Comment: Government = sanctioned violence

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Government = sanctioned violence

I don't think you can have an honest conversation about enacting new public safety laws until you first acknowledge (to borrow a phrase from my favorite childhood movie*) "the violence inherent in the system." The promise of enforcing any law with violence, if need be, amounts to sanctioned violence. Whether or not this is preferable to criminal-unsanctioned violence does not alter the fact that the sanctioned violence inherent to any government is still violence. Hence, any argument for new public safety laws which criminalize any behavior amounts to a further justification for even more sanctioned violence added to the violence already sanctioned by law. While an argument to decriminalize any behavior may amount to arguing for circumstances that predispose some individuals to violent behavior, the same can be said of arguments to criminalize behavior. In neither case do such arguments in themselves actually sanction unlawful violent behavior, but regardless of intention, all arguments to criminalize behavior, in their implicit sanction of state violence, exemplify a violent mentality, however sublimated and rationalized in the rule of law they may be. Unless this violent mentality is acknowledged, it only justifies itself and is want to ignore the question: How much violence do I want to sanction, if any? This is an honest place to begin a discussion on the need to change public safety laws. (*