The Washington Post has a great article on why the left gave up violence. The two first are basicially that it is counter-productive, and that there are better ways to get change. Te other however, is much more interesting, and worthy of much thought:
The third and most important reason for giving up violence can be found in the new makeup of the American left. Emerging out of the rubble of the 1960s, the modern left, which coalesced around George McGovern’s quixotic 1972 presidential run, effectively represented a gathering of fugitives. African Americans, Hispanics, women, gay men and lesbians, Native Americans, and workers: These long-ostracized groups, which came to replace the New Deal coalition anchored by the white working class, were the very peoples against whom violence had been done for so long. Their painful histories made them instinctively averse to, and intolerant of, political violence. Those who had survived lynchings, beatings, bombings, sexual violence, forced removals and economic exploitation were least disposed to employ them in return. In 1972, those groups were often on the far left, but they eventually became the spine of Barack Obama’s electoral coalition.
Even while the fringes of the left were drawn to violence by overwhelming frustration (not to mention FBI provocateurs), most were profoundly ambivalent, probably in major part for these reasons.
It occurs to me that the only way the right seems to have to respond to those whose claims and philosophy has been shaped in part by a family history of being at the very least at risk of being victims, is to embrace their own victim-hood — and the facts just do not support those beliefs.
This also suggests that the left might be better than we fear at reaching out to the right self-perceived victims on the basis of common “victimhood.” At a minimum, in individual conversations, those on the left can tell stories that might create some sense of sympathy. Of course, the sociopaths (like the Donald) will never feel any such empathy, but I simply refuse to believe that 30% are sociopaths.
And, a society built on an understanding of the risk of victimiztion would surely be a better one.