Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"A Difficult Subject"

"For good or ill, violence has been a common agent of historical change almost everywhere; it occurs at decisive moments even in the history of those nations that have otherwise enjoyed long periods of gradual and relatively peaceful change. While we may find violence undesirable, we can hardly find it unnatural. The United States, even with its considerable record of violence, appears not as some mutant monster among the peoples of the world but rather as a full-fledged and somewhat boisterous member of the fellowship of human frailty. What is most exceptional about the Americans is not the voluminous record of their violence, but their extraordinary ability, in the face of that record, to persuade themselves that they are among the best-behaved and best-regulated of peoples."

The Baffler publishes Richard Hofstadter's 1970 essay "Reflections on Violence in the United States."

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