Our Daily Violence


America’s latest ritual shootings happened in El Paso and Dayton. But they could have been anywhere. The causes the perpetrators support is wide-ranging. One of the killers is a white supremacist which is totally PC. The other, -and this is said in a lowered voice-, seems to have been a leftist. That is so “incorrect” that it is improper to bring it up. Comparable incidents occur regularly on all continents. Due to that, one is made to look for the cause of a universal malady.

While the perceived volume of lethal violence grows, it bears on our take that, selectively, events are often not reported. That holds true in the case of incidents in which the culprit belongs to a group that, by applied PC, is not supposed to be criminal even if it produces offenders above its share of the population. So then, with the ideologically, racially, and casually motivated violence growing, on to the attempt to provide an explanation that can only be partial.

Mr. Trump has caused the usual protest by connecting violent video-games and real-life violence. Interestingly, those that reject this link protests against toy weapons. Supposedly, they incite …. -well, you know the rest. As usual, the Trump obsession elevates the theme above logic’s boundaries so that the chosen class can have it both ways. Not the cumulative evidence points to the figure of hate; it begins with the dogma of Trump’s guilt and then selects gems said to fit the concept.

Once Trump, climate change, or capitalism are dismissed as the cause of violence, an inconvenient cause comes to mind. Why “inconvenient”? Because it places some blame on all of us. Our problem is that growing wealth has created a demand for instant gratification while it also provided the means to finance it.

We have been taught that if we want it, we get it, and if we do not, then acting out our anger is justified. If at the check-out the kid takes something from the display then the parent is inclined to pay for it. If not, the child stages a tantrum. The bystanders will frown at the cruelty, and the shamed Mom will take the item. What began with toddlers continues through school that avoids what is “too difficult”. It might end in a diploma in a “mickey” subject taught by a dwarf from Snow White’s staff (no racism is meant) which does not confirm a needed skill.

Alas, at times in life, frustration is apt to set in. It will be seen as an outrage and the obstacle is met with violence. As the daily news tell, if the train ticket is checked you hit the conductor when you do not have one. If the nurse is too slow you punch her. When the teacher checks for knifes, you stab her. Slow service? Shoot the waiter. The quickly frustrated express their vexation by opening fire. Yes, our easy ways to gather titillating news increases their perceived volume. Even so, violence by the “entitled”, triggered by “frustration” and “disappointment”, proliferates.

Killing our own kind might be our biological heritage, however, cultures have endeavored to keep that instinct controlled. That could be through an absolute proscription such as in the Ten Commandments, or a treaty, such as the Geneva Conventions, that regulate war. Such normative guidelines are expressions of what we may call “culture”.

More than any law, it is our culture and shared values that create the most effective restraints to constrain behavior and to reduce violence. It might be warranted to assert that civilization can be measured by the ability to solve problems non-violently. (This is opined by a crack shot with much exposure to violence.)

Significantly and disturbingly, subcultures are allowed to develop in our communities that reject the rules that govern the majority. This is true on the domestic level as well as on the international one.

Where values are shared by persons that see them as expressions of their selves, the resulting sense of common identity marginalizes violence; the system that expresses the community is trusted to alleviate disputes. If several internally cohesive factions develop within what purports to be one system, then to the extent of their defined identity, intense conflicts are apt to arise.

If a clearly defined parallel society emerges, it is likely that it will explicitly reject the majority’s values. The reason might be that it outperforms the natives or, and this is the dangerous case, because it falls behind. The divide produced by the latter case will widen because, typically, shortcomings will be attributed to ”discrimination”. Once bad habits become enshrined as “our way”, the consequences will be limiting. In this case, the defiance of “their” laws, and also violence against the “oppressor” can be morally endorsed or at least treated as a mere trifle. The impact that brings about a violent society, or more precisely, violence between two fundamental conceptions that share the same state, is obvious.

One detects in developed societies an individualism that, in the pursuit of originality, exhibits an eccentricity that displays its separation from the collective’s norms. The outcome is a centrifugal force that spins quickly forming cliques off the majoritarian cluster. They represent fantasy-inspired entities formed to express numerous genders, religious sects, inventively defined races, age groups, and so on. The resulting tribes define themselves through their separate identity -a justification of claimed privilege- confirmed by the rejection of their surrounding’s ways and interests. The upshot is, that but for “guilty” majority types, only a few allege bashfully to stand for the whole. What has been a functioning national community breaks down into separatism-driven groupings of inward-looking disconnected minorities that demand present-day advantages and immunity for their past victimhood.

We can see this development as a reversal of a process that has been operative for centuries. Essentially, successful societies have moved from the anarchy of small units toward orderly larger ones. So, we went from the family to the clan, the tribe, and then to the modern nation. Assuming that the membership is voluntary, international organizations seem to be a continuation of the trend that consists of increased cooperation within ever more encompassing entities.

Chinese civilization would not have emerged in the role it played had she not become a country. By overcoming feudalism, the rise of modern states created the precondition of advancement in Europe. Federalism in America paved the way to a global role that the small founding colonies could have never achieved. The evolvement of states created large markets, united constituent tribes, provided security, and as a consequence, constitutional freedom could be defined. The trend to where all groupings that demand primary loyalty see themselves as minorities in a hostile milieu, counters this. It also creates a perception of reality that replaces consent and cooperation with the politics of confrontation among often sociopathic entities. With this in mind, the spread of “no-go areas” tolerated in the name of democratic lenience is dangerous. In these not the law of the whole, but the will of a violent controlling group, -the sharia or a gang’s will-, rules the turf.

As majority governed and consensus-capable communities disintegrate into hostile clans, in the fracturing society an infatuation spreads with violent individuals and organizations. This might express the ennui that prevails in materially supportive and safety-providing systems of general welfare. Or it could be that violence not only discourages the enemy but also recruits the fearful, the sadistic, the purposeless, and the bored. Thus, we witness a fascination that surrounds the symbols, organizations and the violent chieftains of causes that can make its submissive “soldiers” larger than their individual self. So red stars on lapels, Stahlhelms on bikers, or Guevara T-shirts proliferate among those that crave to be strong. The fashion lends an identification for the otherwise insignificant, and it assures of an association with something that can shake the world.

Tell a wearer of a Che print that he parades an image of a mass murderer. You will be told that he intended to save mankind. (Once called “revolutionary”, violence justifies itself.) Furthermore, he liquidated only groups to which the buff does not belong. In that context violence becomes fun, a glamorous and heroic deed, and also an envied adventure. That attracts those that have learned that in a democracy the majority must submit and may not defend itself, and that in the welfare state there is no accountability. Violence should caution and alienate -instead of that, it attracts.

Much of the terrorist branch of “politics-by-violence” could not exist without supporting states. In charge of these you find tyrants that had practiced terrorism during their take-over. Frequently, the parent organizations of state enhanced terrorism are protected by a lenient respect for their sovereignty. Especially so if they use ably the rhetoric of “national liberation”, “justice”, “solidarity” and such. Finding a power that undermines the international order and destabilizes enemy states to give money, serve as a R&R zone, and to extend political cover to its proxy, is of advantage.

Contorted liberalism’s attempt to tame violence by demonstrating good will, understanding, and forgiveness for what had been done to others, does not work as desired. As long as ideologically well packaged violent persons, movements, and systems are rewarded by finding excuses for leniency, there will be men to seek, find, and use guns indiscriminately. Turning the other cheek to terrorists will not pacify anyone. Playing the game by that rule will only make us run out of cheeks.

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