I want both the Hindus and Mussalmans to cultivate the cool courage to die without killing. But if one has not that courage, I want him to cultivate the art of killing and being killed rather than, in a cowardly manner, flee from danger. For the latter, in spite of his flight, does commit mental himsa. He flees because he has not the courage to be killed in the act of killing.
My method of nonviolence can never lead toloss of strength, but it alone will make it possible, if the nation wills it, to offer disciplined and concerted violence in time of danger.
My creed of nonviolence is an extremely active force. It has no room for cowardice or even weakness. There is hope for a violent man to be some day non-violent, but there is none for a coward. I have, therefore, said more than once….that, if we do not know how to defend ourselves, our women and our places of worship by the force of suffering, i.e., nonviolence, we must, if we are men, be at least able to defend all these by fighting.
No matter how weak a person is in body, if it is a shame to flee, he will stand his ground and die at his post. This would be nonviolence and bravery. No matter how weak he is, he will use what strength he has in inflicting injury on his opponent, and die in the attempt. This is bravery, but not nonviolence. If, when his duty is to face danger, he flees, it is cowardice. In the first case, the man will have love or charity in him. In the second and third cases, there would be a dislike or distrust and fear.
My nonviolence does admit of people, who cannot or will not be nonviolent, holding and making effective use of arms. Let me repeat for the thousandth time that nonviolence is of the strongest, not of the weak.
To run away from danger, instead of facing it, is to deny one’s faith in man and God, even one’s own self. It were better for one to drown oneself than live to declare such bankruptcy of faith.
Group defense when threatened is a trait that can be seen in many different species of social animals, humans included. Humans are different however in our capacity to use internalized stories (edit from: logic and reason) to overcome our instinctual or learned behaviors.
If we take a look at any number of the active conflicts going on in the world right now, from Palestine to the US Mexican border, I see massive differences in power between the two struggling sides.
US soldiers being deployed to meet refugees. Israeli snipers firing upon rock throwing Palestinians. Violence by the overpowered group is used as justification for the escalations.
In my opinion, if your goal is peace and you are the more powerful side, then the only way to achieve it is through non-violence by showing mercy. Expecting an entire group of people to either submit or adopt Gandhi’s style of non-violence is to ignore human nature.
Under extreme stress, the best of us will try to help others within their group. The definition of “their group” can vary a lot from person to person however, based upon their own personal experiences in life.
For some it may be a few key friends. Their family. Their local community. Their country. Their race. Their religion. Humankind. Mother Earth.
When two such groups come into conflict for resources, you can expect violence. The type of violence will vary, but some type of violence will occur. As long as the more powerful side continues or escalates, the violence will continue.
“The real political task in a society such as ours is to criticize the workings of institutions that appear to be both neutral and independent, to criticize and attack them in such a manner that the political violence that has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them.”
― Michel Foucault, The Chomsky-Foucault Debate: On Human Nature
The world I see today is one that I’ve been fearing since the push for austerity in the face of the worldwide financial crisis. A large group of people under extreme financial stress will do what they believe they need to in order to protect “their group”.
After World War 1, the German people lived with enough poverty that the German people were under extreme stress.
Hitler used this fact to focus the German people on scapegoats including Jews, Romanies, Communists, among many others. Today I primarily see it being used by Authoritarians to stoke fear of Muslims and immigrants. These are groups which are easy to view as “Them”, especially as they flee an area with a long history of violence from outsiders.
“ 1. CLASSIFICATION: All cultures have categories to distinguish people into “us and them” by ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality: German and Jew, Hutu and Tutsi. Bipolar societies that lack mixed categories, such as Rwanda and Burundi, are the most likely to have genocide. The main preventive measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic institutions that transcend ethnic or racial divisions, that actively promote tolerance and understanding, and that promote classifications that transcend the divisions. The Catholic church could have played this role in Rwanda, had it not been riven by the same ethnic cleavages as Rwandan society. Promotion of a common language in countries like Tanzania has also promoted transcendent national identity. This search for common ground is vital to early prevention of genocide.”
The Ten Stages of Genocide by Dr. Gregory Stanton
For the past few years, I’ve been trying to view what’s happening in the world today from as many perspectives as possible. I’ve been talking to people online about the Israel/Palestine conflicts, what they see in Trump, why they fear immigrants, and really any other topic where I disagree strongly with their views.
What I’ve seen is a lot of pain, a lot of misplaced blame, and at the core is unrestrained greed.
‘In the mid-70’s, we traded in our post-World War II social contract for a new one, where “greed is good.” In the new moral narrative I can succeed at your expense. I will take a bigger piece of a smaller pie. Our new heroes are billionaires, hedge fund managers, and CEO’s.’
Stan Sorscher Economic Opportunity Institute
Since then workers have been keeping a smaller and smaller piece of the profits of business. This manifests in various ways, from cutting of benefits, lowering hours, layoffs. Corporate raiders stealing pension funds. Mortgage brokers signing people up for bad loans. Real estate investors buying up foreclosed homes after greed caused the market to tank.
As time goes on, quality of life of those with money improves while the quality of life of those without money gets worse. This gets justified many different ways. We’re not going to prop up a dead industry. Lower prices for goods and services. They should work harder. Ignoring the fact that our system depends on the subjugation of others, and that justice for some is not justice.
This isn’t the first time the world has experienced this type of struggle. The French Revolution. The Bolshevik Revolution. Those were cases of blame being placed in the right place. If you can, as Hitler did, shift the blame onto those “others” nibbling at your small portion of the pie, you can leverage them to achieve terrible things.
Trump has done this quite successfully.
What most of us don’t acknowledge about Trump is that he has made life better for his supporters. His Steel Tarriffs have improved the American Steel Industry.
Back in early 2016 CNN reported on issues in the steel industry caused by overcapacity in the world, primarily from China.
My understanding of Trump’s plan though is to use Tariffs to get better trade deals. This may result in the resurgence in our industry followed by a big crash if the market becomes saturated again by another change in policy.
I find that many of his plans have this sort of issue. The solutions are only skin deep, and will result in more problems further down the line.
The individual mandate was a big financial burden on areas with high poverty. He removed that, and made their lives better. It also made coverage for pre-existing conditions at the current price point impossible. ACA depended on spreading the cost across more people in order to be able to afford to cover those with expensive conditions.
His tax cuts helped businesses.
For areas with small businesses, this has been a godsend to the local economy. If places where local industry is owned by the greedy, it has resulted in layoffs and stock buybacks to funnel the money to shareholders.
Regardless of how much he wants to help, he is the greedy, and his policies help the greedy far more than the American people.
He is incapable of being the solution. He is disinterested in what is really going on. He just wants people to like him.