A Contradiction Among Right-Wingers Regarding Violence?

I apologize in advance, because this is really just barely coherent enough to even qualify as a blog post, but nonetheless something struck me when listening to news coverage of the Israeli bombing campaign. The reporter said that 300-and-change people had reportedly died, and then quoted a Bush Administration official who said something like, "It is ultimately the Hamas terrorists who are responsible for this regrettable bloodshed. There will be no peace in the Gaza Strip so long as rocket attacks continue hitting Israeli territory."

It struck me that this type of excuse for the admitted killing of innocent people, is very similar to the Black Pantheresque claim that there will be no peace without justice.

And in response to that, what does the average Rush Limbaugh fan say? Why, he says something like, "I don't want to hear your excuses. Regardless of whatever injustices you may have suffered from racist cops, you can't riot and kill innocent people, you hoodlums! What's this society coming to, when whining leftists try to understand the motives behind the wanton massacre of innocents?"

Presumably the person holding these (in my opinion) contradictory views would say, "Nonsense! We live in a civilized culture in the U.S., and rioting won't achieve anything for blacks. If they have legitimate grievances, they should take them to the ballot box."

But I daresay this advice sounds just as shallow to inner-city kids getting shot by drug squads, as telling Israeli settlers that the best, long run way to get Palestinians from shooting rockets at them is to adopt non-violent methods of protest.

Finally, let me state for the record that I am a pacifist and so of course I think rioting (to protest Rodney King, etc.) is wrong and counterproductive. But by the same token, I think killing hundreds of Palestinians (many of whom are innocent bystanders) in response to a few Israeli deaths is also wrong and counterproductive in the long run.


  1. they killed children who just finished school sessions..imagine you children killed on this kind of event..in front of school???!

    they killed women..and they were all innocents..

    and very very shocking news that i learn is that the one that died at israel due to "Hamas's rocket attack" (still doubtful) is an Arab man..

    Meaning none Israel died in this cruel massacre and genocide...

  2. Dr. Murphy, could the distinction be supported by the lack of shared institutions for investigating and resolving disputes between nations, where such institutions allegedly exist within them? I mean, the case you represented seems to imply that the appropriate response to injustice within our society is to express one's opinions through the electoral process, which I don't think is true. But if someone did argue that way, it seems consistent to me to suggest that where an electoral reform process does not exist, and no other shared way to resolve disputes exists in its stead, one might be able to justify the use of violent force.

    I mean, I don't think that's an entirely plausible argument, but I'm not sure if it's contradictory.


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