Violence And Nonviolence

Violence is a problem that we as humans, deal with everyday. Today, it seems
that we deal with it in just about every aspect of our lives. From childrens
cartoons to the nightly news, we are witnesses to its power and harm. A highly
debated argument for the causes of violence are surrounding our homes as well as
our government. No matter the causes of violence or for that fact aggressors, we
have a personal responsibility must be taken for violent actions. We are given
the choice to decide how we each want to live our lives; but before we decide,
we must look at the ethical issues that surround our choices. Most humans strive
to live a good, pure life. Violence is one of the few instances that destroys
that good life. It is something that we work towards eliminating. It is defined
as an act taken against another being with the intent to do harm. We often
consider violence in terms of the physical aggressor, yet violence can surface
in a variety of ways even including self-defense. Violence is a result of
conflicting interests or unresolvable differences. In most instances, both
parties to he conflict feel that they are right and that their actions are
justified. However, there are other cases in which their is a clear aggressor
and victim. Nevertheless, violence is a very complicated and difficult issue. By
its very nature, violence is an act against life. Life, is sacred. It is
cherished, not out of purpose of use, not instrumental, but for the good,
intrinsic value of its very being. Violence is instrumental. It is a means to an
end. There is no intrinsical goodness in violence. Violent acts are not good for
the sake of violence itself. A single question that arises out of the argument
of violence and nonviolence, Is violence ever justifiable or acceptable. The two
main types of arguments that arise are the self-defense paradigm and pacifism.

The self-defense paradigm accepts violence as a means to protect ones life,
or the life of others. This argument interprets life as being intrinsically good
and for instrumental purposes, but accepts lethal results as an unintended
consequence of defense. Pacifism argues that violence is never acceptable.

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Because violence is an instrumental act, it undermines and disrespects human
life as a cherished entity. Upon first evaluation of these arguments, I
preferred the self-defense paradigm. I believe I am more of a realist. I thought
that violence was inevitable. No matter the strategy, violence is going to be
the end result. However, by the end of the semester, I have discovered
something. The whole purpose of pacifism is to change the fact that violence is
inevitable. It is a movement that teaches humans how to deal with the situations
that inevitably end in violence. It is a way to defend life from aggressive
threats. The pacifist may never risk killing his opponent, regardless of the
consequences. At all times, they must be respectful and compassionate of life. I
believe that I have changed my view because I have a greater understanding of
pacifism. At first, I thought that it was the easy way out. It was the way to
take to avoid a situation; no matter the situation, never be violent. I
thought of issues such as wars or if someone was trying to kill you or your
family. How could someone not do anything? It was a weak persons answer to
the argument. Then, out of the blue, it struck me. We are always talking about
bettering the world, getting rid of violence. Well, we are imitative
creatures. We do what we see. How are the younger generation of people going to
be nonviolent when all they see is violence. If, we dont start demonstrating
nonviolent, peaceful acts, what are they going to imitate? We are presenting
self-defense as an excuse. It is justifiable but only if you dont intend to
kill the other person. This can be a very risky situation. When defending
yourself or someone else, you are allowed violence as long as you didnt mean
to kill the aggressor? What happens when you cant decipher the aggressor?
Nothing should be taken away from the self-defense philosophy. It is
understandable and ethical. It would be hard not to defend yourself from an
attacker, or to help a loved one. But, it just seems to me that in todays
world, we must reevaluate our morals. Self-defense takes the idea that life is
intrinsically good and should never be violated. It adds that life should never
be violated but in certain cases. It seems like a double standard. Pacifism is a
movement to take a stand against violence. It is giving violent situations a
chance of reversal. However, the choice of pacifism is a lifelong commitment.

One can not be a part time pacifist or a selective supporter of just wars. That
is, one can not condemn violence, but when violent becomes a personal situation,
find an excuse. The same in just wars. All wars must be unjust, not just some.

Pacifism is a strong moral stand. It is dedication to preserving human life, no
matter the situation. A pacifist would have to take a stand which would not
allow him to violently defended himself or others in any situation. Pacifism is
described as the higher calling because it witnesses the grandness and
beauty of being alive. Though the self-defense paradigm is a wonderful
arguments, I think it contains a few discrepancies. There should be no excuse
for harming another human being. Just because someone else started it, doesnt
make it right or O.K.


Philosophy