Self-defense paranoia & politics

One of the things that keeps cropping up in the Ukraine crisis is this theme of “self-defense forces” being established by the people who least need to defend themselves, usually because they make up 60-90% of the local population.

Of course, that’s a pattern that has been repeated over many decades all over many parts of the world. The empowered majority forms paranoid self-defense paramilitary groups and leagues for the unstated (or sometimes explicitly stated) purpose of defending themselves against imagined or wildly exaggerated threats coming from the nearby minority population.

That repetition of history includes the United States, even to present day. From the Klan of old to modern “neighborhood watch” groups in idyllic suburbs, the ruling racial or economic class in the U.S. has often formed organizations to offensively protect themselves from non-real threats from the minorities near their communities.

Past AFD guest contributor Chris Chinn actually wrote an interesting essay on that topic recently on his new practical martial arts blog, Fist of the South End. Here’s an excerpt:

The unfortunate part of the whole self defense scene in the US is that most of the people deeply into it are usually privileged folks who end up obsessing and projecting about when they’ll finally get to “show their skills”, which mostly ends up sounding like the usual militia/Ron Paul fears of a scary brown people attack or an 80s Charles Bronson film plot. The people least likely to be attacked spend a whole lot of time fantasizing about how awesome they’ll be when they are.

He notes that there are plenty of legitimate reasons to get into martial arts and self-defense, but his point still stands: a lot of people are in it for the wrong reasons. Some more unconsciously than others, of course.
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