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Why Violence Works

Benjamin Ginsburg
Chronicle of Higher Education
Mon, 12 Aug 2013 15:00 CDT

Humans, and perhaps their prehuman ancestors, have engaged in murder and mayhem, as individuals and in groups, for hundreds of thousands of years. And, at least since the advent of recorded history, violence and politics have been intimately related. Nation-states use violence against internal and external foes. Dissidents engage in violence against states. Competing political forces inflict violence on one another. Writing in 1924, Winston Churchill declared - with good reason - that "the story of the human race is war."

Some writers see violence as an instrument of politics. Thomas Hobbes regarded violence as a rational means to achieve such political goals as territory, safety, and glory. Carl von Clausewitz famously referred to war as the continuation of politics by other means. A second group of writers view violence as a result of political failure and miscalculation. The title of an influential paper on the origins of the American Civil War by the historian James Randall, "The Blundering Generation," expresses that idea. A third group, most recently exemplified by the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, regards violence as a pathological behavior that is diminishing in frequency with the onward march of civilization. Some proponents of that perspective have even declared that violence is essentially a public-health problem. Whatever their differences, each of these perspectives assigns violence a subordinate role in political life.

But there is an alternative view, one that assigns violence a primary role in politics. This outlook is implied by Mao Zedong's well-known aphorism that political power "grows out of the barrel of a gun." Violence, in other words, is the driving force of politics, while peaceful forms of political engagement fill in the details or, perhaps, merely offer post-hoc justifications for the outcomes of violent struggles. Mao corrected Clausewitz by characterizing politics as a sequel to or even an epiphenomenon of violence - a continuation of violence by other means.

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H o r s e s h i t

Violence ought to be provided by the market, like everything else. This will ensure it is not used needlessly. The cost of violence in the marketplace is the risk of counter-violence, which can be devastating. If everyone has to assume this risk, violence will only be used when strictly necessary.

Just like general ownership of guns. Regular citizens don't go into a setting where everyone is armed and start waving their guns around, because the risks would be huge. The market solution just takes this dynamic into larger and larger spheres. When nobody, i.e., no government, has a monopoly on violence, it is self-regulating.

The author of the referenced article is another over-educated ass.

Government IS violence.

There are only three ways to get something you want from other people: you can beg for it; you can trade for it; or you can steal it. Government is not a fourth method; it is organized, institutionalized violence. But wait a minute! Isn't government supposed to PROTECT us from violence? Isn't that its sole excuse for existing?


"Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure." (Robert LeFevre)

The success of the masquerade -- the legitimacy that people accord to "their" government -- is the real source of government power. Got that? It isn't the government weaponry that turns people into "subjects" or "citizens." It's our belief that they have a moral right to control us, that does the trick. That belief -- OUR belief -- is The Most Dangerous Superstition.

The primary purpose of 12 years of government "education" is to make sure that belief stays with you for a lifetime. Kids may not learn to read or write in government schools, but they do learn to do as they're told, like good little citizens.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

And it gets MORE Violent just before

the fake government that professed an Oath the people believe in is exposed.

And the fakeness IS being exposed.

Cyril's picture

Oh, violence DOES certainly work... for some governments :

Oh, violence DOES certainly work... for some governments :

On The Gay Marriage Issue : French Version 1.0, With Security Updates (2 months ago)


"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Violence does not work in the

Violence does not work in the long run. Just look at what the Russians and Americans have tried to do in Afghanistan with violence.

Look at Vietnam.

There is a point where and when guns, bombs, and missiles no longer work, especially today. Force is always met with an equal or greater reaction.

What matters most is what people think. The power of thought makes the power of weaponry look like a pile of beans at best.

Never be afraid to ask simple questions.

Spot on

Violence often solves nothing, usually it simply perpetuates itself.

I cannot understand why you would have had a downvote.

I dont have a problem with violence

just aggression. Violence is used because it works, peace and love is all well and good but when it comes down to it, the guy with the gun wins.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."

Click Here To See The Candidates On The Record

Ramblings of a tyrant?

His conclusion is, "Thus, like it or not, violence often is the answer to our political problems."

That's the philosophy of the biggest bully on the block.

Where did Mao get the guns? From the Soviet Union. Where did Lenin get the guns?

Who financed these operations?

Free includes debt-free!

All wars are bankers wars.

I'm sure you have seen it.

Anybody that hasn't google it, and don't be afraid that 'they' know you did. ;)

'They' need to google it as well.

Are you sure about that?

Nicole Oresme (1325-82)a noted French mathematician, astronomer and
physicist, was one of the most important European intellectuals of the fourteenth century, in his "Treatise on the Origin, Nature, Law and Alterations of Money", in the 1350s, applying the teachings of his hard-money mentor to the rash of monetary debasements indulged in by the kings of France in the first half of the fourteenth century.

In the centuries before paper money and central banking were founded in the late seventeenth century, the only way in which kings could gain revenue through monetary manipulation was by debasement - changing the definition of the money unit by lightening its weight in terms of the basic money, gold or silver.

If, for example, the money unit had been defined as 10 ounces of silver, the government could use its monopoly of the coinage to redefine the money unit as 9 silver ounces,and then pocket the difference in the course of recoinage. The extra ounces
would be employed to mint new coins for the king to use in wars, for the building of palaces, and for other allegedly worthy causes.

The Monarch was the central bank, they were his coins.

Why do Monarch's loot? To fill their treasury.

Why do Congresses loot? Because their treasury is empty.

First claim exceptionalism then demonize the enemy to be looted.

Somewhere a creditor tempted King or Congress that grabbing loot will be easy.

Free includes debt-free!

Hey good point,

Currency of the Realm pre central banking fiat money, but the statement was “all wars are bankers war” to imply the bankers finance both sides, which would not be the case in your statement. A Monarch going to war by “vendor financing” ( if that was the case which I don’t think so) would be a one sided self-interest venture to “loot” as you say to “fill the treasury”, which was the exact reason they always went to war…to plunder the enemy….it was easier then earning it. But the statement was to also to imply that the “creditors” initiated the purpose of the war……what about the other side …..Did the creditors infer to the Monarch that they must defend themselves?

Do you know where the concepts originated that banking and merchandizing was a bad thing? From the Catholic Church. Do you know why? Because the Monarchs became disenchanted with the Catholic Church back in the day and backed the Protestant Church and then plundered the accumulate wealth of the Catholic Church, The Catholic Church has survived but at a much diminished capacity then had it not been “betrayed” by the Monarchs. This is who perpetuities the “conspiracy theories”. So to say “all wars are banker’s wars” is really an immature statement of the misinformed, just trying set the record straight and inform.