Post Reply Are politics inherently violent? And is that violence justified?
mxdan 
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Posted 1/30/18 , edited 1/30/18
I'm going to try and set up my feelings on the issue here so bear with me, this may be a little long so I'm just going to jump right in it...

Centrists, at least in American politics, seem to believe in this idea that things can be solved through political discourse, but is that correct?

Evidence seems to suggest that politics is already a game of violence. Everything seems to operate under a mode of who has the authority to force another to do something; whether that be through the obvious or nudged through passive suggestion encompassing an aggression. Would anyone here argue that a country truly has control over their actions entirely? Maybe to a limited degree, Trump is proof of that, but doesn't he still operate by the share holders who run this country? There is a limit to what we can and can't do economically and militarily. whether we acknowledge it or not (Perhaps not, but I'm welcome to suggestion on this point).

-- Can we say there is any way to engage in advocacy for a movement in a nonviolent way for certain? History seems to suggest that almost without fail that effective movements are violent by nature. For the most part anytime there has been something that has changed power structure in a working body it came down to a violent revolution. Power, by nature, almost never gives itself up because it attracts more power.

The far left and far right seem to believe that the struggle for power is the only thing we need to worry ourselves with. Does the alt-right and Neo-Nazi's operate under the delusion that they can achieve their ethno-state through discussion? Does the Antifa think that they can achieve Marxist tenants through political discourse? This is the political struggle that has been changing empires since the dawn of civilizations.

Assuming we all believe in social contract theory (And we think that our humanity is derived from our ability to participate in a social contract) we can push the hypothetical that a group that doesn't adhere to the basic tenants of modern social contract is deserving of violence.

Lets take the obvious, German Nazi's in the early part of the 20th century. We have a group that cast aside the belief of basic human equality, and that we should have free trial under the law, and the basic tenants of free speech. Our contract in a free and open society hinges on the tenants that we deem necessary to move forward. Another example would be Stalin's Russia just to throw one... So we can (presumptuously) agree that a violation like those mentioned needs to have some sort of confrontation to stop, because power rarely relinquishes itself, especially if it's run well (It can be argued that the Soviet's fell due to a passive placement of power that caused a miss use of power in the country). I guess what I'm saying is, the farther out political ideologies get the more potential for (morally sound) justification of violence becomes. Violence against violation of social contract is justified stance and whether you be a Marxist or Nazi pushing to assume power for these views you are inherently justifying the use of violence against you and your constituents because you are violating the rule of power for something different.

In a sense, you're welcoming it.


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Posted 1/30/18
I don't think it's necessary, but I think it may be an inclination of human nature.

And current technology I think helps feed into the current tribal mindset.
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Posted 1/30/18
Humans are inherently violent, it follows that those who would like large numbers of other humans to follow their policies have to use some modicum of force to bully them into submission.

In an ideal world we might be able to solve all conflicts through logical discourse. The world isn't ideal though and people often act illogical, especially when you want them to do something they don't want to do.
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Posted 1/30/18
if you want to keep the people in check and the likes then you run with violence. take North Korea for instance, so strict and dangerous the people fear the leaders. don't cry enough, follow a set pattern, you are as good as dead. sure they send them to camps but still... then let's look at Indonesia and Germany where they are allowing the refugees in, this is causing taking over and forcing of rebellion, thus violence. as for America, it's still for the people by the people, however leaders do like to overstep their bounds and flip flop all the time. Obama, Jackson, Lincoln... but yes, politics is violent, thanks to a further divide then there should be. it didn't take place under Obama's watch, but he didn't help it that's for sure. well he helped it but not in the right direction. people look up to their leaders, they do bad, people do bad.

before someone offers up an olive branch and come to the campfire to have peaceful talks without violence then there will always be violence. when the people stepped forth (white and native Americans) there was a time of peace, until things went wrong. so, it is possible. however history also shows it's far easier to be violent, that's a lazy person's approach to life, it takes a lot of effort to be kind to your fellow being, it takes nothing to be angry, hate or violent towards them. this is just how society is, how they've always been and will always be. thanks to religion, language and culture differences this doesn't help the division. but, instead of settling things and being more civil they only know chaos.

I've also noticed an influx in violence, it began about the turn of Obama's second term. unfortunately it's not a pretty thing, but this is life in general. however, we can blame political strains on the whole thing, people upset because of what they know from history and those who know little to nothing about history, pretend they do and cause chaos. education is knowledge after all. the less a person fears/hates the better chances they would be less violence. but that's too much work, so same set path is before us, getting worse by the future inches forth. shame really, but that's how life is.
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Posted 1/30/18

mxdan wrote:

-- Can we say there is any way to engage in advocacy for a movement in a nonviolent way for certain? History seems to suggest that almost without fail that effective movements are violent by nature. For the most part anytime there has been something that has changed power structure in a working body it came down to a violent revolution. Power, by nature, almost never gives itself up because it attracts more power.



