In Defense of Self-Defense (and all that entails)  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

By voicing my opinion that deadly force is justified in the defense of life or even removal of threats from society, I received counter-opinions that killing can never be justified no matter what. I understand where these mind-sets come from, and I admire them, and the code of conduct that I have chosen to abide by also states that violence is a no-no, just like the ten commandments and various other religious laws are SUPPOSED to prohibit.

But this is the real world we live in, and the practice of non-violence under ALL circumstances goes against nature.

Yes, I can see the shock and disbelief in your eyes, but it is really quite straightforward and rational when you think about it. Since the first multi-cellular life forms first appeared in the oceans of this Earth, it's been blob-eat-blob, graduating with evolution later to the now famous dog-eat-dog. Life sustains itself for the most part by feeding upon living things different, or even similar, to itself. Thus, we have predators, we have prey, and everything in between. That is simply a fact of life and no amount of fluffy bunny denial is going to change it.

However, as mammals evolved into greater apes that could think outside the box, we actually were given the gift of actually being able to CHOOSE how we sustained ourselves, how we protected our own against predation, and even how to protect ourselves from each other. A man could choose to live in harmony with his peers or he could flout civilized dictates and prey on his fellow man, and as such could also be faced with the circumstances of doing so. Thus, we have criminals of all stripes, up to and including murderers. And, we seem to always be faced with armies of peoples wishing to do us harm or at least conquer us, killing many of us in the process as we attempt to thwart their desires. Death amongst this so-called superior species is as common as it is further down the food chain.

As we evolve into superior forms of society and government, we turn more and more of the responsibility for our protection over to police and military, but even then we are faced with those within our ranks who still wish to do us harm. The law and the police who are charged to enforce it, however, is reactive rather than proactive, that is, they can only hold those who harm us accountable AFTER the fact, which for us individually comes a little late. Thus, we still are tasked with our own safety, and we can choose to either leave ourselves open to predation, or we can choose to be ready to fight off those who would attack us.

Some would suggest that ethics or spiritual law direct us to never cause harm to another no matter what the circumstance. Jesus is most famous for this by declaring that if one strikes you, you turn the other cheek and offer them more target. Gandhi spent his whole life promoting non-violent protest, as did Martin Luther King. These were good people, with good intentions, no doubt, but I dare say that the best these fine folks could offer us are best-case scenarios of how we should strive to live. If none of us defended ourselves, there would be precious few of us left to strive for anything of value, spiritual or otherwise.

So, as a follower of a Nature-based religion, I strive to live in this world making as little negative impact upon it as I possibly can. I would never dream of assaulting another human being during the daily course of my life, even in anger, for mere anger is no justification for harming another. However, I am a pragmatist, if anything, and I dare suggest that there are selected circumstances in which harming another is fully justified, and I dare say necessary, in order for us to be able to live in a world in which we CAN practice our ethical and spiritual best-case living standard.

The first is in self-defense. Rationally, one must NEVER submit to attack if one is at all able to defend themselves, for not only are you handing over your safety or even life for no good reason, but you encourage those who prey on others to continue to do so to others, so in that regard you CONTRIBUTE to the harm of others if you do not attempt to stop this harm being perpetrated on YOU. The second is for purpose of societal safety, which includes using deadly force to stop a crazy person from attacking innocent people or using whatever force is necessary to bring a criminal to justice. Now, this does NOT mean that I support the death penalty in total, since it seems we can't count on our criminal justice system to accurately judge the guilt or innocence of the accused in our society, at least for those crimes which have not been committed out in the open in front of the whole world as witness. Until such time that we stop allowing prosecutors to railroad people onto death row on flimsy evidence and tainted juries, I cannot support a death penalty in that context. I CAN, however, support the execution of murderers whose guilt cannot be challenged by any rational standard, like the man on the bus who knifed the kid in Canada. What good is supposed to come from paying a good fifty years worth of room and board and control for this kind of creature, when we already have trouble paying for social programs for those deserving help and kindness? When is the last time we put rabid dogs or bad bears into prison to live out their last days? Are they really no less worthy? Why does your spiritual mandate not extend to them?

Non-violence is a powerful tool when used to protest injustice within a framework where such tactics will shine shame upon those who promote the injustice, and the appropriate pressures can be applied to these people by institutions within or without of said society. The British felt the brunt of this condemnation by the world as a whole, thus in time were forced by even their own good conscience to end their colonial rule of India. Martin Luther King did not receive any pity from your average white Southerner, as they suffered from a deep societal sickness that made their own sin so opaque to them, but the rest of the country was effected to such an extent that even the institutional bigotry of the deep South was tempered by the shame of it all. Thus, non-violent protest finds it's place, and can be effective, if not immediately, but ultimately.

There IS no place for sacrifice to predation. If you wish to feed evil, then you do well to encourage such behavior by providing no consequence for it. Even now, America provides no consequence to the Chinese for human rights violations, not as long as our favored children such as Walmart can find great profit in this kind of capitalistic dictatorship. There will ALWAYS be bad people doing bad things throughout the world as long as their own societies do not have the will or resources to make such behaviors unprofitable.

Here at Pendragon Hold, and anywhere within my own personal sphere of influence, I will not submit to attacks upon my person, or upon those I love. To do so would only visit such evil upon others, for it would not stop with me if I allowed this unrealistic and naive philosophy to rule my thinking. I will NOT pass it on. It stops HERE, the Gods willing.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at Wednesday, August 06, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

5 slick comments


I absolutely believe in defense of self, loved ones, and innocents. Which doesn't mean I'd smoke a burglar unless I felt life was at risk.

August 6, 2008 at 4:47 PM

Love does not imply pacifism.
And sometimes, we must use the master's tools to dismantle the master's house.
I think you've got it nailed, Michael.

Terri in Joburg

August 9, 2008 at 10:02 AM

TY Terri. As those accountable to the light, we need remain apart from the dark, but when the dark seeks us out, we must shine the light upon it or be engulfed by it. You either stand against it or fall, there IS no alternative which allows balance, for darkness does not seek balance.

August 9, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Say it loud and say it proud.

Someone comes into my home or car and tries to do me bodily damage I will respond in force times three. Do the same to my family and similar albeit less physical responses will ensue. And call it the result of what they sent out and me responding to the law of the universe in threes.

Try to harm me I will at the very least banish your sad and sorry ass.

I'm so right there with you.

I was reading something in Raven Grimassi's "Spirit of the Witch" last night on just this subject, an older version of the Rede, and feel a post of my own coming but until then...

"Lest in thy self-defense it be, ever mind the rule of three..."

Darn tooting. Harm me and pay the consequences. I have no hesitation in protecting me and mine.

August 11, 2008 at 8:19 PM

Since I was one of the dissenters, I'll just say that I stand by my belief that violence begets violence, and only love can conquer hate. I'm not suggesting that you stand there beaming at someone as he or she knifes you - that would be foolish. But that's not what you were posting about. You were advocating the allowance of concealed weapons. Guns are agresson cues. I believe that having people carrying them would only foster aggression in our society.

August 12, 2008 at 5:11 PM

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