The GOP and “Justified” Violence

Yesterday Dr. George Tiller was assassinated in church by a right-wing domestic terrorist. His assassin believes that his act of terrorism was justifiable homicide, and there are voices from the right that are expressing joy at this act of violence. While this may appear shocking and inhuman, are these voices from the extreme right all that different than the advocates of “justified violence” in the “pro-life” Republican Party?

For it appears that the designation of “pro-life” is granted solely for defense of the fetus, not for humanity. They wish to protect only the fetus, not the lives of mothers. They claim to believe that life begins at conception, yet they cease defending it upon birth.

Upon birth, violence against you can be justified.

The apple of terrorism does not fall far from the tree of the Republican Party that continues to justify murder and violence to this day.

The Republican Party supports administrative murder euphemistically called capital punishment: a “justifiable” homicide. They claim it is justified by serving as a deterrent to crime, despite the fact that the vast body of knowledge disproves this. The danger of an irreversible error, the execution of an innocent, does not move them. The death penalty is nothing more than an act of revenge, a triumph of emotion over reason, and revenge is nothing but violence carried out to satiate a single violent passion.

Republicans are defending the use of torture as justified violence, returning us to the acts of barbarism that serve the cycle of violence begetting violence. This is a lesson most of the Western world has learned, but we remain committed to placating our inner demons. Take the following passage:

Reprisals against civilian populations and the use of torture are crimes in which we are all involved. The fact that such things could take place among us is a humiliation we must henceforth face. Meanwhile, we must at least refuse to justify such methods, even on the score of efficacy. The moment they are justified, even indirectly, there are no more rules or values; all causes are equally good, and war without aims or laws sanctions the triumph of nihilism. Willy-nilly, we go back in that case to the jungle where the sole principle is violence. Even those who are fed up with morality ought to realize that it is better to suffer certain injustices than to commit them even to win wars, and that such deeds do us more harm than a hundred underground forces on the enemy’s side.


Torture has perhaps saved some, at the expense of honor, by uncovering thirty bombs, but at the same time it aroused fifty new terrorists who, operating in some other way and in another place, will cause the death of even more innocent people. Even when accepted in the interest of realism and efficacy, such a flouting of honor serves no purpose but to degrade our country in her own eyes and abroad.

This passage seems like it could have been written yesterday about the United States, yet it was composed 51 years ago by Albert Camus about France’s struggle with Islamic terrorists in Algeria. History does repeat itself, and Republicans refuse to learn its lessons.

These things, combined with the Republican Party’s propensity to declare war without necessity, as well as being committed to making weapons available but not health care, illustrates their philosophical underpinning of violence.

Some of the inflammatory comments made by pundits on the right may have encouraged the violence against Dr. Tiller. This culture of violence serves the best interest of no one, and it must not be encouraged.

Our generation needs to take a stand against this antiquated glorification of justified violence and realize that spreading hatred leads to a society that is constantly at war with itself.