I think there are some obvious counter-examples that come to mind where nonviolent protest successfully changed the status quo. The liberation of India is one. So it need not be that effective politics is inevitably violent. I've read that the writings of Gene Sharp have been enormously influential in scholarly and practical circles in this regard.

I am not that well-read in social contract theory, but my understanding is that social contract theories of government are somewhat individualistic. I can conceive of other perspectives, for example that of Engaged Buddhism, about which I am reading a book currently, that holds the reduction of suffering in a society as one of the principle ends of politics. However, what is common to all these perspectives is a recognition of the legitimacy of a government as enabling it to enforce laws with the acceptance of the body politic. According to this view, it would see the violence of the state as being in proportional response to the violence due to private individuals. The justification for the use of force to uphold laws in society is in many ways similar to theories of just warfare. They fundamentally make the distinction between violence necessary to maintain social order, and that of illegitimate lawlessness.
Humms 
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Posted 1/30/18
Politics always leads to violence. Violence attracts youth, violence attracts media frenzy. Violence supports fear. Who will protect us? What must we do supreme overlord?


Politics, don't make me laugh. It's actually money that runs the show, so I don't know what the hell people are so up and arms about politics, when in the end it's all about money. Money money money. Just stop talking about politics, let's talk about money, Isn't that why people get into Politics? Do you really think people would actually work for the government for free? Are people that clueless.

I wonder if people would speak so boldly if they didn't get paid for it..... Oh that's right, only the repressed and enslaved do that. The liars cheats and crooks will tell you anything.

But hey, someone's gotta get paid right? So let's worry about people after we made a profit, agreed? Agreed! Well done, yes well done ol chap; jolly good sir, see you all next week ( everyone departing on their private jets with luxury seating and enjoying the freshest bottled tears)


runec 
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Posted 1/30/18 , edited 1/30/18

mxdan wrote:
I guess what I'm saying is, the farther out political ideologies get the more potential for (morally sound) justification of power becomes. Violence against violation of social contract is justified stance and whether you be a Marxist or Nazi pushing to assume power for these views you are inherently justifying the use of violence against you and your constituents because you are violating the rule of power for something different.

In a sense, you're welcoming it.


Well, I have only have two points here really.

For one: Politics, in essence, exists as a tool to mitigate conflict before it turns violent. It would be more accurate to say we have politics because there was violence rather than we have violence because there was politics. Major conflicts ( WW1 and 2 specifically ) have lead to major strides in trying to improve politics.

For two: Despite how it may appear the aftermath of WW2 led to an increase in global politics. As a result we are, historically speaking, in the longest span of peace in modern human history. Sure, we have ISIS and crap like that but they are, historical speaking, laughably insignificant. There have been no direct conflicts between major powers since WW2 ( The Cold War never rose an actual war ) and the political systems we have in place these days combined with intertwined geopolitical and economic interests ensures its highly unlikely we would see such conflicts again.

We may hem and haw over the likes of things like Iraq, Iraq II: Bush League and Afghanistan but as military conflicts they are a drop in the ocean compared to the horrors of full scale conflicts like WW2.

Now, all that said, I think like many perceptions of the world being worse these days is actually a matter of available information rather than statistics. It's not that things are worse its that we are far more likely to hear about them now with the speed of information and being inundated with them via sensationalism and social media,

It's like the age old lament that older people have about things being safer and friendlier when they were kids. No, they weren't. You just didn't have the internet and 24/7 cable news. I mean, violent crime is down across the board and has been going down for decades but if you watched cable news you'd think around every dark corner was a serial murder rapist waiting to stuff you in a van.
mxdan 
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Posted 1/30/18

mittemeyer wrote:


mxdan wrote:

-- Can we say there is any way to engage in advocacy for a movement in a nonviolent way for certain? History seems to suggest that almost without fail that effective movements are violent by nature. For the most part anytime there has been something that has changed power structure in a working body it came down to a violent revolution. Power, by nature, almost never gives itself up because it attracts more power.



I think there are some obvious counter-examples that come to mind where nonviolent protest successfully changed the status quo. The liberation of India is one. So it need not be that effective politics is inevitably violent. I've read that the writings of Gene Sharp have been enormously influential in scholarly and practical circles in this regard.

