The utility of mass violence
Eichelberger, Clinton W.
O'Connell, Robert L.
Lober, George W.
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Violence: the word itself has a distinctly negative connotation. It seems as though our entire society is fixated on preventing violence. Despite our keen desires to repel violence in all of its forms, we are still enthralled by it. Perhaps our fascination with violence is much more than a simple manifestation of the deviant within. Could it be that our violent tendencies are not necessarily all bad? This is precisely the topic we will explore. Using the events of The Great Jewish Revolt against the Romans in 66 AD and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during the Holocaust, we will strive to answer the question: what is the utility of mass violence? As we address this question, several central themes will emerge. The utility of mass violence is proportional to the perpetrator's ability (or willingness) to employ violence absolutely. In other words, in order for mass violence to serve a useful purpose, it must be used without significant restraint. Nonetheless, in the majority of our examples, we will find that mass violence is only effective in the short term. Eventually, even the most definitive acts spawn further violence. Thus, in terms of long-term conflict resolution, less violent options are actually more efficient.
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