Why Men are Violent

An extraterrestrial visitor observing our species would likely be horrified at how violent human males are, in all societies, past and present.

Perhaps one day humans will encounter an alien civilization with a reproductive scheme consisting of one, two — (or more?) — genders that live in perfect harmony. Instead of learning from them, however, I’m certain we will attempt to subjugate and kill their species. (A suitable pretext will be provided, of course.)

Violence is destructive, morally wrong, and mostly indefensible. Men most often commit it, and they victimize everyone: women, children, and mostly other men. Its cause is biological — murder and rape are extreme manifestations of male aggression, which in turn is a product of evolution. And evolution doesn’t care about human happiness.

The tribe that conquers the neighboring tribe wins. Consider that one in 200 men are direct descendants of Genghis Khan — a Darwinian success story.

Aggression can be sublimated and channeled in positive ways, however: through competitiveness, risk-taking, restless ambition. Even if you could dampen the aggressive tendencies of humans (through, say, genetic engineering) you would likely remove an element that is essential for survival — an element which is also present in females.

Am I fatalistic? Yes I am. Violence may be minimized; but it will never be eliminated. Some societies are indeed peaceful and seldom in the grip of strife and war, but they seem the exceptions. Norway comes to mind, for example. Aren’t they progressive? Well, sure — but they are also the descendants of Vikings, whose very name means “go raid your neighbors.”


Anyway, this entry is straying off the path of my normal content.

Here is an early poetic effort of mine, which like all my poems, I’m not satisfied with. I decided to address a seemingly unsuitable topic. I thought that even if I didn’t succeed, I’d at least be the first person to write a poem about ancestral rape. It’s a perverse observation: if it weren’t for the rapists lurking in the branches of your family tree, you wouldn’t be here right now, reading this…



The intermingled tangle of all our family trees
Forms a forest ancient, grown from soiled seeds
To undo all the crimes our myriad mothers faced
Would erase the very lines we cannot hope to trace
My kinship with the monkey bothers not the least
He is merely animal, man is truly beast.