Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Liberals and "Violence"

Quick:  Do you think the alleged killing of an Australian jogger by three African American teenagers in Oklahoma is "senseless violence?"  Or "gun violence?"  Or "racist violence?"

Actually, you probably don't know because the liberal media has been a bit slow to report and comment on the black-on-white Oklahoma killings.

We all know what is going on here.  On the assumption that the only justifiable use of force is the understandable rage of the oppressed, liberals regard all acts of force by others as "violence" and a form of disease.

I want to make my peaceful protest against that whole notion.

The resort to force is seldom "senseless violence" but more usually a rational and human act.

Let's start with the three teenagers accused of murdering the Australian college student.  It's perfectly normal for three young men banded together into a proto-gang to look for someone to kill.  That's what young men did back in the hunter-gatherer days.  It even goes back before that.  Three against one is the preferred odds for chimpanzees patrolling the borders of their territory.  The whole point of fathers and the socialization of males is to sublimate this instinctive urge to kill into more socially approved channels.  Fathers are usually absent in the African American community.  So you'd expect a lot of unsocialized males to be out on the streets "looking for trouble."

What about Egypt?  Here we have reports of "violence" in the streets of Cairo.  Well, yes.  There's a civil war going on, and people resort to "violence" when they are fighting a civil war.  From the western point of view Egypt is a complete mess, unable to grow enough food to feed its millions and with an economy that cannot produce goods and services to pay for food imports.  What else would you expect in such a situation except bloody war and killing?

What about the whole Middle East?  The western policy has been to apply pressure on the region to reduce violence and advance a "peace process." But is that sensible?  Is not the current utter failure not just a personal failure of Barack Obama but the failure of the entire West to understand the situation of the Middle East culture?

The facts are that human death by violence is on the decrease.   That's what Steven Pinker writes in The Better Angels of Our Nature.  Hunter-gathers had 500 deaths per 100,000 per year.  Agriculturalists about 50 deaths per 100,000 per year.  We industrials have about 5 deaths per 100,000 per year.

Why is that?  It is because every male in a small hunter-gatherer band is involved in the defense of the borders.  But in the larger agricultural political unit there's an army to do that.

But in the industrial age, the defense of our food-producing land from the marauding foreigners is no longer the big issue.  Wealth is no longer denominated in acres but between the ears of productive entrepreneurs and workers.  It really doesn't make any sense for today's Greeks to go marauding to Troy.  A modern Hector would not worry about his wife Andromache being sold into slavery if the Trojans lost the war.  No, the best thing after a big war is to do what the Americans did after World War II: put the Germans and Japanese back to work to rebuild their industrial economies, and place a bet that they wouldn't be interested in war.

But this does not apply to the Middle East, which is pre-industrial.  In fact, with its oil, the region is still agricultural: its wealth is sitting there, not on the ground but under the ground.  Its wealth is not denominated in numbers of productive citizens, because its citizens are not productive enough to compete in the world market of goods and services.  So it makes sense that Middle East potentates think like Homeric warriors and medieval kings and princes.

Unfortunately the liberal notion of "violence" prevents us from seeing all this.  We are scandalized by the wars; they prompt us into promoting "peace processes" to end the violence where there is no interest in peace, and where wars are the natural and practical strategy of any self-respecting ruler.

Domestically the problem is the same.  For minority gangs in the big cities, gang wars and killing are the most logical and sensible things in the world.  If we want the "violence" to stop then we have to change the economic incentives and end the fatherless welfare culture.

We could do that.  But it's pretty clear that liberals prefer the current status quo and the political power that comes with it.  Whatever the outcome in "senseless violence."

But conservatives are different.  And we can start by ridiculing the senseless liberal "violence" discourse.

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