2017– Most Philosophical 6th Grader in America
Victoria Volpe, Florida.
The Art of Achieving Any Means of Change
The majority of the populace, especially Pacifists, argue that problems cannot be solved by any use of force, that violence is never the answer. However, reaching this consensus only appeals to our moral sensibilities. In reality, humans and their past descendants have engaged in murder and pandemonium for thousands of years. Barack Obama might have been the first black president, but the fact of the matter is, the possibility of a black person joining America’s political elite had to be established through violent means, not to even mention that we had to engage in a bloody war to accomplish the freedom of blacks from chattel slavery. Violence and politics serve a very close pact as noted by Hobbes, who regarded violence as a rational means to achieve political goals such as territory, safety, and glory. When taking in this knowledge, we can realize that violence stimulates political transformation and entails an effective way of political dominance.
Winston Churchill once wrote “The history of the human race is war.”Carl von Clausewitz regarded war as the continuation of politics by other means. Meanwhile, Steven Pinker referred to violence as a pathological behavior that seems to disintegrate with every passing moment due to the evolution of civilization. As different as these views seem, these perspectives all have violence an important role in politics. Violence, whether we like it or not, has shaped our society. In every war, every human right we have fought for throughout history violence has been key to accomplish those and many other rights.
“Most regimes are the survivors or descendants or a thousand year long culling process in which those states capable of creating and sustaining powerful militaries prevailed, while those could not or would not fight were conquered or absorbed by others” according to social scientist Charles Tilly. The United States of America and their military are clear examples of Tilly’s theory. We are powerful and one of the aspects that make us powerful is our military, hence, the United States of America is the most powerful country in the world. The fact of the matter is that force can only be defeated by force. Although we are all encouraged to protest in a peaceful manner and great causes have been birthed as peaceful protests, these protests on their own have little impact. For example, in Libya and Syria citizens of both countries were peacefully protesting their regimes, but were no match for the tanks and machine guns that were deployed against them.
Some argue that violence has created the horrible world we live in today. However, violence has innovated the way we live and the world we live in. Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi were far from being peaceful protesters. The tactics used in their protests were designed to provoke violent responses. Both of them knew that they would be attacked and as these attacks were revealed, they elicited sympathy from other citizens and urged lawmakers to effectuate changes. Another example worth noting is a protest organized by Martin Luther King was the Selma protest. This protest was organized in Dallas County, which it is worth noting that Dallas County was known for their ingrained discriminatory beliefs. Martin Luther King expected and was aware of the reaction in Dallas County and also knew the violence perpetrated against them would be broadcasted and viewed by the nation. In short, these peaceful protests succeeded because the opponents of those movements were seen as brutal oppressors of defenseless crusaders. Clearly, this shows the sword is mightier than the pen.
According to Mao it is impossible to accomplish any leap in social development without violence. Iran seeks to develop nuclear weapons that might give them an advantage in the middle East. North Korea relies on nuclear blackmail, terrorism and other methods of warfare to increase their political liking.
People persist at treating violence as a problem rather than a solution. Violence determines whether nations will exists as a superpower or as an oppressed nation. Only when Syrian and Libyan protesters decided to use force backed by NATO airstrikes were they finally able to overthrow the Qaddafi regime. Therefore, as difficult as it may seem to understand, violence or the sword may not be as morally correct as the pen according to the majority of perspectives but it is definitely mightier.
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