On Domestic Violence…

The following video is from today’s CBS News Sunday Morning, and I just had to post about it…

Video reblogged from Domestic violence, by the numbers on CBS News Sunday Morning

As one who has witnessed, and been a victim of, more incidents of violence than I could ever recount, seeing that piece was like the final bell at the end of a week literally filled with terrible flashbacks. You see, I grew up witnessing my father abuse his girlfriend in his home, and I lived in a home where my mother and her boyfriend got into a fierce drunken brawl at least once a week. Even my older brother had begun to abuse his girlfriends before his own tragic and violent death at the ripe old age of 19. Hell, if I didn’t know better, I’d have sworn that there was a knock-down, drag-out fight going on behind every other door in the neighborhoods I grew up in. Oh how I wish I could say that those were just incidents isolated to my childhood, but the fact is that it just got easier to ignore when I was no longer stuck in the middle of it.

As horrible as the violence perpetrated against women in our country is, however, the sad fact is that that violence is merely a symptom of a much larger problem within our society – our persistent hypocrisy when it comes to the promise ‘we the people’ made to ourselves, first in our Declaration Of Independence, and later on in the U.S. Constitution, to submit ourselves to the rule of law when it comes to settling our disputes.

To quote from someone who should be a shining example for any downtrodden person, especially women who are sick of always having their rights take a back seat to the rights of men

“The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A — and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational.” (Atlas Shrugged)

To violate man’s rights means to compel him to act against his own judgment, or to expropriate his values. Basically, there is only one way to do it: by the use of physical force. There are two potential violators of man’s rights: the criminals and the government. The great achievement of the United States was to draw a distinction between these two — by forbidding to the second the legalized version of the activities of the first.

The Declaration of Independence laid down the principle that “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.” This provided the only valid justification of a government and defined its only proper purpose: to protect man’s rights by protecting him from physical violence.

Thus the government’s function was changed from the role of ruler to the role of servant. The government was set to protect man from criminals — and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government. The Bill of Rights was not directed against private citizens, but against the government — as an explicit declaration that individual rights supersede any public or social power.

The result was the pattern of a civilized society which — for the brief span of some hundred and fifty years — America came close to achieving. A civilized society is one in which physical force is banned from human relationships — in which the government, acting as a policeman, may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use.

This was the essential meaning and intent of America’s political philosophy, implicit in the principle of individual rights. But it was not formulated explicitly, nor fully accepted nor consistently practiced.

Quotes from the essay, “Man’s Rights”, by Ayn Rand
Included in her book, “The Virtue Of Selfishness”

Now I know that, for many of you, the mere mention of Ayn Rand’s name evokes a kind of ‘mental fog’ – a closing of the blinds over your minds eye. Before the blinds are fully closed however, let me just remind you that the explanation for our persistent hypocrisy – of our continued breaking from “the pattern of a civilized society” – lies in the last sentence of that quote. Until we do have an explicitly formulated, fully accepted, and consistently practiced way of eliminating violence from our society, we will always find ourselves just paying lip service to the cries of the abused.

And we wonder why the rest of the world treats us as doing just that, paying hypocritical lip service to their cries for freedom, from the same kinds of violence they see us turning a blind eye to over here…

American Psychological Association Resources

Partner Violence: What Can You Do?

Domestic Violence Resources

I want ice water.

More from the Random Ravings volume

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