“I do not believe in violence,” said the pacifist. “Violence is not the answer!”
“I will break into your house and take your stuff,” said the bad man to the pacifist.
“Don’t do it!”
“Or else what?” The bad man asked.
“Stealing is illegal and I will think poorly of you,” the peaceful men replied.
The bad man shrugged his shoulders, broke into the pacifist’s house and took all his possessions. He did that with ease and with no second thought. The pacifist sent a message that he is not willing to use violence. He, therefore, demonstrated an absence of the risk of physical harm, so the bad man had nothing to fear.
According to the author Jack Donovan, “If every man lays down his arms and refuses to pick them up, the first man to pick up can do whatever he wants”.
To explain the importance of violence and aggression, I can cite my favourite author, Jack Donovan. He explains the raw core of man’s nature in a straightforward fashion. His books and speeches may sound edgy and insensitive to people with a “sweeter taste”. However, his honesty allowed me to understand and to acknowledge both human and canine behaviours.
Jack Donovan explains in his essay “Violence Is Golden” that “Order demands violence or the threat of it.”
In general, a law-abiding citizen obeys the law not only because of morality but because breaking the law is ultimately met with state-authorized violence performed by law enforcement in a case of non-compliance. The law-abiding citizen also obeys the law because of fear of consequences for certain actions.
According to Jack Donovan, “All governments – left, right or other – are by their very nature coercive. They have to be. A rule not ultimately backed by the threat of violence is merely a suggestion.”
This may be a pill hard to swallow for some people who think that violence, aggression and any threatening language are something bad and should be banned because they get distressed by simply hearing the word. Still, these people cannot understand the importance of violence in maintaining a peaceful world and their rights.
As Mr Donovan states, “No matter how good and evolved beyond violence pacifists claim to be.” He explains that a pacifist can only afford to be pacifists and against violence because, in case of emergency, someone will use violence on their behalf.
While some humans still struggle to understand or have forgotten the importance of violence and aggression, our best friends, dogs, have grasped this concept very well and still remember it.
When threatened, they do not count on someone else to use violence on their behalf. If cornered they will give you a sharp answer to the question “or else what?”
I do not endorse or celebrate dog aggression, but I understand it is part of the dog’s nature. It is something a dog (and other animal species including humans) needs to maintain order within the pack, claim and protect their space and their pack, hunt and mate.
The latest (mating) highlights the importance of strength, aggression and violence in dogs. In a wild pack, it is usually the leader, which is generally the most assertive big dog, that will mate and pass his genes. The same applies to females, the biggest and strongest will have the mating priority over other females.
This behaviour ensures that puppies or cubs born possess the genes of the strongest individuals in the pack.
Also, dogs must have the right physical characteristics required to be good hunters and to survive the environment. Even these qualities are passed with the best genes of the pack. Also, in the wild, puppies or cubs that are too weak or sick will not survive.
It is the natural selection, the survival of the fittest. It seems that even nature understands that to survive the harsh environment and threats, a dog has to be capable and have the will to be aggressive and violent if needed. Or else, another violent individual will live at the expense of a peaceful dog’s life.
If a pack of dogs does not use violence or ritualized display of aggression used to threaten an intruder or another predator, the invading dogs will simply walk in, eliminate the existing pack and claim the territory and females.
If wild dogs were not capable of aggression, they would not be able to hunt and kill and consequently starve.
There are no human or animal rights in nature, as they are a sort of illusion created by humans. What we call rights are simply agreements of a society about the way individuals have to be treated. Those rights are backed up by the threat of violence towards whoever dares to disobey with these agreements.
When someone demands women rights, gay rights, animal rights or any other rights or social justice to be respected, it doesn’t matter how peaceful and good these people claim or think to be. When they demand a right to be respected, they are demanding man and women with guns to stop someone and to force him or her to comply with their demands under the threat of authorized violence.
Wild animals do not have the privilege of someone using violence on their behalf as we humans have, they have to do it themselves if they want to assert their “right” to live.
Many domestic dogs will not survive alone in the wild for a long time due to a “physical handicap” that humans have created through selective breeding and lack of survival skills.
Even many humans will not survive for long without the domestic environment and protection offered by the modern society. Like domestic dogs, many people (especially in the west) are not physically fit and skilled to survive as our ancestors were.
I do not mean to promote that we should go and live in the wild or slay each other for our own interests. Fortunately, we are evolved enough to discuss things and find a middle ground where two parties can come to a peaceful agreement. However, I am aware that if no middle ground is met and no civilized discussion is possible, war is the ultimate option available.
Regarding dogs, I do not justify or excuse keeping dogs with aggressive tendencies unchecked and out of control. I am the first to advocate against endorsing dog viciousness and aggression. I believe that dogs should be treated with respect and not used as a tool.
I always promote creating a bond with dogs and, consequently, to be their guide in making them behave at their best within the human society.
Some people get very distressed when they see a dog displaying aggression. Dog aggression is neither good or bad; it depends on the circumstances but in general, aggression is a result of fear or pain.
In this article, it is not my point to invite people and dogs to use violence. My point is to acknowledge the role of violence and aggression in maintaining order and survival of an individual or a group.
I neither endorse or condemn violence. I understand that violence is something used or displayed on my behalf to persuade bad-intentioned individuals (or groups) to obey the law of the society where I live. I am not immune to the threat of violence; because of that, I do obey the law.
I understand that my rights are maintained under the threat of violence towards whoever dares to disrespect them. I am aware that these rights can be taken away from me at any time if someone decides to take them by the force of violence.
Still, our dogs do not have this complex thinking but they understand, anyway, that to survive or to stop a threat, they need to be aggressive.
We can manipulate dog’s behaviour through training, but their natural instinct will still be in them; without our direction, their natural instinct will take over.
I understand that violence for both dogs and humans is not the only answer. But, when no other alternative is available, it is the only and ultimate answer. To maintain peace you need violence or the threat of it.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and if you like to learn more, please, feel free to subscribe to this blog.
Also, if you like the topic of dogs, please check my book ‘Before You Get A Dog’ by Simone Burani. You will find the essential knowledge written in simple language to have a great time with your pet.
Sources used for quotes:
Jack Donovan, A Sky Without Eagles (2014);
Jack Donovan, Violence Is Golden (March 15, 2011).