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My violence is better than your violence

In our supposedly enlightened modern society we pretend to deplore violence but we are willing participants in perpetuating it – in our sport, in our movies, in our games, in our language, and sadly, all too often, in our homes.

From our high moral ground we see our violence as better than ‘their’ violence. We meet aggression with greater aggression.

violence In the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, the peacekeepers of the world insist on every individual’s right, almost obligation, to own a gun. To combat the obvious problems this creates, they give their police force bigger guns.

In Australia, customs and immigration have turned into some form of gun totin’, black-uniform-wearing Homeland Security Force tasked with seeking out the aliens among us and repelling any who come near.

To address the human rights abuses in other countries, we bomb them. Or we arm them so anyone trying to flee from the persecution will be stopped from leaving.

To deter people from fleeing by boat, we are prepared to subject a few thousand people to indefinite torture with no hope of an end to it just to teach them, and others, a lesson.

Our politicians, who are tasked with finding solutions to problems, instead concentrate on demeaning and belittling each other.

Our government has stripped funding from many of the community and support groups that help to prevent violence, addiction, and marginalisation. They now go running to these groups asking for advice on how provide services for an influx of 12,000 refugees.

When a solution was proposed by the Security Council on defining the borders of Israel and Palestine, Australia and the US vetoed it, presumably because they would rather see the conflict continue than find a resolution so Israel can continue its expansion.

Our government asks how young Australians can be seduced by the violence of IS, and seeks to impose draconian punishment on anyone suspected of sympathising with them.

I ask how has our society let these young people down where they see this as a better option than their current life?

Syria How can a society that uses violence to address violence decide that their violence is ok? How can it end?

It is only by addressing inequality and poverty that we can end oppression. It is only by recognising our own failings that we can help marginalised people become productive members of our society. It is only through education and setting an example, by making respect and co-operation the norm and by offering support, that we can ever hope to stop the violence.

 

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  1. Matters Not

    customs and immigration have turned into some form of gun totin’ …

    The sad part is that ‘there’s no turning back’ if history is any guide. When I was young the local policeman was never visibly ‘armed’ when on the beat. Nowadays they are (I think) always armed and it’s not just with guns. ‘Capsicum spray’ was supposed to lower the need to draw the gun. So were ‘tasers’.

    It keeps ‘ratcheting up’. Blindly we follow the US lead.

  2. Shevill

    Sadly, we have a prime minister with a pugilistic mindset who obviously believes that an iron fist is the answer to everything. To justify his aggressive policies, he regularly promotes a campaign of fear, almost harking back to the days of “reds under our beds”. Detention centres, dropping bombs, anti terror squads, this all has a familiar ring to it from the past in another country.

  3. Kyran

    Well written and, sadly, too true. For some weeks now, I have been expecting the announcement of increased funding to the CSIRO to develop a ‘Christian Bomb’ that will only hurt our enemies. I expect Labor’s contribution to be a demand they be inscribed with the immortal words of Dave Allen, “May your God go with you”. The irony of Allen’s atheism (“I’m an atheist, thank God”) would be lost on them.
    I mention this because the notion of “my violence is better than your violence” is surpassed in stupidity only by the notion “my god is better than your god’.
    Fourteen years ago, a series of attacks on America were used and abused by vested interests to justify brutal retribution, without any due process. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, that senseless folly and the despair it creates is evident to all.
    Your last paragraph is wonderfully aspirational. For what it is worth, the younger people I meet are well aware of it. Their world is one aware of 9/11, not defined by it. Thank you, Ms Lee. Take care

  4. Rotha

    There is an odd component to violence in the news at the moment. Internationally, we have decided to support the USA and bomb part of Syria. Doesn’t bombing increase the flow of refugees?
    At home the strange violence continues. A man kills his Mother and young nephew. Could he have been on some anti psychotic legal medication? This question is never really considered as seriously as it should be.
    Ice might explain the violent craziness. If so why do so many pharmacies sell so much flu medication?
    Why have so many large cut price pharmacies sprung up recently? Why does no one inquire about the
    Effects of legal drugs? They are documented to kill thousands every year in Australia. Legal bombs and legal
    Drugs. The elephant in the room is corruption, power and money, and legality.

  5. Anomander

    Don’t forget we also have the extremist libertarians like Leyonhjelm who would dearly love to turn us into a clone of the US and their rampant gun lunacy. Even now he is pushing for the import of a lever action shotgun and has done a deal with the government to pass legislation for their support.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m not seeing a single solitary reason why anyone in Australia needs to own a lever action shotgun, nor indeed why anyone, outside primary producers, needs a gun at all.

  6. The AIM Network

    NoS, your comment was deleted. It was simply the same comment you’ve posted here over a hundred times. It was intended for no other purpose than to derail this thread.

    It takes thought and effort to write a comment, so you are wasting your time if you want to carry on like you do. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to delete a comment, so perhaps you’d find it easier write something constructive so not to be disappointed.

    I’m happy to press the delete button a thousand times if I have to. It’s up to you.

  7. Kaye Lee

    Leyonhjelm got his way to have an inquiry into the “nanny state”. The inquiry’s priority will be bicycle helmets, alcohol laws, marijuana and tobacco sales and the classification of publications, films and computer games.

    He is using his position to force some crazy stuff on us. He also wants to look into pool fences. Apparently toddlers should have the right to drown.

