Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Doctrine of Non-Violence

Martin Luther King Jr.’s- I Have a Dream speech capsulizes the Civil Rights Movement better than any thing else that has been said. That is why families of all races gather around their TVs and the internet on the 3rd Monday of January each year to listen to it.

I believe that when Dr King gave this speech he was specific in many ways. He was the obvious leader of the black civil rights movement in the US. In this speech he was not targeting Gay and Lesbian issues, or foreign issues for that matter. He had a big enough problem to deal with, without bringing others into it. It would be nice if we could always use non-violent measures to stifle greed, inequality, and other problems that cause caustic situations, but I am of the opinion that we cannot.

At the time that Martin Luther King was using non-violent methods to conquer hate down in the south let's not forget that it was the scenes on TVs around the nation that caused our government to send in the National Guard to protect those students and allow blacks to vote. Am I against non-violence? I believe in non-violence coupled with outside pressure and possibly force. Without it there would have been no national recognition and action taken. Gandhi would not have accomplished what he was able to in India. There was also world attention and outrage brought to the surface in that situation.

The Holocaust is a great example of how non-violence on its own is not enough. The Jews and many others were slaughtered by the Nazi's. They committed these atrocities in silence keeping the news to themselves. There was some word that got out but there was no concrete evidence that was presented to people world wide. The Jews for the most part were slaughtered without incident. They were pretty non-violent. Did that sway the Nazi's from their evil agenda? Did that stop them from murdering innocent men women and children? Not in the least. When our soldiers liberated those camps the American public along with the rest of the world was outraged. If we would have found out sooner, would we have helped them? I don't think there is a question that we would have immediately sent our troops over. Millions could have been saved.

The point is that the nature of man is inherently evil. Non-violence can work in quite a few situations swaying those that can be swayed without violence. However, there are situations that call for action. Without it the oppression continues, even until extinction. If we had men and women in charge of things who were pure in heart and generally well rounded with goodness and virtue then our actions whatever they might be would be better suited for each example that appears.

Since we are not in that position then we rely on our leaders to see these things. After they are elected, within the realm of their own knowledge and weaknesses, they make decisions. We can hypothesize all we want to, but in the end it comes down to the human spirit which in some cases has had the light of humanity extinguished. Trusting in the president to make correct decisions is all that we can do. That is why it is so important who we vote for!

To believe that non-violence and understanding ones enemy’s position will solve all caustic situations is a dangerous and irresponsible position to take. Sooner or later the individual who believes this could very well find themselves in an untenable and possibly terminal situation.