I am not that well-read in social contract theory, but my understanding is that social contract theories of government are somewhat individualistic. I can conceive of other perspectives, for example that of Engaged Buddhism, about which I am reading a book currently, that holds the reduction of suffering in a society as one of the principle ends of politics. However, what is common to all these perspectives is a recognition of the legitimacy of a government as enabling it to enforce laws with the acceptance of the body politic. According to this view, it would see the violence of the state as being in proportional response to the violence due to private individuals. The justification for the use of force to uphold laws in society is in many ways similar to theories of just warfare. They fundamentally make the distinction between violence necessary to maintain social order, and that of illegitimate lawlessness.


India liberation was one such thing that came to mind as I wrote this. But upon further research, even that wasn't exactly 'non-violent'.


http://theconversation.com/the-forgotten-violence-that-helped-india-break-free-from-colonial-rule-57904

Second, it could be argued that Gandhi's position in the realm of things was the 'centralist' one. Had it been the charged one it would of been violent in nature.

With that said, I don't think it is inconceivable for power to relinquish power; Just highly unlikely.

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Posted 1/30/18


Thank you for pointing out that there were violent, revolutionary movements at work in India at the time. Clearly, they are part of the historical record. Nevertheless, I think it reasonable to say that the primary cause for India's liberation was Gandhi's movement, which you do seem to agree was non-violent. If you want to classify his movement as "centralist" as opposed to "charged," that is your prerogative.

As to the likelihood of success for similarly styled peace movements to completely overturn a government, I suppose you have a point. But a political movement need not be in exclusive control of government to have an impact. For example, the conflict between opposition parties in normally functioning democracies does not inevitably result in violence, and yet there is conflict there for sure. By violence, I am referring to use of force, which I define as a threat to physical safety which is immediate, credible, and substantial.

The Democrats are not in control of Congress or the White House, but their ability to impede the Republicans in their governance is not to be denied. I don't see anything violent, i.e., involving the use of physical force, in what they are doing.
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Posted 1/30/18
Politics is not inherently violent; politics inherently involve aggression, which may not use violent means, as they involve some form of conflict. However, this address one definition of politics. People with more extreme political orientation tend to use more violence because of more intense conflicts.
Posted 1/30/18
There has been an increased awareness of having to recognise different groups. I guess depending on which side you sit on you may pay attention to the popularity of certain groups as they may eventually overturn the power of a state (lol). Hence the heated debates and political activity. Expert to see more political projects.

If you mean actual conflicts then I agree with runec's response/post.
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Posted 1/31/18
I sometimes (very often) have trouble understanding what I read, this has been one of those times. Maybe you could help me out?

The primary topic as it's being discussed and perhaps as you meant it is I think violence itself within politics/political movements? When you wrote about who has the authority to force another to do something, in a sense that's almost literally all politics is, so any bill about taxes could be, loosely speaking, considered a form of violence insofar as people aren't really given a choice to pay them. That's the way a hardcore libertarian or anarchist might talk anyway, myself, I believe taxes tend to be rather necessary, so yes, there's technically a threat of force there but that much, I believe is to some degree justified.

When you write about a country having/not having control over their actions, question is how do you define country? I think you're referring to the elected leadership? By shareholders, do you mean "corporate elite"/wealthy donors? I would think shareholders could mean the American people in general though I don't think that's what you mean by it. I would assume both would have some influence, with the popular opinion probably holding more overall.

I vaguely remember the term "social contract" but I'll have to look it up, not sure what all it would encompass. But yes, there are times in my mind anyway, when violence is justified, when there were/are Nazis or the like who are actively engaging in violence themselves. Against the violence of the Antifa people, at least if they're trying to actively provoke it or strike first.

Anyway, I guess it depends on how you define violence, I'm not sure I quite understand, politics goes on all the time in the U.S. and I think a lot of other countries without any real violence so maybe I'm just misunderstanding. Of course there are violent revolutions too, you could call these the result of politics done poorly but you could also define the revolutions as being a part of politics.

Human beings are sort of violent at times, not good.

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Politics, of any sort isn't, inherently violent.

It gets acted out violently sometimes because people are very passionate about who "controls" them. Not literal control, but the government, a supervisor, the most alpha personality in your social circle, all exert a level of control over the rest.

If the people involved aren't aggressive then it's heated discussion. A large group and a couple of aggressive leaders and you have an Antifa riot.

Politics used to be a lot more violent, when the culture was more violent. The House of Commons in the UK parliament has a distance between the areas where politicians stand as just longer than 2 sword lengths. So the opposing politicians couldn't stab each other over a disagreement on farming allocations (for example of the silliness). It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Now... It would clear some space fairly efficiently. One man, One stab.
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