Feb 21, 2017

Rough Thoughts On Violence etc.

I've been thinking about violence a lot lately. It's been an increasing source of frustration for me -- people don't seem to understand that violence takes forms that are more than just physical.

For reasons that are quite obvious, it is subjective violence (physical violence that we can view directly and identify particular agents) that generates the strongest reactions from people. But subjective violence doesn't just come from nowhere. Subjective violence is the direct product of object violence, which takes two forms: symbolic violence and systematic violence.

Objective violence is something that we don't notice. It is inherent in the systems that make our normal lives normal. It's things like language, political structures, capitalism -- things that wouldn't flow smoothly without some sort of oppression taking place, thus producing violence.

And it is this objective violence that ultimately leads to the manifestation of violence in a subjective, physical way.

I find it interesting and extremely frustrating that when Milo Yiannopolous is being discussed, some object to the idea of Milo being a violent being. Surely it's those who are protesting and rioting that are the ones being violent, the logic follows.

It's Milo's speech that is violent. It's perhaps not his physical actions, but the strings of words that he puts together that produce symbolic violence. This can potentially lead to the manifestation of physical violence.

But it's very difficult to get people to consider this. It's difficult to see violence when it's not hurting people physically. And it's harder still when you yourself might be violent, but not realizing it. That's the way it goes for privilege too; people don't necessarily want to be in positions of privilege, and it can be difficult to come to terms with the concept.

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On a somewhat related note, I thought a lot about free speech today, because really who couldn't? 

Free speech doesn't guarantee you a book deal.

Free speech doesn't guarantee you an audience.

Free speech doesn't guarantee you a server to host your thoughts.

Free speech doesn't guarantee you a college tour.

Free speech simply protects you from persecution over things that you say. It's important to remember that in light of some recent events.

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