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Huxley and Orwell on Violence

Aldous Huxley: 'the results of violence are the formation of a habit of brutality and a growing determination to retain power by even the foulest means - the more violence, the less revolution'.

«La violència pot solament produir com a resultat més violència; allà on és emprada durant un període llarg es forma un hàbit de violència i es fa extremament difícil, per als qui en són responsables, de fer marxa enrera». Citat per Trueta

The longer violence has been used, the more difficult do the users find it to perform compensatory acts of non-violence. 
A tradition of violence is formed: men come to accept a scale of values according to which acts of violence are reckoned heroic and virtuous. When this happens, as it happened, for example, with the Vikings and the Tartars, as the dictators seem at present to to be trying to make it happen Germans, Italians, and Russians, there is little prospect that the effects of violence will ... 

To carry through a social reform which, in the given historical circumstances, will create so much opposition as to necessitate the use of violence is criminally rash, For the chances are that any reform which requires violence for its imposition will not only fail to produce the good results anticipated, but will actually make matters worse than before. Violence, as we have seen, can produce only the effects of violence; these effects can be undone only by compensatory non-violence after the event; where violence has been used for a long period, a habit of violence is formed and it becomes exceedingly difficult for the perpetrators of violence to reverse their policy. Moreover, the results of violence are far-reaching beyond the wildest dreams of the often well-intentioned people who resort to it. (p. 31)

... In the circumstances of our age, most movements of revolutionary violence are likely to be suppressed instantaneously; in cases where the revolutionaries are well equipped with modern arms, the movement will probably turn into a long and stubbornly disputed civil war, as was the case in Spain. The chances that any change for the better will result from such a civil war are exceedingly small. Violence will merely produce the ordinary results of violence and the last state of the country will be worse than the first. This being so,
non-violence presents the only hope of salvation. But, in order to resist the assaults of a numerous and efficient police, or, in the case of foreign invasion, of soldiers, non-violent movements will have to be well organized and widely spread. The regression from humanitarianism, characteristic of our age, will probably resuk in manifestations of non-violent resistance being treated with a severity more ruthless than that displayed by most governments in recent times. Such severities can only be answered by great numbers and great devotion. Confronted by huge masses determined not to co-operate and equally determined
not to use violence, even the most ruthless dictatorship is nonplussed.
 (p. 179)

A country where, as in Spain, there is a tradition of civil strife, is far more liable to civil strife than one in which there exists a long habit of peaceful co-operation. (p. 20)

in Huxley, Aldous. Ends and Means: An Inquiry into the Nature of Ideals and into the Methods Employed for their Realization. New York: Harper, 1937. (p. 31)

Orwell: If one harbours anywhere in one's mind a nationalistic loyalty or hatred, certain facts, although in a sense known to be true, are inadmissible. Here are just a few examples. I list below five types of nationalist, and against each I append a fact which it is impossible for that type of nationalist to accept, even in his secret thoughts:
BRITISH TORY: Britain will come out of this war with reduced power and prestige.
COMMUNIST. If she had not been aided by Britain and America, Russia would have been defeated by Germany.
IRISH NATIONALIST. Eire can only remain independent because of British protection.
TROTSKYIST. The Stalin regime is accepted by the Russian masses.
PACIFIST. Those who "abjure" violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.

This organic relationship between means and ends, stressed by such modern writers as John Dewey, Aldous Huxley, and Jacques Maritain, would appear to be almost obvious. But so 
accustomed are we to responding to aggressive conduct by counteraggression and to violence by counterviolence that we lose sight of the general principle in practice. This is true not only when we resort to such overt violence as war and the threat of war but also when we employ tactics of deception, misrepresentation, and evasion in political discussion. The central value of non-violence is respect for truth, as Gandhi, Thoreau, Tolstoy, and many others have pointed out; and to the degree in which truth is esteemed lightly in our political conduct, overt violence lurks near. 

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