How Political Violence Makes Us All Slaves
By Hinton Bowers
Slavery was always a hotly contested and controversial issue going back to the founding of the US republic. It’s detractors claiming, rightly, that it denies not just life, or liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, but all three.
These tensions eventually helped lead to the outbreak of state violence known as the American Civil War, but it was arguably precipitated by a very personal event in the spring of 1856…
Out-spoken abolitionist Charles Sumner, a senator from Massachusetts, had changed his party several times over the issue of slavery. Though abolitionists were generally disliked by the public ‘at large’ for inflaming tensions between the north and the south; on this day, and perhaps unwittingly, Sumner instigated once again for personal liberty. By giving his famous CRIME AGAINST KANSAS speech, he was attempting to block the state-sanctioned expansion of slavery into that territory. Sumner’s speeches were usually fiery and this one was no exception, but then Sumner said something a little different:
“The senator from South Carolina has read many books of chivalry, and believes himself a chivalrous knight with sentiments of honor and courage. Of course he has chosen a mistress — who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; — I mean the harlot, slavery.”
Targeting a sponsor of the Kansas pro-slavery bill, Sumner went personal, attacking Andrew Butler, accusing him of both delusion and sexual deviance, this ‘ruffled the feathers’ of many, but as history would record, it was Butlers’ cousin who would take it the most personally…
On May 22, representative Preston Brooks approached Sumner and began to beat him mercilessly on the senate floor with his walking cane, almost killing the man as the assembly looked-on. This act of violence was a dark foreshadowing of the events to come, “Mr. Lincoln’s war” ironically led by Sumner’s own political party would begin a few short years later, in 1861.
The abolitionist, Sumner, challenged injustice and the ‘politically correct’ orthodoxy of his time in confronting slavery; but then paradoxically, as a senator, used the United States government to beat an entire region of the country into bloody conformity. Thankfully, these sorts of brute force tactics are a relic of the distant past, and in modern times humanity has learned to resolve conflict through reasonable discussion…
Or not. Fast forward to the 2017 post-election, as socialist and nationalist mobs ‘go at it’ across the country in what seems to be almost daily protests, riots, or street brawls; I’m reminded of something my mother used to say to me at eight years old when going after my brother, who I believed, was thieving my toys.
“Use your words.” She would say.
She may not have realized it, but my mother was, in her way, teaching me the non-aggression principle. Even though I had been wronged (I felt), my prized fire truck stolen, HONOR IMPUGNED; I was required to speak with my five year old brother civilly, and address my grievances without striking him, or ripping the toy away.
So in this current political climate, I would like to pass this advice along to anyone willing to listen:
Use your words.
Because regardless of ‘idealogical stripe’, people who engage in political violence are less like this…
And more like this…
The hard truth is: running around punching people is pretty alienating. If you are confident in your ‘world view’ and ‘grounded in your beliefs’ there’s no reason to stifle, censor, or ‘beat up’ people who disagree with you. If your own views are worth having, shouldn’t you be able to discuss those views and win people over? Shouldn’t you be able to debate with others who might see things a little differently, and perhaps even learn a few things yourself in the process?
You know, use your words?
Could people be so insecure, that they are unwilling to hear a radical, bizarre, or even hateful argument from time to time?
Well, when you hear these arguments, even if it repulses you, use your words and ‘talk it out’, because the alternative is to go down the road to ‘pc world’, where nothing can be said if it violates group think. In ‘pc world’ the established ‘way of thinking’ can’t be challenged by those individuals who may see things a bit differently. It has a more subtle kind of violence enforced either culturally or by the state, that requires ‘consensus’ before ‘science’ and ‘sensitivity’ before ‘progress’. In short, group orthodoxy metastasizes into a kind of slavery of the mind, restricting exploration, and indenturing all of us to current norms…
Frankly, no one ever ‘made a difference’ by thinking like everyone else; so the next time you, dear reader, censor, bully, or attack someone for speaking their mind… ask yourself this:
“Am I enforcing thought slavery?”