A monopoly on violence

In today’s megaculture, the state has a monopoly on violence. The military and the police are the only ones who are allowed to do violence, and other people are punished if they do violence. And people can’t just opt out of this punishment because it’s backed up by the threat of violence.

This is a symptom of the control paradigm. Those who have power over others control the violence, and take it away from everyone else. This monopoly on violence is a huge factor in the staying power of the control paradigm. If those in power didn’t have a monopoly on violence, we could overthrow the current system, or opt out of the system without fear of being forced back in (c.f. the Diggers).

“Oh no!” you cry. “If anyone were allowed to do violence, there would be anarchy and people running around punching and killing each other all the time!” But that’s not really realistic. Remember how humans lived for a million years before civilization. They lived in tribes, and each tribe had its own way of handling violence. There wasn’t any group of people who had a monopoly on violence — individuals were free to be violent if they so chose — but that doesn’t mean that there were no consequences. Tribal life was, by and large, peaceful. And war was so much different than our current notion of war that it hardly bears using the same word.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of violence. I’m happy to be safe in a peaceful place where I don’t have to worry about being hurt or assaulted. But on a paradigm level, the fact that those in power have a monopoly on violence is keeping us stuck in the control paradigm.

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In other words, I can help you find your path.