Violence begets violence


The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. … Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

An early version of the speech as published in A Martin Luther King Treasury (1964), p. 173, has : “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate…”

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4 Responses

  1. . . a lesson unlearned – especially by the Western war-mongers

    Like

  2. I believe, but I lament the lack of believers.

    Like

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