In “Social Harmony,” the author wrote:
I was reading an article the other day, in the local newspaper, about an elderly Korean gentleman who has moved into town and opened a martial arts studio. He chastened the reporter who had come to interview him not to suggest that the martial arts were ‘all about fighting.’ “No!” he said. “The purpose is social harmony.”
That is exactly right. The secret of social harmony is simple: Old men must be dangerous.
Very nearly all the violence that plagues, rather than protects, society is the work of young males between the ages of fourteen and thirty. A substantial amount of the violence that protects rather than plagues society is performed by other members of the same group. The reasons for this predisposition are generally rooted in biology, which is to say that they are not going anywhere, in spite of the current fashion that suggests doping half the young with Ritalin.
The question is how to move these young men from the first group (violent and predatory) into the second (violent, but protective). This is to ask: what is the difference between a street gang and the Marine Corps, or a thug and a policeman? In every case, we see that the good youths are guided and disciplined by old men. This is half the answer to the problem.
This recognition of the difference between violent and predatory and violent but protective illustrates the difference in worldview between people like me, and the (we’ll call it) pacifist culture.
Britain today represents a perfect example of the pacifist culture in control, because that culture doesn’t really distinguish between violent and predatory and violent but protective – it sees only violent. Their worldview is divided between violent and non-violent, or passive. There is an exception, a logical disconnect if you will, that allows for legitimate violence – but only if that violence is committed by sanctioned officials of the State. And even there, there is ambivalence. If violence is committed by an individual there is another dichotomy: If the violence is committed by a predator, it is the fault of society in not meeting that predator’s needs. The predator is the creation of the society, and is not responsible for the violence. He merely needs to be “cured” of his ailment. If violence is committed by a defender, it is a failure of the defender to adhere to the tenets of the pacifist society. It is the defender who is at fault because he has lived by the rules and has chosen to break them, and who must therefore be punished for his transgression.
Obviously I’m taking this example to its extreme. Certainly the pacifist culture in Britain hasn’t taken over completely, but it is, without a doubt, the motivating factor behind the last fifty-plus years of ever more stringent controls on weapons and violent behavior. Laws that make it illegal to purchase a firearm for the specific purpose of self-protection. Laws that prohibit carrying anything that might be considered an offensive weapon, including pepper spray and tasers. Laws that make the use of deadly force in defense of self or others legally risky because:
“The law does not require the intention to kill for a prosecution for murder to succeed. All that is required is an intention to cause serious bodily harm. That intention can be fleeting and momentary. But if it is there in any form at all for just a second – that is, if the blow you struck was deliberate rather than accidental – you can be guilty of murder and spend the rest of your life in prison.”
There is no doubt that the philosophy behind those laws holds that there is no such thing as legitimate violence if it is committed by anyone other than agents of the State. There is no doubt that this philosophy ignores the historical and biological fact that young men are violent, and unguided will be predatory. Instead, that philosophy speaks of a “gun culture” – one of predatory violence without recognizing the other “gun culture” they have systematically been destroying for decades that teaches responsibility, safety, and protection. That “gun culture” does not exist in that philosophy, because that gun culture teaches violence, and violence is, by definition, bad.
Unless it is done in the name of the State.
That is a mindset that is making inroads here as well. In cities such as New York, D.C., and Chicago, and in states like New Jersey and Maryland, similar laws – though not as comprehensive – have been passed. Yet Americans in the main hold to the “John Wayne” ideal – that violence in defense of self or others is legitimate – that the State serves us, and since it cannot be everywhere at all times we have primary responsibility for that defense. We still understand the concept of violent, but protective.
It’s trite, but one of the best illustrations of the inroads of the pacifist mindset is in the DVD release of George Lucas’s original STAR WARS. In the cantina scene Lucas has revised the scene to show the character Han Solo being shot at – at point blank range – before he kills the villain Greedo. In the original scene, Han, the quintessential space cowboy, shot Greedo from concealment under the table first.
And the American audience cheered.
We knew who the good guy was.