The overwhelming majority of the violence in the world today is what Galtung

The overwhelming majority of the violence in the

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The overwhelming majority of the violence in the world today is
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what Galtung has labeled "structural violence" - roughly, the point is that far greater harm is done to people as the result of complex social forces than by individual actors . And in my view it is a scandal of philosophy that this is not a central issue in applied moral and political philosophy. (Of course there are philosophers who address such things. But I doubt that anyone could claim that such work is generally treated as central to philosophy.) Consider racism: enormous harm is done to African American people and the African American community by the complex effects of the illegalization of drugs by federal and state governments, the prison system (including both federal and state bureaucracies and private institutions together with their armies of lobbyists and the political system that embraces both ), the enduring wealth disparities between black and white in the US, the bureaucratization of policing that encourages easy arrests (hence generally of poor folks), the lack of aid to families with members in prison, lax funding of drug treatment, the way that jobs are allocated on the basis of whether one has a history in prison, the US foster care system, etc. The overall harm of this complex system is vastly greater than the combined harm of every hate group, explicit racist, etc. And it can go on without anyone having ill intent. The structural violence of the prison- industrial-governmental-police ... complex can go one without anyone wanting to imprison disproportionate numbers of African Americans, or setting out with policies having that goal. Similar points could be made about the millions of deaths each year from poverty, or the ongoing destruction of our environment, or, indeed, the creeping police state conditions of our society . These are the pressing moral concerns of our time. People dying in the tens of millions from poverty and preventable disease, massive social destruction as a result of policing, and an impending environmental disaster. Since none of these require ill-intent, or projects directly designed to do evil, it simply follows that if we want to address these concerns seriously, we need to think about forms of support other than explicit endorsement that our actions give to these systems. The “rule of law” has empirically pacified the public in order to uphold existing structural inequalities - challenging the state is key Gilreath 14 Gilreath, associate professor of women’s gender and sexuality studies, 2014 (Shannon, associate professor of law as well, Wake Forest University “THE INTERNET AND INEQUALITY: A COMMENT ON THE NSA SPYING SCANDAL” August 15 2014, ) To some extent, one struggling against the surveillance State feels as if he is in the position of "shouting against the wind." The sense of futility is often as great as the sense of urgency.
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