Abhorrence of state violence

From my most recent module of my Open University degree, DD301 Crime and Justice, there is an entry that caught my eye.

The paradox, as Penny Green and Tony Ward put it, is: ‘If states depend on a monopoly of organised violence … but cultivate an abhorrence of violence, why does this not lead to abhorrence, or at least a deep unease, at the state’s own practices?’ (2009a, p. 236).

(Green, 2010, p. 218).

I have issues with the concept of the state having the monopoly on violence (Weber, 1991 [1921], p. 78) and have written about it in a number of essays disagreeing with the claim.

But their point about state terror applies to war too.  If the state says it is wrong to kill, why do people accept the state sending them off to kill?  It is a paradox, a cause of cognitive dissonance.

More research is required…

 

References

Green, P. (2010) ‘Chapter 7: The state, terrorism and crimes against humanity’, in Muncie, J., Talbot, D. and Walters, R. (eds) Crime: Local and Global, Milton Keynes, The Open University, pp. 209-45.

Green, P. and Ward, T. (2009a) ‘Torture and the paradox of state violence’ in Clucas, B., Johnstone, G. and Ward, T. (eds) Torture: Moral Absolutes and Ambiguities, Baden-Baden, Nomos.

Weber, M. (1991 [1921]) ‘From Max Weber’ (ed. H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills), London, Routledge.

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