20 November 2006


I remember hearing the phrase "Violence never solved anything" from my mother, immediately after a well deserved paddling. I remember thinking then (but never saying, the threat of further violence ensured that I knew better) that if violence never solved anything, why was I now so willing to heed her words with no further argument? The violence done on my tender backside was sufficient to achieve the intended result of immediate compliance to her wishes, and the violent means that were employed were far more effective, and long reaching, than any other persuasional tactics she could have used. So you see, regardless of the lesson she intended, violence rather quickly solved the issue.

Throughout history there have been peace-in-our-time diplomats that have used the "violence never solved anything" rationale to no good end, finally relying on rough men to do violence on their behalf to achieve the intended results. All through my childhood into my early adult years the perceived threat of nuclear violence was enough to prevent war between the two most likely combatants, the US and the USSR.

I remember the oblivion clock, the one that was used as an indication of our proximity to full-scale nuclear war. When Carter was President he was seen by his supporters in the US as "taking the lead" on nuclear non-proliferation, so the clock never approached midnight. The USSR saw him in a different light, ineffective and weak; this view was supported by the reaction (or lack thereof) to the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, and insults to our national honor were quickly offered. When Reagan was President the clock was 2 to midnight, the eruption of nuclear tipped missiles from their silos was viewed as inevitable. He was seen by his political opponents (the same crowd that supported Carter) in the US as the insaniac on the button that would finally unleash the atomic holocaust; in the USSR he was regarded as the man most likely to react disproportionately to any provocation, and they were very careful not to offer one.

This is the thing that various leftists never understood, while Reagan had his finger firmly upon the button the threat of nuclear war was the furthest removed from us that it had ever been during the odd standoff that was the Cold War; the threat of violence was perceived by our enemies to be not only real, but immediate. It was the strain of this threat that finally led to the collapse of the Soviet state.

For the threat to be viable it must be maintained, it is maintained by occasionally demonstrating national will, or willingness to commit to a sustained conflict. We are losing this viability very rapidly and our enemies, both future and present, are observant. Once upon a time everyone knew that when America, the nation, spoke that they should listen. Once upon a time the threat of "Don't want to, but will" was credible. Now it is looking more and more like "Don't want to, wouldn't want you to hate us".

We refuse to protect our own borders. We are hesitant to use force to keep our enemies at bay. Our collective testicles shrivel whenever blood is spilled in the effort to impose our national will. Our more raucous citizenry screams about peace from the rooftops (and other places better left unmentioned), and the world hears their cries. We forget that the application of specific violence, narrowly focused and carefully directed, will prevent the kind of chaotic violence that is rightfully abhorred.

WW2 in the Pacific was quickly ended with that specific type of focused and directed violence visited on two Japanese cities, and millions of lives that would have otherwise been lost in further combat were saved. European Jewry did not have rough men ready to do violence on their behalf, and approximately six million of their voices were silenced as a result.

Violence, properly focused and directed, solves many problems. The threat of violence, properly focused and directed, prevents many others. To say otherwise is a fundamental untruth. To say otherwise is morally reprehensible. It is imperative that the threat of such focused and directed violence is perceived as real. If it is not perceived as real, we will be called upon to prove it's veracity; if the threat is not found to be real it will be ignored and all of us will suffer for it.

Proving the threat to be real will be painful as well, but not nearly as painful as proving it to be false. This is the situation we find ourselves in now. There are some that would rather avoid the immediate pain of proving the threat in the hopeless gamble that imminent pain will not follow; history does not place favorable odds on their wager. Hiding our heads in the sand will not make the tiger disappear, it will only make things a bit easier for the tiger.

Six million Jews would agree, if they only had a voice.


Dymphna said...

This is an excellent post. You could have gone on several different paths after your opening story (very powerful); the one you chose was a good one.

Umm...the fly in the ointment. I would've emailed this to you, but couldn't find your contact on the profile: the post needs very much to be cut into smaller paragraphs. One of the secrets of blogging well (IMHO)is short paras, esp. on a black screen.

That said, you express yourself well.

Larry said...

Happy Day! My second non-spambot comment!
Thanks for the advice dymphna, I need all the help I can get! Actually the post is in several paragraphs, I need to learn to use things like indentations...

Anonymous said...

Was enlightened of your blog just recently and am catching up with your writings.

This Robert Heinlein statement comes to mind after reading this posting.

Now...back to my reading.

"Those who cling to the untrue doctrine that violence never settles anything would be advised to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Nations and peoples who forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."

Larry said...

Heinlein was right on the mark, and that's why I loved this book (and hated the movie).
This post is probably the best piece of writing I have ever done on this blog. It may be the best piece of writing I have ever done, but I keep trying.
Hope you like what you see, welcome aboard!