People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. – attributed to George Orwell, Winston Churchill etc, and likely to have some basis in Orwell’s comment about Rudyard Kipling: “He sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them.” (1942) and “PACIFIST: Those who ‘abjure’ violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.- Notes on Nationalism, Orwell, 1945 (and worth the read)
The words “Violence is never the answer” have been spewed left and right, by the left and right. The problem is that it’s a simplistic claim and one that all evidence shows is not true. Violence might be not the best answer, but sometimes it’s the only answer. One needs a hoe to cut out the weeds that have been allowed to grow through neglect, laziness or willful ignorance. Often that comes in the form of a war, where some part of humanity has decided that they have some “right” to force their beliefs on others or some “right” to take what they want. Diplomacy did not work, but physical action did, though at a horrible cost. The prime example of this is World War II, with two entities, the Nazis and the imperial Japanese, trying to force themselves on others. Would gradualism have worked in these cases, where one hopes that slow change will come about and work? That is a question that is hard to answer, a simpler one is would you want your descendants living in a world like that for some unknown period until someone stood up and demanded change *and* succeeded? I know which I would want and am grateful for the effort and sacrifice of those before me.
The quote above has come to us in its current form after some mangling by time and humans, but it still states a worthy observation. Orwell spoke of secret truths that people, even if they are adamant that they are wrong, must accept in some form; the pacifist in some way acknowledges that they can only remain a pacifist if someone else stands up for them. If no one does, they are likely either dead by the hands of the aggressor, or are enslaved by him, and in both cases ideals die or at best, are dormant for a very long time. If no one stands up to forces that would declare that there are only one “chosen” people, women less than human, that there is only one acceptable type of family, then this will never change and we will be dead or enslaved by those who would take advantage of our complacence. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Rough Men and taking a stand”