  8. kerri

    Many US politicians are in bed with Israel as Zionists whilst others have shares in rebuilding companies and actually profit from war. Either way the US has hitched itself to Israel by nefarious means rather than by the honesty of supporting a humane and worthwhile approach to state boundaries. Australia, of course, follows the US like a stray dog and we are being led by an idiot who thinks if he shows the populace how tough he is we will all love him for it. I despair!
    And incidentally, who amongst us has felt threatened by Visa over stayers?? Other than the politicians I mean!

  9. Andrew

    Kaye Lee, your article is well written, but, on a point of fact only the permanent members of the UN Security Council have the right of Veto these countries are USA, Russia, UK, France, Russia and China. These nations cannot be the Chair of the Council, this fall to the non permanent members. Australia has never had the veto and never will. We did vote against the proposal.

    The security council has been hamstrung by the right of veto by the permanent members since the fall of the iron curtain, it is time for the veto to go, but thats another argument that will never be ‘won has there is so much power involved with the right to say no!

  10. Kaye Lee

    Yes, veto was technically the wrong word. We were the only two members to vote against the proposal, 5 abstained, which meant they were one short of the necessary 9 votes to have it passed.

  11. RosemaryJ36

    I sent this letter to our local (Murdoch!) paper today They usually publish my rants with occasional edits.

    According to the Prime minister, Commonwealth government priorities are ‘jobs, growth and community safety’.
    As far as the first two items are concerned, many cynics would say the jobs for which they have most concern are their own and the growth of most interest is that in the wealth of themselves and the rich donors to the coalition. (Please note how neatly the word ‘coal’ nests in this title!).
    Of most concern to us, however is community safety.
    On coming to government, Abbott’s government slashed funding to domestic violence services (despite the PM making himself Minister for Women) and to community legal centres (CLCs).
    We now have women living in domestic violence situations who cannot escape to a shelter.
    Although some funding was restored to CLCs (excluding all Environment Defenders Offices), we now have NAAJA* being unable to represent their clients as their funding is woefully inadequate for their needs.
    Spending huge amounts on defence when we are not under attack while cutting funding for essential services for the community is not, Prime Minister, evidence of good government.

    * NAAJA – the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency – as indicated by its name is the CLC representing Aboriniginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

  12. Brett

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you don’t let people like this write about philosophy.

  13. jim

    “I expect Labor’s contribution to be a demand they be inscribed with the immortal words of Dave Allen, “May your God go with you””. And what made you add that little slur? KYRAN Is it because Labor, ordered home all remaining Australian troops in Vietnam,or because,Whitlam and Barnard eliminated sales tax on contraceptive pills, and announced major grants for the arts, or was it Legislation that allowed the Minister for Defence to grant exemptions from conscription. COME ON Just what are you talking about KYRAN. some fact would be a start.

  14. Matters Not

    As Gramsci pointed out:

    Everyone is a philosopher, though in his own way and unconsciously, since even in the slightest manifestation of any intellectual activity whatever, in ‘language’, there is contained a specific conception of the world, one then moves on to the second level, which is that of awareness and criticism.

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/harman/2007/xx/prisnbooks.htm

  15. mars08

    Here’s the thoroughly sidesplitting thing about comparing OUR good, wholesome, peaceful, respectful violence to the nasty, evil violence of Middle East despots and Islamic terrorists…. Australia is a democracy.

    When our armed forces drop high explosives of foreign cities, when they ransack some innocent persons house, when the chop the hands of still-warm corpses… those men and women are doing it with the informed consent of the Australian people. They are doing it on the orders of OUR goverment…. in OUR name!

    Can Bashar al-Assad claim to represent all the people of his country? Did the citizens of the Syrian nation give him the authority to use force as he does?

  16. Kyran

    My bad, jim. In my opinion, Labor has been in lock step with the conservatives on ‘Defence’ since Beazley helped form the choir with Howard. Slurring Dave Allen, or his legacy, is not in my wheelhouse. I believe you are correct when you say Whitlam dispensed with conscription. Slurring Whitlam, or his legacy, is also not in my wheelhouse.These were people of moral fibre and conviction. I trust you don’t require reminding about RU 486 in your reference to contraception. Yeh, it was rabid as minister for health. The thrust of the article is, in my opinion, violence begets violence. Read the last paragraph again. It can be better. Take care

  17. David Bruce

    Keeping the conflicts going sells more military hardware and software. Most of the software is now supplied by companies controlled by Israelis. The other reason is that politicians are bribed, blackmailed, beaten up, or bumped off if they don’t follow orders, and you know who from! Parliament in a democracy will vote on when to use the military option. Has captain Chaos done it again, another captain’s choice?

  18. Kaye Lee

    “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you don’t let people like this write about philosophy.”

    Perhaps you can share your thoughts about the philosophy of violence with us Brett. It would be more informative than just sneering…maybe.

  19. mmc1949

    Kerri …. re visa over-stayers.
    My problem with them is hypocrisy. Asylum seekers are vilified and, amongst other things, told they are illegal, told they should be getting in a queue to come here. But for asylum seekers, there is no such thing as a queue.
    On the other hand, if you can get a visa, you’re in a country where you can (get in a queue and) apply to immigrate.
    The visa over-stayers are the queue jumpers. They are the cheats. They are the illegals.
    I for one would be quite happy to see them sent packing (back to where they came from!) and instead allow more asylum seekers into the country in their place. Starting with those we are currently torturing beyond our shores.
    But no, when they fall victim to the unscrupulous (landlords, employers, et al) because their illegal status, their cheating actions, have made them easy prey, we’re supposed to feel sorry for them and regularise their illegal status.
    Well, I’m not buying it. Not until Manus and Nauru are closed and the inmates brought here and rehabilitated, not as we rehabilitate criminals but as we rehabilitate the sick and injured.

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