Religious Studies 2H03 Sep 25 Lecture
Objects of violence: animals, children, women, racialized groups; the 'enemy'
Sources of violence: anger, hatred, fear, freed, spite, jealousy, resentment, ethnocentrism, neglect,
desperation or despair; desire for pleasure?
Purposes of violence: power/control, glory, revenge, punishment, survival?
Suicide bombers are told that they will be remembered greatly for their sacrifice, and they are told they
will live a nice after life
Mechanisms of violence: the body/speech, weapons, economic globalization, media...
Effects: Dehumanization, fear, anger, resentment, sorrow/depression, anomie/apathy,
War, War Systems and Mass Violence
“Put up thy sword. For they that live by the sword shall die by the sword.” (Mat. 26:52)
“The first casualty when war comes is truth.” (Senator Hiram Johnson, 1917)
“Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.” (Victor Hugo, d. 1885)
“War does not determine who is right. War determines who is left.”
The Dalai Lama on war:
“We should think carefully about the reality of war. Most of us have been conditioned to regard
military combat as exciting and glamorous – an opportunity for men to prove their competence and
courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable;
Casualties of war
Some 110 million people across the world were killed by the war in the 20 century (& many more by
man-made violence), making it the most lethal century in human history.
United Nations, formed 1945
What is the primary mandate of the United Nations? Their primary mandate is to prevent war,A key
player (United States) refused to sign on, but in 1945 they did sign on and they agreed to host the
occasion on their territory in New York.
They have prevented some wars, but their greatest accomplishment is development of international
conventions and instruments that serve to strengthen international law. UN commands support of every government in the world, 193 nations are in the United Nations
Mass protests against war
$ Spent on war [& casualties]
$ 2.8 trillion spent b/w 2001 and 2011
Old as human history?
Are human beings basically violent?
War a natural expression or extension of conflict?
Organized mass warfare is only 2000 years old
Conventional war is conducted by armies who are governed by rulers or states or assistance of
governments, armies consisted of men who are a part of the military class, armies and wars cost money
and rulers charged people money
Chinese general Sun-Tzu
Wrote in his “Art of War” (c. 400 BCE):
“In peace prepare for war, in war prepare for peace. The art of war is of vital importance to the state...
Hence, under no circumstances can it be neglected.”
Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1866) in his classic study “On War”
Said that war was the means by which rulers of states attempted to protect & enhance their national
interest when regular diplomacy failed.
War = the permissible & controlled use of violence
Clausewitz said that basic military strategy primarily focused on winning, on capitalizing on others
weaknesses and compelling the other to do ones will
There’s always friction that clogs the gears, slow things down, brings them to a halt. The weather over
the centuries was a form of friction, faulty intelligence, politics, fear, exhaustion were others
The “logic” of war in and of itself requires using force/violence to its extreme, which could lead to
mutual destruction, if not constrained.
In the logic of war, war is an end, not a means. Modern war and war systems
1) The Scientific revolution – producing war technologies
2) Industrial revolution both allowed for the creation of new war technologies that could be
3) imperialism created the “great powers”, carving up the world into their domains and dragging
masses of peoples into their wars
4) the democratic revolutions from France toAmerica gave rise to modern nationalism, with its
War is always going to be a possibility when you need to defend your nation
With the invention of nuclear weapons
The possibility of