Mahatma its means. One pivotal component of this argument

Mahatma
Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement against British
imperialism criticized the nature of violence as the “Law of the Brute”.

Violence, as defined by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) in the World
Report on Violence and Health, is “the intentional use of physical force or
power, threatened actual, against oneself, another person, or against group or
community, that either result in or has a high likelihood of resulting in
injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation”. This
definition effectively captures the scope of violence, as different forms of
physical, social, and psychological acts of violence fall under the definition
above. In spite of the apparent detrimental implications that such act entails,
violence has been employed numerous times throughout history as means to
achieve certain goals. People have used violence to wage blood-stained revolutions
and wars as a demonstration of power, whilst others have others have utilized
violence under the banner of justice and peace. With the exponentially
increasing scale and influence of violence reflected in society and modern
warfare, its moral justifications have become clouded with controversy and
discourse. Though at times seemingly necessary, violence can never be morally
justified because it perpetuates a cycle of violence, and the ends it pursues
is inherently tied to its means.

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One
pivotal component of this argument is the definition of morality and an
identification of conduct that is morally justified. The Stanford Encyclopedia
of Philosophy defines the term morality “normatively to refer to a code of
conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational
persons.”. In this sense, it is not sufficient to conclude that an act is moral
by showing that one individual or group accepts it as so. Moral justifications
that follow this pernicious line of thought are prone to exploitation, as they
can be used as methods to rationalize and absolve responsibility for certain
morally questionable actions. In the context of this argument, perpetrators of
violence would certainly strive to rationalize their actions under specific conditions
and fail to consider the immense repercussions of their actions. Morality, as
defined by Immanuel Kant’s philosophy of ethics, is that morality should be
universally applicable, and determined by rational reasoning and not the
variable consequences that it leads to. A fixed line exists between conduct
that is and is not morally justified, and these boundaries should not be
reevaluated and rejected to suit the purposes of people attempting to evade
moral responsibility for their crimes.

Violence
is immoral as it paves the road for future cycles of violence and instability,
and is unable to bring everlasting positive change. One does not need to read
far into a history textbook to find an incident of violent revolution or war.

In fact, it nearly impossible to find a period in human history in which there
were no wars, and violence has become an inseparable tag of human societies.

Many of these famous cases of mass violence were, nonetheless, initiated under
the name of democracy and equality, but all of them failed to achieve their
goals in the long term, instead, aggravating the problem it intended to
resolve. Gandhi criticized the nature of the infamous French and Russian
revolutions in his “Quit India Speech” as he said that, “it is my conviction
that in as much as these struggles were fought with the weapon of violence they
failed to realize the democratic ideal.” 
The French Revolution was based on the aspirations of establishing
liberty and abolishing the tyrannical rule of the French monarchy. The ideals
of this revolution, however, were compromised with the utilization of violence,
as the revolution deviated from its initial goals of liberation into a violent
struggle for power, ultimately unable to usher an era of peace. Gandhi’s aims
in his speech were to call for a nonviolent, passive resistance, which he
believed was the most desirable and effective instrument to help India win its
independence from British rule, whilst ensuring a step forward in the direction
towards a nation of democracy. The refrain from violence prevented the loss of
innocent deaths, and effectively unified India and sharpened the independence
movement into a formidable force. The success of Gandhi’s nonviolent
independence movement in inducing positive changes would send a powerful
message to the rest of the world and proved that violence was an obsolete
machine for stabilizing and resolving problems.

 On the surface, violence appears to be an
effective and efficient solution to certain problems and is often used as the
means to fight against racism, gender discrimination, imperialism and other
issues that have plagued human society. Hidden underneath the surface, however,
are the harmful consequences that succeed the use of violence. Celebrated
African American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. expressed his
views on the use of violence, as he stated that “Returning violence for
violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid
of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate
cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” In his struggle to combat racial
inequality in America, Martin Out was inspired by his predecessor Mahatma
Gandhi’s use of nonviolence action, and he embraced civil disobedience and
nonviolent protests, though at times, criticized for being an extremist. It
was, however, as King explained in his “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”, the
black nationalist groups were the true extremists. He asserts the “bitterness
and hatred” that these groups are breeding only lead to the precipitation of
more violence, resulting in an endless downward spiral of hatred and violence.

