Culture of Violence?

Grace Durbin, a fellow blogger on WordPress and writer for Elitedaily, published a piece back in November on the state of violence in ourculture of violence country. The first half of her post records her pregnancy, her partner abandoning her, then the birth of her now 1-year-old daughter, followed by the epiphany of living in a  “culture of violence”.  What would she do if something tragic happened to her? Who would care for her young daughter? As she witnesses, reads, and hears about young girls being sexually assaulted, young men, like Mike Brown, who “hit the ground in a storm of unmerited violence” and boys like Tamir Rice, she can only conclude that her daughter’s life is imminently threatened by this “culture of violence”. She says “Police officers gun down our children and then justify it”. We have a “culture of violence” and “a tolerance of injustice” she tells us.

Durbin surely has a left-leaning mentality but is well intentioned in her fight against problems that plague our society With that said, I want to address her notion of a “culture of violence”. It is all too common to speak about diverse behaviors in our society as a “culture”. For example, a “culture of violence”, a “rape culture”, “drug culture”, “misogynist culture” (which has started the “war on women”) and so on. Social ills get lumped into a kind of  “culture”. There’s a reason for this.

A culture is the sum total of shared behaviors and commonalities between a particular group of people. Therefore, their activity and active lives with one another set the apart from other groups (multiculturalism seeks to over throw this by merging all cultures into one, larger conglomerate). A culture informs the people of a group on various standards, principals, and guidelines in order to function in a given society. If one were  some how disjointed from his cultural rearing, it would be almost impossible to interact in that given society. He would feel foreign and others would see him as a foreigner. The patterns of behavior, mannerism, customs, and minutest details of culture are so ingrained within us that it is hard to even be consciously aware of these at times. Culture is a strong basis in the formation of identity (multiculturalism splinters identity by suggesting that different sources of conflicting cultural information can be received without any problem whatsoever).

In a diverse or plural society, a common culture above all inhabitants, guiding them like a star, is obviously absent. Shaking hands is just one of many ways we greet people; it can never be the de facto way we greet people in a diversified society. Each path a person decides to take is simply another form of human expression and is equally valuable in the way of human perfection and happiness. This is the very essential nature of a diverse society. No common avenue can monopolize a group of people; there has to be many different streets and winding roads (all of which end at the same place). The trick though is that these “paths” are being made as the individual walks them. They are never truly set. This is called  the “creativity” of the human spirit. This creativity in conjunction with individual autonomy is the recipe for self -determination (as Mark Richardson, from Oz Conservative calls it). What this means is each person decides for himself what the meaning of his life is and nothing/no one has any authority in that very sacred experience (if you don’t believe me, try and tell someone else they are wrong or suggest to them another way of living and you will find yourself condemned). Thus, happiness is completely and utterly left to the human will and spirit – having no meaning apart from this – and the means by which a person achieves happiness is set to the person himself.

But this raises a problem. Under Modern Liberalism, societies are becoming more “diversified”. What you get is a plurality of lifestyles ( and this certainly opens the door to call everything a “culture”). However, not every choice can be called good, even Liberals accept this. It is clear that rape is a serious crime, that drugs are destructive, and violence is rising on the home front and around the globe. Should the Liberal be consistent and accept responsibility for this? After all, personal choice is a reflection of autonomy and creativity. Liberals are wise to have a kind of “safe word” if you will. Before things get too awful, personal choice and autonomy can only be respected so long as it does not disrupt the “journey” of other self-determining agents. For this reason, we have law and human rights. “Rights” protect the individual in their pursuit of self-created meaning. That’s what life is all about, right? Imagine a local baker refusing his service to a gay couple wanting to wed. His disapproval of their choice is wrong, because it violates their “rights”. But what else can that mean except that he has suggested there is way people ought to live whether they like it or not?

The conundrum is this: The individual is the most fundamental and sacred thing in a society; individual will is the source of meaning in a persons life. They must be protected from others (institutions included) who would seek to violate this and thereby control them.  But not every choice an individual makes is respectable or worth upholding. Thus, law and “rights” are interpreted as those things that protect each individual from each other, inasmuch as those choices would hurt the other(thereby isolating those kind of choices as disagreeable to the liberal experiment). But what makes this violation “wrong” or “bad”. What standard does a Liberal have, if the most fundamental and sacred thing is the individual and their will? That is the problem. Liberal egalitarianism means respecting every instantiation of human expression (so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else). We cannot respect every choice for obvious reasons. Liberals are hard pressed to answer why choices that violate the “rights” of others are “wrong”.

