Political Violence

Political violence is like a festering wound, in that, without the aid of
antibiotics the wound has the potential to depress the immune system and
eventually overwhelm the individual, leading to death. In this analogy,
antibiotics could represent forces that are always looking for the rogue virus's
bent on the destruction of the whole body (society). I often wonder why people
resort to violence, of any kind, to solve a particular problem. Questions can be
asked of the individual(s) involved in carrying out the attacks, but the
questions never seem to be answered in a way that will show why violence is
needed to resolve conflict. Rather, excuses are rendered in the hopes that by
the logic used in explaining why conflict must be resolved, this will justify
the actions. This leads, though, to a sort of circular argument. For example, in
the case of Saddam Hussein (put aside the fact that he is the president of a
nation) is an idiot. Why exactly he felt it was justifiable to invade a country,
who at the time had an OK relationship with the United States, and then think
the US and/or other countries would allow him to forcibly occupy that country.

Whatever his logic, his actions were not justifiable. I believe his logic was as
follows: Something happened to his country (economically, socially, politically
etc.) that he did not like or want to happen. Hussein decided to adopt the
"eye-for-an-eye" approach to conflict resolution. Except he changed
the rules and instead of responding in a like manner consistent with
"eye-for-an-eye", he went over board with his reaction. He forcibly
invaded a country. I use the Persian Gulf War as a recent example of reasons for
why people resolve conflict not through peaceful means but through violent
actions. Iraq is not the only country in the system to use this type of logic
when tackling an issue that is perceived to have only one avenue of approach to
resolution: war. It seems that every, or nearly every, state in the world will
resort to brute force to make a point. This then begs the question of, why? I
will explore some of the popular assumptions for why people act as they do and
try to come to some sort of agreement which we may all universally agree upon.

Sederberg explains four of the most popular explanations for violence and
revolution and points out some of the flaws in the arguments. The first
explanation I will talk about is the "Killer Ape Thesis", which
basically states that humans are biologically programmed toward violence and
that because we are programmed in this way, this is an explanation for the cause
of violence. Sederberg also points out that certain questions need to be
answered before anything else can be argued, such as "what causes
discontent?" In the killer ape thesis discontent is a moot point. If we are
in fact programmed toward violence than discontent should not be an issue. To
say that hereditary genes toward violence are passed from one generation to
another is to say we have no choice in the matter of violence. We would, simply,
all be vicious killers with no way of not being otherwise. Discontent, however,
is something humans can turn on and off, like anger, sadness, or happiness. The
killer ape thesis is great in explaining violence but not in explaining
"the inclination toward violent expression" (Sederberg 102). Clearly,
biological factors do not incline us towards violence, but the "Cherry Pie

Thesis" does in some way explain why we are violent. Sederberg describes
the cherry pie thesis as one where biology or heredity may play no part in
trying to explain why humans are prone to violence. He says that we are violent
because of our culture. That is, we are violent because of, say, where we live
or the era in which we grew up or the economic status we hold. This thesis
though, like the killer ape thesis, is circular in its logic. Society may cause
discontent among citizens but only with respect to history. For example, England
and Ireland have been at war with each other for some time now; each fights the
other because of some injustice. This injustice occurred in the past so it will
occur in the future; again, as in the killer ape thesis, there is circularity of
thought in what causes violence. The cherry pie thesis does, however, explain
the question of "what inclines the discontented to violent
expression?" People are not happy; why, who knows. In the case of the
cherry pie thesis one thing is