Dr. Medulla wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2020, 1:11pm
Silent Majority wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2020, 12:34pm
I certainly don't expect to talk you round from an intellectual and principled choice on this, so I'm talking out loud to think through my own position at this point.
Don't worry—I'm not seeking to proselytize and I don't look down on your position. Yours has the advantage of historical reality to justify itself. But it is a vitally important question, I think, because if you do subscribe to the legitimacy of violence to resolve political conflict, where do you draw the line.
I would draw the line after we achieve the good things and before we do the bad things. This reads glib, I know, but it is definitely not. With a humanist, self-critical approach, and one in consultation with the oppressed, it's truly not difficult to carve a path through a moral jungle.
No, Brown was a lunatic. He was full of righteous fury and glee. He was the spiritual ancestor of every pro-life radical who murdered an abortion provider.
It's been a long while since I've read Midnight Rising, the only account of Brown's life I've consumed, so my details are muddy, so I'm happy to cede my bleary, Brown-admiring memories to the opinion of one who has done more historiographical work than I ever will.
I just believe that if we subscribe to violence—especially the terrorizing violence of Brown—ensures a legitimacy of violence. There are other ways to achieve change. I'm not naive enough to think that violence can be eradicated, but it's a depressing admission against our species to think that it's a necessary, even preferred way of promoting radical social change.
It's the least perfect tool, but it's one with a proven track record. Sherman's March was awful, a horrific thing to do, but it carried a weight of conclusion to 300 years of terror against a people deprived of power.... but I know you know this and I understand your objections, so I'm happy to let this one sit here if you are.