Inquiry 24 (1):21 – 57 (1981)
I discuss the justification of political violence even within democracies. I define ?violence? and indicate how its evaluative force sometimes has conceptually distorting effects. Though acts of violence are at least prima facie wrong, circumstances can arise where, even in democracies, some of them are morally justified. To establish this, three paradigm cases of non?revolutionary political violence are examined. The question is then discussed whether revolutionary violence is ever justified as a means of establishing or promoting human freedom and happiness. I state the conditions which must be satisfied for such violence to be justified and argue that sometimes these conditions have been satisfied. Finally I argue that discussions of violence are frequently confused by ideological mystification and attempt to go some way towards revealing the sources of that mystification
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