
There are plenty of economists fearing we're headed towards a depression on the scale of the thirties. What would a real unemployment rate of 25% (and up to 2x that for under males under 30) and massive pay cuts do to the people of the US?
Then what do you propose instead?
Remember that your choice would also apply to yourself.
In a scenario such as you listed; I would not stand down. I would do whatever was in my capabilities to stop such a thing. I'd do rallies and picketing and send out as much real, true information as possible. I would resist arrest for speaking my mind if it came to that. I'm hoping I would recognize the issue and do this before it came to violence of any sort.
My husband and I plan on having a child in the future. I have a vested interest in making sure his/her life is at least as free as my own. I have family with kids, friends with kids, see children everywhere. I would stand up for them if not for me. And if I could not win, I would move somewhere far, far away and continue my protesting.
That being said, history doesn't seem to do well with guerrilla tactics (violence) and winning. If you're such a small minority that you can't get the general public to side with you, you're not going to win. Winning over people rather than trying to trample down the worst seems to be the best tactic. It takes a long time, but it's worth it to actually have victory in the end. I'd take an eventual victory over a bloody defeat now.
Allowing violence is the best way to get yourself branded as evil (and that gives them a reason to ignore you).