Socially Acceptable Violence

Matt Walsh (recommended reading) is talking about socially acceptable violence. As I am sure you’ve heard by now, this ad from Daniel Defense is not going to be played during the Super Bowl. Honestly, I think they’ve gotten more attention by being rejected than had they gotten the spot, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that it’s interesting that sanctioned violence with the goal of getting a ball across a line is considered wholesome family entertainment but defensive violence is unacceptable. Why is that? Why is it that we celebrate violence on a field but not those who exercise their duty to protect themselves and their loved ones? Instead the media laments the criminals killed victimizing others. Those who must defend their lives are made out to be crazed vigilantes with some sort of chip on their shoulder while the criminal in question was just getting their life back in order. Why is being in fear for one’s own life a questionable motive?

When did we become a society that regards morally justifiable violence as something repugnant? Something from which we should shield our children? We can celebrate athletes with rap sheets a mile long just as long as they put the ball in the right place again and again. We buy the shoes they tell us to buy. Why does the media vilify a neighborhood watch volunteer while venerating the thugs in jerseys?

I think I know part of the answer. As a society, we’ve separated ourselves from personal responsibility and community. Our reality comes from TV and not from interpersonal relationships. We’ve insulated ourselves from the consequences of our actions. It’s no longer our own fault if we get fat. It’s the fast food, here take a pill. Unplanned pregnancy? Just terminate it. Fail at business? Someone else is there to bail you out. And so on. It’s gotten to the point that it causes cognitive dissonance when someone takes matters into their own hands. The police are supposed to protect us, right? Sure. And our meat comes from the grocer too.

We’ve forgotten that survival is violent. All sustenance (yes, even the veggies) comes from death, and it is morally justifiable. But we don’t want to see that. We want our violence in nice neat packages for the purposes of entertainment. Never-mind the debilitating injuries suffered for our enjoyment. Get that ball across the arbitrary line so we can eat nachos! But God forbid you shoot a lion and talk about it. Even if your actions fund the conservation efforts and feed the people in Africa.

What an arrogant people we’ve become! What a luxury it is that entertainment trumps survival.

I know. It’s not everyone, and for that I am grateful. I doubt I have many readers that don’t already understand that there is an appropriate time for violence. That delegating it to someone else is not always an effective option. And we also understand that we would do a disservice to our children to hide that fact from them.

Enjoy your entertainment, but never forget that the real world is still out there and it can be a dangerous place. Buckle up, carry a fire extinguisher, and be prepared to protect yourself if necessary.


2 thoughts on “Socially Acceptable Violence”

  1. It probably helps that my profession was in the “Controlled Management of Violence” , i.e. military officer.

    I think another reason for the disconnect you speak of is that fewer folks serve, and therefore are not introduced to the real world in a manner they can’t ignore.

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