This brings us back the topic of “culture”. One way Liberals deal with this inconsistency is by displacing personal or individual responsibility and replacing it with “culture”. This does not mean that the person goes unpunished or unattended though; however, the popularity of explaining away problems through “culture” is clearly on the rise. Nobody questions the experiment of modern Liberalism when a young man rapes someone (i.e. it can’t be this obsession with personal freedom and a doing-what-you-please-all-the-time mentality that causes any problems) ; it’s due to “misogynist culture” and the “war on women”. Sure, the young man must face a judge. But how do we stop rape? We certainly don’t place the blame on the young man, at least no entirely; we attack this abstract thing called “misogynist culture” for influencing our young men with erroneous ideas that compel them toward this behavior. When a drug addict cannot escape his addiction, we take him away from the “Drug culture” that has compelled him to behave this way.   People are not entirely or even majorly responsible for their behavior; it is caused and created by factors apart from their will.  As long as extraneous factors play a large part in the decision making process of the individual, they are not free in their “creativity” and determination of meaning in their life (as any good Liberal will tell us). Thus, a very popular way the Liberal thinks he saves himself from inconsistency and submitting to the idea that inherent qualities might play a role in who and what people are and do, they demarcate a plethora of different “cultures” responsible for all the “bad” behavior. Instead the individual being blamed in any serious or genuine way, culture is a way to substitute this and thereby surpass the problem of morally wrong choices an individual makes.

Liberals are wrong though. There is no ethereal thing (“culture”) that exists out there secretly influencing people to do things against their precious little wills (the implication being if there weren’t these diabolical “cultures” out there, nobody would be living like this). Culture is just the way we describe the habits and patterns of behavior of a given group of people; it comes to exist because a group of people, through custom, tradition, myth, and behavior create that culture. If people kill each other with guns, they do not do so because of a “culture of violence”;  a culture of violence emerges because groups of people are becoming more violent (and violence then becomes normalized). If people are addicted, they’re not addicted because a “drug culture” made them this way; the popularity of drugs emerges because more people are using drugs as a norm. It is true that once culture is established it comes to inform those brought up under it. But Liberals are one-sided with culture: they choose to see it as a powerful influence while ignoring that people are responsible for the very existence of a culture. . A “culture of violence” and “black culture” protect kids like Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin who rob stores and threaten police officers (and likewise, saying “white culture” is the problem with white people ignores the possibility that white people may in fact, by their very nature, be more inclined towards a destructive and oppressive ambition). Treating culture like this diverts our attention from the responsibility of a group, and even the possible qualities and inherent propensities of a group, because we think the “culture” makes them behave this way. Thus, if we can change the “culture” we can help the people oppressed by it (and thus we find all kinds of government agencies that seek to do just that). But once again, treating culture like this is backwards. The group of people are responsible for their culture; culture is not responsible for them. People do not like to entertain this idea because it does not fit neatly with modern liberal egalitarianism (it suggests that bad things can and do often come about through the will and choices of individuals and groups of individuals). It also suggests that some groups of people are better off than others (which definitely explains the mass immigration of Hispanics, Blacks, and Arabs into white countries).

I disagree with the sentiment that these “cultures” are responsible for the way people behave. People are responsible for the existence and sustenance of their culture. It is a reflection of those people. Whatever “cultures” we find in a society are directly related to what people in that society allow (and so it is more a testament of choice than a person being influenced and coerced to choose).

8 thoughts on “Culture of Violence?

  1. I don’t wish to incorrectly paraphrase, so I am quoting you directly:

    “Once again, as I have said time and again, we must rectify the mistake of creating a multicultural and plural society which gives way to calling everything a “culture” and protects the individual from any possibility of choosing wrongly.”

    It is a mistake to have multicultural and plural society?? I had to re-read that several times to make sure I read it correctly. Are you suggesting everyone should think the same, and act the same, and behave like good little automatons?

    Your Utopia might work if everyone had the same, unified, enriched upbringing. I suppose it would be much easier then, to sort the ‘bad eggs’ from the good, as everyone would have had the same start in life. Unfortunately we do not live in a world of fairies and unicorns, where all children are treated equally. You have valid points here, but you are minimizing a very real truth. Some disenfranchised people have very few resources to achieve the point of view that you hold. Perhaps finding a way to close the gap between the two camps is a start.

