Is Violence the Answer?

To all of The Walking Dead fans out there, I’m sorry for the triggering picture. I know, it still hurts me too.

Among the many philosophies I have learned about in the course of my Humanities Core class, learning about satyagraha through Gandhi has been most interesting.

According to Gandhi in Hind Swaraj, “satyagraha” can be translated to Indian-modified civil disobedience. Civil disobedience and more generally pacifism are most notably the ultimate forms of resistance believed by Gandhi. He says that the force of your soul compared to brute force is far more powerful and effective and that “fear’s effect lasts long after what causes the fear to go away” (Gandhi 77). This is to say that by acts of civil disobedience and “satyagraha,” the people of India could rebel against British colonizers and eventually lead to the taking back of their empire. Though I for one definitely prefer nonviolence to violence, I have to relate it to the reality of my world today and think about the ethics of this kind of technique.

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The Hate Rhetoric

The first amendment in the constitution of the United States does not protect against hate speech. “Fighting words,” however, are viewed by the Supreme Court to “incite an immediate breach of peace” which allows the law to step in from there (Hudson Jr.). The difference is that these fighting words are said with the intention to initiate violence. Hate speech can be expressed without the intentions of inciting physical injury.

Though it is scary to think that our government may not be able to protect us against hateful speech in a time when our president is tracked by many different online news websites on how many people he has offended/disrespected to date, we must use our own rights to free speech to combat the negativity thrown at us.

But how does having such a hateful rhetoric manage to get you to one of the highest positions of power in our country? Let’s take a look.

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Kant’s Worst Nightmare

George Orwell’s dystopian society in 1984 is the ultimate portrayal of what Immanuel Kant discusses is a human fault in his essay, What Is Enlightenment?

If Kant were to read Orwell’s work, he would be fearful of the day the society of 1984 came to life. But without a doubt, he would agree with many of the points Orwell makes about the individual right to think for yourself.

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