The logical method to prevent such undesirable outcomes from occurring is to
avoid implementing violence and adopting peaceful alternatives to counter
injustices and wrongs in society. The notion that violence promotes future
violent behavior is also discussed in the Gospel of Matthew, verse 26:52. It
depicts a scene in which Jesus tells his disciple to sheathe his weapon:
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all
who draw the sword will die by the sword.” The power of violence has grown as
time has passed, and the temptation of its use to pursue political ends has
also increased in proportion. Violence, however, fails as a catalyst for
permanent change and is morally unjustified as it leaves a trail of instability
and suffering.

Violence
is also inherently immoral in its means, regardless of its initial aims and
purposes. The doctrine that “the ends justify the means” is presented in
Niccolo Machiavelli’s famous book “The Prince”, as the author writes that “In
the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not wise to
challenge, one judges by the result.” This proposed approach to human conduct
sets forth the view that the results of one’s actions overshadow any immoral
decisions ends and actions that lead to those desirable ends. The government,
therefore, would be morally justified in using violence to any extent to ensure
the security and stability of the country, even at the cost of civilian
casualty. A blind adherence to this stance on human conduct gives rise to mass
violence, which is rationalized under the supposition that the end result will
overlay the immoral use of violence. An opposition to this parochial and
detrimental view of human conduct is manifested in Martin Luther King Jr.’s
“Letter From A Birmingham Jail”, which states that “the means we use must be as
pure as the ends we seek”, and that it is “wrong to use immoral means to attain
moral goals”. He believed that opting to use violence to fight for African
American’s civil rights was immoral even if the ends they pursued were
virtuous. Hence, the only morally justified course of action would be using
moral means to achieve moral goals; in the context above, nonviolent protests
to induce positive societal and political change. The act of violence on
another individual infringes on that individual’s moral right to be safe from
harm and not to be injured and is thus, intrinsically immoral. The act of
violence on another individual infringes on that individual’s moral right to be
safe from harm and not to be injured and is thus, intrinsically immoral.

Furthermore, the argument that ends justify the means is invalid, as the ends
are inherently tied to the means as there is “no wall of separation
between means and end”. Thus, violence for a noble cause cannot be morally
justified, as the “realization of the goal is in exact proportion to that
of the means”. Moral values should not be sacrificed with the use of
violence under the name of justice, and because ends are inextricably connected
to its means, violence is immoral in itself.

Proponents
of the opposite stance often argue that violence can be morally justified under
specific conditions in which its use would certainly result in a more
universally beneficial outcome. This aligns with the beliefs of the Malcolm X’s
stance as showcased in his famous speech “The Ballot or the Bullet”, who
emphasized that “It’ll be the ballot or it’ll be the bullet. It’ll be liberty
or it’ll be death.” Malcolm X believed that violence was a viable option under
a situation in which their nonviolent calls for equality were unanswered. The
central flaw with this reasoning is that the desired outcome that the use of violence
intends to bring and its potential detrimental implications are impossible to
accurately predict. The pressure of the given circumstances and the impending
need to make a decision all cloud the judgment a person, and the action is
taken may not be the rational or moral when viewed in retrospect. With the
benefit of hindsight, it is apparent that some uses of violence that seemed
morally justifiable during its time, the use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki during World War Two, for instance, are considered morally
questionable today. The choice of resorting violence critically dismisses all
other potential alternative methods that would have led to the preferable
result, which becomes significant in terms of wars and other forms of mass violence.

As Sun Tzu, the author of “The Art of War” adequately puts it, “The supreme art
of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. The death of thousands can
never be morally justified knowing that there was a nonviolent resolution to
the conflict. This extends beyond wars and state violence, as civil
disobedience also follows this basic principle. Political strength does not
have to be attained through violence, and moral victory can often bring more
potent changes to society. The power in such nonviolent activities lay in the
fact that the disciplined action would provoke the opponents to reflect on
their moral conscience and values and potentially convert them, a result that
is unattainable through the use of violence. 

Stating
that violence can be morally justified under certain conditions, opens a
paranoia of doubt. Under these vague set of conditions, it is difficult for an
individual to determine when an act of violence is morally permissible and when
it is not. Instead, the society as a whole should strive towards a world of
equality and democracy by strictly drawing a line, and defining violence as
immoral under all conditions. Strive to eliminate the root causes of violence