Philosophy Journal Entree Three. Force and its justification.

Posted: October 5, 2010 in Philosophical thinking.

Thrasymachus claimed that “Might Makes Right.” While most civilized people decry such a position, historically we have resorted to the use of might in solving problems probably more frequently than we have any other one solution. When this is done, it is usually followed immediately by a complex and earnest moral justification (not just a rationalization). For instance, the Declaration of Independence began, “When, in the course of human events…” And there followed several generalizations that justified actions which the rest of the world might well have labeled, “treason.”  WHEN IN YOUR MORAL PHILOSOPHY, DO YOU BELIEVE THAT IT IS MORALLY RIGHT TO USE (OR THREATEN TO USE) POWER OR FORCE TO ACHIEVE PERSONAL OR NATIONAL ENDS?

           (ANSWER) I think this comes down to each person’s view of what is right inside a situation and what is wrong. Two people could experience the same scenario and react differently according to their own beliefs and neither of them necessarily be wrong. As for me? I think that using violence to get what one wants is ultimately selfish. If you are using, or are threatening to use violence as a means to an end, it implies that the other people involved are unwilling to compromise or give in on their behalf which is completely inside their rights to do so. You would be encroaching on their boundaries to fulfill your own desires and therefore putting yourself above them. This is selfish. We have been taught to share, not to hit, or fight to get what we want since we were children. This is because, at least in our society, it is considered rude or unacceptable to treat others ill to receive one’s own way. I think that the reason for violence in a selfish way is usually caused because the perpetrator is impatient, does not want to compromise, or simply is jealous of what he or she does not have that another does. It’s elementary, but one can even put it into the situations of dictators and tyrants who abused their violent power to the extreme. They wanted power, and the reason they used so much violence to get their way is because others were sapping the power that they wanted. And the easiest way to get that power was to threaten pain, and pressure upon the people who were afflicting their reign.

            There are times when violence is needed. War, and self-defense are just a couple of the examples that first come to my mind. If someone is attacking you, would you use violence to defend yourself and “get your own way” by not letting them continue? If one country attacks another out of spite, would that other country use no violence to defend itself against the onslaught? Is self-defense considered a form of violence? How far does it go?

            Once again, I think that the answer to all these questions fall into the hands of the doer and their conscience. Is this the right time to use violence to get my way? Or should I be patient, sharing, or humble? Is this the right time to be humble when I should be forceful? Completely depends on the circumstance in my opinion.

  1. Joshua says:

    Remember, to everything there is a season. That’s even in the Bible; there is a time for war, and a time for peace.

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