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The Danger of Violence Part 2

Two: Righteous Anger Brings About Righteous Purposes.


The acts of patriotism wrought throughout time and the marvelous speeches and writings given during such turmoil are by far some of my most favorite literary works. Perhaps this is why I don't have a strong opinion either way on this topic, because I am so keenly stirred by the righteous defense of freedom. You may say to me “violence merely increases hate”-MLK Jr. at which point I would say, is violence always predicated by hatred? War and defense have brought about some of the greatest results in the history of the human struggle. What of the acts of the brave soldier's in the World Wars. If there had not been someone to stand up and fight Hitler how many more would have died?


Any time I think of a battle worth fighting for, I think of 'The Title of Liberty': In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children” Alma 46:12 Is that not reason enough to take up arms? For the defense of those precious gifts in life.


But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such...” -Declaration of Independence


The definition of patriotism is 'love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it' -dictionary.com, but does that mean that all patriotism is a valid reason to resort to violence? One might say yes, depending on where you live and what your values may be. If you are willing to sacrifice for your country or cause, and I say willing because there are often times those who are forced into violence, then, it is worth remembering that,“Whoever fights monsters, should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”-Nietzsche, and therefore lose the righteousness of his cause.


So how do we know when a cause is righteous? John Quincy Adams wrote the following in his epitaph to his parents:

Meeting undaunted and surmounting

The terrors and trials of that Revolution,

Which secured the Freedom of their Country,

Improved the condition of their times,

And brightened the prospects of futurity

To the race of man upon the Earth.”


And his father wrote:

You will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not. -I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. -Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that Posterity will triumph in that days transaction, even although we should rue it...” -John Adams


I propose that their can be a righteous purpose for war, but that path down which it leads is fraught with the perilous monster's that are violence. When we begin to embrace those monster's, to find satisfaction in the horror around us then we risk the very cause for which we are fighting. If we begin to forget the “toil and blood,” the “terrors and trials,” that are the means by which we must find peace, then we have lost our path and our purpose is for not.


We have a moral obligation to abhor violence, and yet we have a moral obligation to also defend those “unalienable rights, ... among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” -Declaration of Independence.


“What reason is there to expect that Heaven will help those who refuse to help themselves; or Providence will grant liberty to those who [lack] courage to defend it. Are the great duties they owe to themselves, their country and posterity, so soon forgotten?” -John Jay, American Revolutionary


I don't have an answer to what is right, violence or non-violence, I think it really boils down to the situation, motive and honor and when a people can calmly and honestly say that the motives for their behavior are based on the premise “that freedom is rarely gained without sacrifice and self-denial.”-MLK Jr.


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