10 August 2011

Lessons Forgotten

I do not and can not condone violence, ever, except in the most dire and extreme circumstances in defense of home and family. The resort to violence in the case of a powerful oppressor is to give them what they desire, the intention of their provocations: the excuse to repression, murder, and genocide.

But non-violence, as Gandhi so eloquently observed, is the weapon of the strong, of the clear-headed, of the disciplined and devoted, and of the exceptionally brave whose courage is deeply grounded in something other than themselves. Without exceptional leadership, it rarely occurs naturally.
"There is no bravery greater than a resolute refusal to bend the knee to an earthly power, no matter how great, and that without bitterness of spirit, and in the fullness of faith that the spirit alone lives, nothing else does."
So as a response to prolonged injustice, violence often occurs, sparking mindlessly. To try and understand it, where its roots lie, is not to condone it, but to determine what it is and why it might be happening.  This is the path to a lasting remedy.

Is this some excess of youth fueled by drink and wild spirits, as in the aftermath of a sporting event, or is it something more profound than the wildness of men in groups? 

There is little doubt in my mind about the nature of what we are seeing today. I forecast the progress of these events years ago, as far back as 2002.

I am appalled to see that things are following that course.   I even forecast the burning of cities in Britain.  People at the time were incredulous at this. And yet here we are.

When you suppress discussion and choice, and abuse reason and justice over a period of years, you will ultimately bring forth the madness. And those who would use such a crisis, who imagine that it will serve their purpose, they will find that the will to power serves none but itself.

"Our government teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy...If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."

Louis D. Brandeis

"Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter, by peaceful or revolutionary means, into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it."

Frederic Bastiat

"And remember, where you have the concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that."

Lord Acton

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

John F. Kennedy

When the governance of a society refuses to listen to the calls for justice and reform over a long period of time, when it acts to ignore, co-opt, diffuse, and then suppress the voice of the reformers, when it uses the law as a means of legal plunder, that government and society will eventually answer not to reasoned dissent, not to principled calls for reforms, but to the rage of the mob.

And then that society may call for the strong man to come forward and bring these unruly other ones to heel, operating on his own and beyond the law, using whatever means he wishes, even to suspending of the law for the sake of expediency, and ultimately engaging in crimes against humanity for the sake of justice.

And that is always a Faustian bargain, a path of self-destruction. But in a people gripped by frustration, anger and fear, it is a powerful temptation.

Violence and expediency invites dark powers to rise and insinuate themselves among you. And then begins the downfall, an almost inevitable descent, and perilous journey, into a hell on earth.

"One may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations."

Winston Churchill, The Times, November 7, 1938

Tsar Nicholas II: I know what will make them happy. They're children, and they need a Tsar! They need tradition. Not this! They're the victims of agitators. A Duma would make them bewildered and discontented. And don't tell me about London and Berlin. God save us from the mess they're in!

Count Witte: I see. So they talk, pray, march, plead, petition and what do they get? Cossacks, prison, flogging, police, spies, and now, after today, they will be shot. Is this God's will? Are these His methods? Make war on your own people? How long do you think they're going to stand there and let you shoot them? YOU ask ME who's responsible? YOU ask?

Tsar Nicholas II: The English have a parliament. Our British cousins gave their rights away. The Hapsburgs, and the Hoehenzollerns too. The Romanovs will not. What I was given, I will give my son.

For his obsession with power and privilege Nicholas gave his son, his wife, and his daughters a hard death in a dark cellar. But their dresses were sewn with jewels.