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Nonviolence is the refuge of cowards

I say this with the full authority of my own personal experience: nonviolence is for cowards. When push has come to shove, I stepped to the sidewalk but I am so full of admiration for those who stayed in the line of fire. Today much of the world commemorates Bastille Day, France’s unique independence day, because it launched the French Revolution. Not just a revolution for the masses of humanity, but their Enlightenment. Storming the Bastilles was no small transformative event, and the sans-culottes were not led by urgings to keep it nonviolent. The monarchy took heed, as it had for every historic concession, because the citizenry had it scared to death.

Have you changed social inequity by voting in the polls? Have you found justice via protest? Sought, beseeched, was as far as you got. Violent uprising has not lately looking too effective either. But it’s got the track record.

I’m not saying I’m up to the task, but I assure you I have the courage to be nonviolent in spades.

It is a most self-aggrandizing dishonesty that holds nonviolence to be brave. There is nothing easier than to take the path of least resistance. I don’t mean to downplay the audacity to protest, as opposed to conforming, although isn’t sticking to your principles squarly self-indulgent? I claim no credit for failing to bend on matters of principle. In fact, sometimes I feel positively anti-social.

But taken the next step, what’s easier than subjecting yourself to the authority of the sword? Again it’s the principle of not becoming like your abuser, another no-brainer, but no-bravery required.

Standing up for what you believe? Easy-peasy. To the death? Positively cowardly lion.

This is you inner dialog, be honest: I defy your authority, but only so far. I reject your physical oppression, but just kidding. I call for the total destruction of your hierarchy, but only in words, I’m entitled, and you can’t lay a finger on me because I’m playing by the rules.

Hope of getting anywhere: dismal. Modern social movements have only Gandhi and Mandela as purported success stories. But I’ll not insult the elders. The Gandhi and Mandela of our textbooks bear no resemblance to the reality, they are false role-models put forth by fascists who want to blunt every effort to rise against power.

Oh, nonviolence is the higher ideal, sure. Lovely. Browny points for the afterlife. Trickle-up transcendence has as much potential for success as awaiting extraterrestrials or building playing fields for disgraced baseball reincarnates.

Unless power wants to transcend the human experience, and lift all of us with it, mankind is not going anywhere. The only way you’re going to levitate powerful heads is with a guillotine. Dreadfully eighteenth century, but check out the horrific bygone days from which they’re reconstituting torture and feudalism.

You can probably contrive a litany of rationalizations for why it would be beneath you, but imagine picking up a gun and having a go against the overwhelming power of the state. Now that’s terrifying.

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