On Violence and Force

King Arthur, it is said, lived in a time when might made right. He created a new order, one where the little guy was watched out for by the strong sword arm of his beneficent monarch. Whether or not it happened that way, the tales demonstrate an appropriate use of force.

I’m not fond of using force, nor am I of violence and aggression. Quickly-flaring tempers and enraged posturing say to me that you have not done much to earn your status on the evolutionary ladder. We have an amazing combination of opposable thumbs, a versatile oral cavity, and brains large enough to use both well. Why stoop to using force to get what we want? I can find no better reason to abandon respect for a person than to see them posturing, screaming, or striking to solve their problems. I don’t think it’s what the gods intended for us, and I think it’s a shame when someone ignores the amazing gifts we are given to behave like any other animal.

It’s not unreasonable to argue that force is the way of nature, and that Pagans worship nature, so we should emulate it, rather than being incense-burning love monkeys. What better way to honor the Old Ways than to honor the really old ways? Fine, do that if you wish; I still think it’s a copout that ignores the intelligence and sophistication that those selfsame forces of nature bequeathed you with.

I’m not someone who is so clouded by pot smoke and patchouli that I believe that no man will ever raise a hand in violence. I’m of the belief that violence is the first refuge of the incompetent, and the rest of us will use force when it is necessary. However, when that time comes that force is necessary, it should be used decisively, to put an end to the matter as quickly and definitively as possible.

The United States of America has carefully brought itself to a fascinating conundrum through its policies about the use of force. We are regarded as the brutish overlords that will force our wills upon any that dare disagree with us, smashing them back into the Stone Age and making them over in our image. And yet, when push comes to shove, we are extremely reluctant to ever use decisive force. More than half the world regards us as a looming threat, but we continue to cultivate despots and zealots as enemies precisely because we do not react forcefully, thus sending a simultaneous, contradictory message that we lack the nerve.

There are many, many places that I do not believe my country has any business exercising force. I do not draw a parallel between now and the early days of World War II. Sixty years ago several countries were hoping to divide the world as their subjects. Today several fanatic religious groups feel that the world will not be a good place as long as this country continues to exist. Then, it did not matter who stood in their way. Now, it is only our perception as a threat that creates the enemy.

If we were to commit to an energy policy that was free of oil, the money that funded these groups would vanish and they would blow away like the sand upon which they now live. If we were to withdraw our forces entirely from the Middle East and allow the Semites (which include both Hebrew and Arab) to pursue their bloodthirsty need for vengeance, and commit horror after horror upon each other, ranging from blowing up busloads of innocent children to bulldozing the homes of families that are only trying to survive, our country would no longer be perceived as a threat, and the violence level of that region would drop considerably. Our presence in the Middle East is the primary cause of violence in the Middle East. It is not in our best interests to maintain any presence in that region. It would honor the Earth to cease sucking her blood, and it would be more natural to allow the humans of the region conclude their ancient fight for territory unmolested.

I do not believe we will, as a nation, abandon oil; nor shall we withdraw support for Israel. In that case, it is time that we finish what we have started. We have the power to end violence by unleashing so much of it that no one will be left standing that can hold a gun. Let all those that threaten us fall so that the timeless winds of the desert will scour their bones, and their names will be forgotten as swiftly as the dunes do shift. This would honor the gods of war, the ancient ways of glory in battle that show the Universe who holds the true power. The world would tremble before our might, and for generations none would threaten us, for we would again remind our fellow, short-sighted humans that we are capable of eradicating our enemies.

Both paths hold peril. But one must be chosen. To walk the middle path is to walk into the twilight that heralds extinction.

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