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The Theory of Violence and the Recalcitrant Minority

As you read the following  from Dewey’s book Liberalism and Social Action (1935) page 55 of Later Works (page 87 of original edition)  remember what was happening in Germany and Russia in the 1930’s. (Note the weasel words*  “some amount,” “consistently,” “might.”)

* Merriam-Webster:  “weasel word – a word used in order to evade or retreat from a direct or forthright statement or position.”

“The issue ... is not whether some amount of violence will accompany the effectuation of radical change of institutions. [Some violence is taken for granted?]  The question is whether force or intelligence is to be the method upon which we consistently [always] rely and to whose promotion we devote our energies. ...  Moreover, acceptance in advance of the inevitability of violence tends to produce the use of violence in cases where peaceful methods might otherwise avail.”

And the other cases, where peaceful methods do not avail?  Dewey concludes self-righteously that

“it is sheer defeatism to assume in advance of actual trial that democratic political institutions are incapable either of further development or of constructive social application.”

In other words, when setting up a new socialist order in America or elsewhere, try peaceful means first, but if that doesn’t work, use a club.  Use violence when and where necessary.

“The one exception  and that apparent rather than real [it’s not real?]  to dependence upon organized intelligence [organized by?] as the method for directing social change is found when society through an authorized majority has entered upon the path of social experimentation leading to great social change, and a minority refuses by force to permit the method of intelligent action to go into effect.  Then force may be intelligently employed to subdue and disarm the recalcitrant minority.”

Would you be in the “recalcitrant minority?"


From the brochure AmSAT once furnished teachers:

Mr Alexander created what may be truly called a physiology of the livingorganism.   Philosopher John Dewey

What manner of man wrote this?  Who is he that you should believe valuable what he recommends?