The Philosophical Problem of Violence

We must also reiterate the intent and purpose of international law as well as the intent and purpose behind institutions or legal mechanisms such as the ‘International Criminal Court’ (ICC) and so forth, namely, the banishment or prohibition of wars based on conquest and hegemony such as the ones we have witnessed in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, and elsewhere. Torture, for instance, is banished and prohibited by virtue of human rights conventions emanating from international law. Yet, torture is a blemish on our record as Americans. One must ask, how can a nation of so-called civilization and laws resort to something as barbaric and uncivilized as torture and waterboarding and so forth, despite the advent of human rights and legal conventions which outright banish and prohibit practices such as torture and waterboarding as well as the broader practice of global conquest and hegemony which is the impetus or source of torture and waterboarding? 

Moreover, much of the cruelty and violence we see today in many places is a byproduct or reaction to the initial cruelty and violence which emanated from unjustified wars of conquest and hegemony. Hence, in order to address our own cruelty and violence, we must address the cruelty and violence of the old white men who preceded us. As Augusto Del Noce wrote: “From the viewpoint of revolutionary violence, what matters is that even the memory of the old man must vanish; there must be change without conversion; the past must be erased, and thus even repentance.” 

Hence, no more John Bolton on television if we are to have a better future and to alleviate ourselves of the cruelty and violence of this day and age, even though certain television and media personalities and media houses still wield the impudence and audacity to bring him on television and onto the mainstream media. In short, our distinction between good and evil, even though both sides are resorting to some sort of cruelty and violence in a postmodern age, is “identified with the distinction between two forms of violence, a liberating form and a conservative or reactionary form – or repressive form, as it is often called today.” 

Thus, our cruelty and our violence are essentially aimed at liberating ourselves from the conservative and repressive cruelty and violence of John Bolton and Dick Cheney and others which has led to the crises and dilemmas we face as an international society today. Such a ‘Cold War’ between America and Russia in this day and age can never be justified. Moreover, those who orchestrate the wars from the top are not orchestrating these wars based on anything legitimate. As Immanuel Kant wrote: “The head of state is not a fellow citizen but owner of the state, who loses none of his banquets, hunting parties, pleasure castles, festivities, etc. Hence, he will resolve upon war as a kind of amusement on very insignificant grounds and will leave the justification to his diplomats, who are always ready to lend it an air of propriety.”

Conservative cruelty and violence on the part of the old white man à la Vladimir Putin, Dick Cheney, John Bolton and their subordinates, therefore, is a kind of amusement and pastime which has no justification whatsoever and is in fact banished and prohibited by international law. Who will have the courage to bring people together in order to confront them and to constrain them so that the basic aim of postmodern war and violence can be fulfilled so that in turn the wars and the violence can end, however, is another issue which needs to be addressed immediately. 

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