    I truly mean no disrespect, but your young, white, conservative, male privilege is showing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Firstly, “Utopia” is not an accurate way of describing what I’ve proposed and discussed thus far in my blog posts. If you think this, then it must be the case that societies of the past, as far back as the Persians, Mongolians, Egyptians, etc were all operating and functioning in Utopian societies. But nobody, including myself, thinks this. All these societies had a dominant, common culture and this no doubt had a part in making these nations great.

      No, I’m no suggesting that everyone be alike – Liberals do that in the name of egalitarianism. I’m suggesting that a nation has a historical and existential relation to a particular group of people, and these people, their way of life, their culture, comes to define that nation and gives it a meaning. Multiculturalism destroys this. It neutralizes the identity of a nation and effectively makes it everyone’s. But is it? What kind of problems might this bring, with groups like ISIS and other foreigners, that hate America and its existence? Surprisingly, it brings more violence. Isn’t that what you all are concerned with? America, whether you want to admit this or not, has a historical connection with European people and their rich achievements. Is everyone required to believe in this? No, of course not. You could potentially leave this nation for one more suitable to your liking. You could observe and think certain things in the privacy of your home. But suggesting your thoughts and beliefs, that may be inconsistent with the culture of European people, or Western Civilization if you prefer, are just as valuable and should be recognized as such is problematic for reasons I have been dealing with in my blog thus far.

      Allowing people to think like this is largely part of this problem. Immigrants come here and reap the benefits of a culture that has been successful in many ways but with no expectation to assimilate. Thus, the crime of immigrant culture, errant ways of behaving and thinking, clash with ours… but as multiculturalism grows it becomes increasingly hard for us to address this without being called “privileged” or “racist” or “bigot” since clearly people who want to preserve their cultural and national identity can’t be anything but those things when they want to conserve and protect something good from the advances being made upon it by other groups that mean to see it end.


  2. okay / so we are going to rely on the meaning of culture and take that word and run with it? so here is the meaning in wordy technical jargon.

    the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
    that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
    a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period:
    Greek culture.
    development or improvement of the mind by education or training.
    the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group:
    the youth culture; the drug culture.
    Anthropology. the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.
    the cultivation of microorganisms, as bacteria, or of tissues, for scientific study, medicinal use, etc.
    the product or growth resulting from such cultivation.

    thing is, the whole WORLD is made of cultures, yes, and each one is special, yes, however, almost all cultures are condoning violence and indifference and yes the world of all our ‘cultures’ are falling apart. Is every single person in all different cultures a violent person? NO but on the whole, shall I say, I would agree we as a society are getting out of hand, and forgetting our intelligence, our hearts, and we are looking the other way. It’s easier right? I’ve got my own life to live, right? What Uncommon Graces is trying to say is that if we don’t get a handle on this mess, we as a WORLD are in a big mess of crap, and we had better wake up soon or else? and who created this mess? Well we all did, by indifference, by the justice system, by hatred, racism, oh gee the list is endless. So okay ‘culture’ was maybe not the correct work to be all inclusive, but I would say ‘society in general’….how is that? Want to chew that up and spit it out too?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Since this is my blog, I reserve the right to remove your response. I will not tolerate your emotional hostility. If you want to issue a criticism here, do so with better structuralizing and a calmer demeanor please.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are so ignorant about so many things. As someone who sees a counselor and is a Social Work major I can tell you that counseling and similar treatments and practices do not aim to remove blame from the victim. They still acknowledge accountability. But they examine factors that may have made someone more prone to make a bad or wrong decision. We do not advocate the idea, however, that that makes people’s actions any less their fault. The role of these practices is to take these factors make the client aware of them and help them improve themselves. Like it or not, while people make their own decisions and ultimately are responsible for them, there are factors that affect these decisions, whether they be environmental, psychological, emotional, mental, physical, social, economic, racial, cultural, ethnic, communitary, situational, biological, genetic, or financial. Neither responsibility or these factors can be denied. I have bipolar disorder. At the onset of it when I was undiagnosed, I made a lot of regrettable decisions. Does that mean that I deserve no blame for these decisions? Absolutely not. But do I deserve to get help to help me be a better person? Absolutely. I went into therapy, started seeing a specialist and was eventually diagnosed. It came as a surprise. I continued therapy and started taking medication. I am almost completely rehabilitated and stable now. Why wouldn’t we want people to get help that would make them better people? Wouldn’t better people make a better society? Please do some research on your topics before you just spew information that isn’t true. And whether you like it or not, the overarching things that Grace mentioned are serious issues our society faces. You should read more of her stuff.


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