Violence And Nonviolence Essay Research Paper Violence

Violence And Nonviolence Essay, Research Paper

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 children?s 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


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 one?s 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. Because

violence is an instrumental act, it undermines and disrespects human life as a cherished


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 person?s 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 don?t 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 don?t

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 didn?t mean to kill the

aggressor? What happens when you can?t 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 today?s 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, doesn?t make it right or O.K.


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