The most dangerous superstition of the parties of violence is the idea that sanctioned violence can prevent or control unsanctioned violence. But, if violence is "just" in one instance, as determined by the state, why, by a merely logical extension, might it not also be "just" in another instance, as determined by an individual? How can a society that justifies capital punishment and warfare prevent its justifications from being extended to assassination and terrorism? If a government percieves that some causes are so important as to justify the killing of children, how can it hope to prevent the contagion of its logic from spreading to its citizens--or to its citizens' children? If you so devalue human life that the accidentally conceived unborn may be permissibly killed, how do you keep that permission from being assumed by someone who has made the same judgment against the born?
Monday, July 04, 2005
from the same page in the essay "The Failure Of War" Wendell Berry writes