Saturday, July 30, 2016

Violence Has No Place In Our Movement

At a time in history where various social justice movements are gaining rapid momentum, the question of the use of violence inevitably arises.  That is, under what circumstances, if any, is violence of any kind acceptable as a protest tactic?  While I am not a full-blown pacifist (for example, I believe in the use of physical force in cases of absolute and immediate self-defense, and no "duty to retreat" when one is truly cornered), and I will leave it an open question as to how "self-defense" is defined and whether or not violence has a place other social justice movements, I will say that I do NOT believe that violence as a protest tactic has any place in the movement to lower the drinking age or the broader youth-rights movement in general.  Period.

I'm sure some of us, young and old alike, may fantasize at times about using violence against police and judges who enforce the vile and ageist abomination that is the 21 drinking age and its ancillary laws that prop it up.  And you know what?  You are perfectly justified in your fantasies, and your grievances are absolutely NOT trivial.  I am the last person who would try to gaslight you in that regard.  But when one decides to act out those fantasies in the misguided hopes of redressing those very real grievances, that becomes a serious problem for our movement.  Most of us in the movement are non-violent, and any violence committed in the name our movement only gives ammunition to the other side, confirming ageist stereotypes and hardly makes us look like we are mature enough to drink at 18 or any other age for that matter.  Thus, adding violent tactics to our movement is far more likely to backfire than it would in other movements.

I am not against the use of non-violent civil disobedience, by the way.  But when it comes to aggressive, offensive physical force against law enforcement, judges, politicians, or even MADD for that matter, I will say this to any potential "lone wolves" considering such "propaganda by deed":  NOT IN OUR NAME!

As Gandhi would say, "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".  And as I like to say, when you fight fire with fire, we all get burned in the end.  Keep that in mind when protesting or debating.


  1. Is this because I said I was going to make an ashtray out of Candy Lightner's skull?

    1. As a matter of fact, it was. But I know you were just being facetious. That said, nowadays some people might take that kind of shit seriously, and I really don't want that on my conscience if someone thinks that Twenty-One Debunked encourages or condones such violent acts.

  2. The side which supports a drinking age of 21 is a bigoted side. We in the movement to lower the drinking age to 18 should always be assertive and mentally strong in defending the civil rights and civil liberties of young adults. There are too many ageist bigots in this country and we cannot let them win this fight.