Does violence solve anything?

I always though violence never solved anything. That it would only lead to more problems and that the world should exist in peace. Then I came across these two quotes:

Anyone who clings to the historically untrue - and thoroughly immoral - doctrine ‘that violence never settles anything’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedom. ~ R. Heinlein

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” - John Stuart Mill

How much truth is there in these quotes? They sound dead on point. A good debate should put the issue in perspective. What do you guys think?

Violence satisfies people appetite for violence. They like that.

GOP foreign policy in a nutshell.

This is a vacuous philosophical question.

Technically violence doesn’t solve anything, men solve things between one another, violence is just sometimes used in that task.

Ultimately it is a moot point. As long as there are people in the world who refuse to give up violence, everyone must use violence to solve problems or they will become sheep to the slaughter.

So what was Clinton’s policy where he bombed/invaded random third world countries periodically then backed out or let the problem become a snafu?

Problems solved by violence:

  1. Taxation without representation.

  2. Slavery.

  3. Nazism.

Violence should be a last result, and it very often doesn’t lead to the results its appliers were hoping for, but it’s often quite effective.

No easy answer. In practical terms, violence can sometimes solve problems, but it can also create more problems later on. Wheel of karma, you know? Ripples in a pond? The Allies beat Germany in WWI but the Germans felt really bitter and resentful and insisted on a rematch and the second war was even worse. On the other hand, at the end of WWII, both Germany and Japan were beaten so thoroughly that they were transformed into models of pacifism.

I’m one of the rare dopers without access to the alternative universe where that occurred.

But I’m sure plenty of the rest will be pleased to report on what went on there.

I think most of us would agree that peace is preferrable to violence. I know I don’t generally have any desire to inflict bodily harm upon other human beings and even less of a desire to have bodily harm inflicted upon my own person. That being said, violence certainly has been shown to solve problems.

Organized violence is just another tool used to get what you want. It isn’t always the best tool, it isn’t usually the preferrable tool, but sometimes it’s the only tool that works. Germany and Japan aren’t much of a threat these days. That little bastard in 1st grade stopped picking on me once I threw him down a hill. Those people who tried to mug me left me alone after a minute or two of smacking them around. So yes, violence certainly can solve problems though I wouldn’t say it solves them all.


Random bombings of Iraq.

Involvement in Somalia with absolutely no progress made.

Involvement in Serbia/Kosovo in a situation where we still don’t know which side was clearly the agressor. A situation with a resolution that did nothing to address virtually any of the problems in the Balkans.

I guess you are one of the rare dopers that moved out of the universe I inhabit from the period 1993-2000, I wonder where you were during that time?

Don’t forget bombing an aspirin factory and a Chinese Embassy

Those weren’t policy matters but were rather personnel level mess ups that were part of policy SNAFUs.

To elaborate: violence is the current US administration’s strongest suit. It is their best chance of solving the problem of how to get elected. A slim chance true, but their best one.

Ancient reptiles; crocodiles, monitors and other proto-mammalian life including turtles, serpents, the GOP constituency and legless lizards have a stress trigger in the cortex that compels the fight or flight reflex.

Frustrate that reflex and the animal may stress and die. If the animal usually votes for you then this is not good news.

So we weren’t going to sit back and just take those terrorist attacks. We went to Iraq, or Iran* whichever, and now feel a lot better. Having dealt with the threat of Iraqi nukes or Baghdad Al-Quaida. Or something.

A lot better.

*or maybe Luxembourg? Doesn’t matter.


Way to add something meaningful to the thread instead of taking cheap pot shots. :rolleyes:

And that (rather sadly) is that. :frowning:

“Ultimately it is a moot point.” – Do you really think so?

Of course your position must be based on the premise that evil does not exist in the world. When/if that happens you will be right.

As long as there are people (Saddam, Hitler, Stalin, etc. ad infinitum) who insist/are addited to committing evil acts it is a neccessity for right thinking people to expend their blood that apeasers like Neville Chamberlin and others like you can survive.

Would you stand idly/meekly on the side while a mad man raped and killed your wife and/or children OR use any means available to protect them?

Martin Hyde

My apologies, missed your last sentence. :smack:

Hi all,
I live in Serbia and I was bombed in the spring/summer of '99 so I thought I should make a point here…

First of all - I don’t hate or dislike the US or it’s citizens of course nor does much of my people…

If you look at the various conflicts over the world you can see that violence is never a good solution.

Solution to all world conflicts is ECONOMIC BOOST or investments in the regions with problems - first of all you invest in small comunities to make people start trading with each other and then it will expand and at the end you’ll have people (former enemies) living with each other almost like nothing ever happened…

The EU and it’s members have figured it out and that’s why the EU is expanding and accepting poorer eastern-european countries but first they make those countries’ economy and legal systems compliant and ready for global market.

I personally don’t see why would people kill each other for stupid reasons - especcialy since I live here on Balkans/ Europe and I saw multiple wars and heard dreadfull stories about it and in the end we all ended up much poorer then in 1990 when it all began and a lot of people got killed/injured in order for us to live in separate countries… and in the end we’ll all become members of EU one day or another so it turnes up we killed each other for no reason…

But the most important issue here is the LAW - it’s very funny when you hear some US politicians saying thet they won’t allow no international tribunal to judge ther soldiers for war crimes and at the same time you hear them saying that China or some other country is violating human rights…

When NATO (read: USA) bombed Serbia in the summer of '99 they broke a few international laws even NATO policy which states that NATO should react ONLY if a member of NATO is in danger… no NATO members were in danger then…

So the solution to ALL world problems is placing the most powerfull player in the world (the USA) under some control (of course the USA must willingly accept such supervision) - then all others will follow because the most powerfull will make them.

Then all others in the world won’t feel the existance of double standards (you do one thing and get away with it but when someone else does the same thing he gets punished) and you’ll have much more sincere and honest help in the fight on terrorism from most world countries.

Then you’ll have much more open world for investments and it could be a start of a new world but of course I don’t see that happening in short notice or not at all because of the military industry and a lot of other things…

So the question from the beggining of this topic is ‘how to have a prosperous world’ - if that happens - then violence will exist in only a small controled amounts …

Social care, care for homeless, care for unemployed, various social issues that’s how you create tolerance and lower violence inside your country and then you should do that all over the world step by step helping various countries (Afrika and middle east especcialy) to lower powerty as much as possible and to improve education and so on… then there will be no need for violence.

That’s my opinion.

For fuck’s sake, people. Can’t we have a thread about anything without it tuning into a Bush/GOP bash thread by the second post?

Violence is the ultimate problem solver. That doesn’t make it right. Some situations require violence and others don’t. However, the statement “violence never solves anything” is just plainly false. There are specific examples already brought up in this thread that prove it so.

Two men are stranded on a desert island. There is only one canteen of water to drink. Man A reasonably lays out a plan for sharing the water equally, and rationing it to make it last as long as possible while they search for a spring or river to drink from. Man B bashes Man A’s head in, killing him. He proceeds to take all the water for himself.

I don’t think anyone would argue that Man B has acted reasonably, or morally in this situation. But, violence has certainly solved his problem. The issue of who gets the water is resolved.

You know, I came in here waiting to make a snarky post about how soon that Heinlein quote would pop up and there it is in the OP! Woot!

And this sums it up. Here’s a quote from Stalin that might express it well:

It’s sort of a ‘practicum’ approach to problem-solving.