The Violence

It seems that the world has yet again resigned itself to the haunting specter of violence. After the tremendous optimism with which ended the 20th century, humanity has fallen back on old habits. Always using the excuse of security, nationalism (not to be confused with patriotism) and even pro-poor grandiloquence, the governments of the world have again found the answer in more violence.

I am somewhat surprised by the return of the bloodshed; yet I often wonder if it ever really left. Watching the brutality meted out by the pro-government thugs, aptly named ‘collectives’ in revolutionary Venezuela; or by groups of military and para-military against groups of extremists in Syria; or by Cuban storm troopers against old women dressed all in white, I am struck by the renewed vigor of world power at the hands of those who only see in groups and think in coercion. Weren’t we done with this? Haven’t we learned? It seems to me that the only thing groups of people can agree on is brutalizing other groups. They divide themselves up by ethnicity, or by color, or by religion and then fall upon each other – the violence deemed necessary for the larger collective cause.

What worries me maybe even more is the silent violence. The violence that does not announce itself in bright red gashes or clouds of noxious smoke. The war waged against the human spirit. And this is the creeping violence that we seem to prefer, even to choose, in an age of government. We see the mayhem in the world around us and we submit. The specter of the unknown is reason enough; or so we are told. “What if they come back? Is it safe? Could today be the day?” Claiming superiority, the authority then tells us what we can and cannot do. The endless rules placed upon our citizenship. The daily humiliations to our privacy, to our identity, to our beliefs. To be told what we cannot think; much less say. An uncivilized civilization supervised by our betters; always at the service of another, whoever that may be…

These are societies where the words equality, distribution, and tolerance are used cynically to disguise privilege, theft and bigotry. Societies not run by the men of the mind – the titans who built our world with sweat and energy and ingenuity – but instead societies carefully balanced by planners and policed by the bureaucrats, who regulate the power of the creative man, siphoning it off to fill voids real or imagined; always using the suave threats of a more sophisticated violence.

The outlier in this new world, a world he didn’t ask for and doesn’t want, is the man who stands alone as he rejects the violence; wherever it comes from. To him is meted out the worst of the whipping. He is called naïve, utopian, foolish and sometimes just an idiot. Always, he is called dangerous. Perhaps he is; for he alone dares to look at a system that is sustained only by the violence and declare it impracticable.

And never is he called meek; not ever.

Never is it explained or accepted that he rejects violence not because he is weak; but because he is strong. Not because he would live in a lawless world; but because real laws require no violence. The spontaneous order that governs these – like gravity – do not need policing, for they are inevitable. A man who knows that to live at the expense of others – even to control them – is not worth the hastle. This man is cast aside.

And so the violence goes on. In a bait and switch, the man with the answers is labeled an idiot; the man of the mind is labeled an imbecile; the man of character is labeled a libertine – in order that those with none of these may rule by using always the violence.

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist, author of “The Lieutenant of San Porfirio” and its Spanish version “El Teniente de San Porfirio: Cronica de una Revolucion Bolivariana

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Violence

  1. Ian Mathie says:

    Sadly violence is a part of the human condition which those less equipped to contribute positively resort to when frustration thwarts their ambitions. It has always been so and will probably always be so. There are too many examples throughout history to demonstrate this and even today, when people have better educational opportunities than ever before, and many mechanisms for diplomatic resolution exist, it persists. We should not be surprised that when the words and reason run out, the only option left is violence.


  2. Joel Hirst says:

    Yup, very sad indeed but we can always fight the violence – first by saying out loud we know what they are doing and we will no quietly without a fight.


  3. Ian Mathie says:

    Nobody said anything about going quietly! Undoubtedly violence should be resisted by all non violent means possible. The sad fact is that occasionally, in the face of extremists, the only thing that will stop the violence is more violence. Ansar Dine, who’ve been active where you are now in Mali are a case in point. No non-violent means would ever have stopped them because the do not subscribe to normal human values. Their ‘moral’ foundation is also based on falsehood, and thereby has no genuine strength. thus they feel inadequate unless dealing in the only comodity they understand – violence. The same is probably true in Venezuela where the ruling gang demonstrate similar characteristics and fanaticism.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s