Is Violence Against Women Ever OK?
Of course, it is.
I’m glad that co-blogger Bryan Caplan has introduced us to Scott Alexander. I had never come across him before, but I found most of the long piece that Bryan referred to refreshingly thoughtful.
There is so much nonsense out there and so we have what my military officer students call a “target-rich environment.” So now that Bryan and Scott Alexander have raised these issues, I want to discuss one piece of nonsense that has become commonplace.
After CNN reporter (I think she’s a reporter although I’m not sure) Carol Costello did a disgusting segment in which she showed her glee at violence committed against Bristol Palin, CNN’s Brian Stelter, to his credit, did a segment in which he pointed out implicitly how disgusting Costello had been. But, not content to leave it at that, he gave Bristol Palin the last word. And here’s one of her statements: “Violence against women is never OK.” Stelter doesn’t challenge that.
But it should be challenged. Violence against women is often OK. A woman comes up to you with a gun. You have done nothing wrong. She starts firing at you. Fortunately, she’s a bad shot, but you’re not sure for how long she’ll be a bad shot. I think you’re justified in punching her lights out or even, if you have a gun, firing back. Does anyone care to say that punching someone or shooting someone is not violent?
This issue came up a few years at a meeting of the Peace Coalition of Monterey County, a coalition of groups, all of which purport to favor peace, and most of which do. I’m on the membership committee. One group–I’ve forgotten its name–applied to join. I asked someone at the meeting, someone who was supporting the group’s application, what the group stood for. The answer: it was against violence against women. She went on to say that, of course, this was consistent with what we stood for because who could favor violence against women. Here’s what followed.
DRH: I do in some circumstances. If a woman is coming at me with a gun, then I think violence is justified.
Woman supporting the application: Well, sure, but this group opposes violence against non-violent women.
DRH: But wouldn’t it also oppose violence against non-violent men? Why single out men?
I don’t remember what she said next.
By the way, as I’ve said on this blog a number of times, I am not a pacifist.
Possibly, at some point in the future, I’ll discuss a time when I used violence against three women who were sexually attacking me. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.