We ignore objective violence and that may be why we deny climate change. People are always aware of subjective violence: a car accident, a crime of passion or envy. Objective violence is violence caused by the collective action (or inaction) of people. It is almost the background to our lives but is of interest to sociologist one might think. The violence caused by the natural world may be put in the category of divine violence, a violence regarding which people have little or no control. Volcanic eruptions, a meteor striking Earth remain divine violence. Scientists have been able to parse the difference between the two kinds of violence so that we know that objective violence is the cause of climate change and not divine violence. Of course, those most responsible for the violence are those who rule and those who rule are elite capitalists who maintain the system we have.
An example of objective violence is poverty. Whether a culture wishes to acknowledges the violence it perpetrates on poor people or not, poverty is violence. In a just world, a culture could be convicted to such violence. If one isn’t poor, one avoids thinking of the stress alone on a life with which poverty burdens one. Think of finding a job without the appropriate transportation, wardrobe; think about attending school hungry, with a home-life focused on survival (rent and meals) while one or two parents patch an income among several jobs if they are lucky. Think about the humiliation in every social encounter outside the poor community one lives in. Think about the crime and intimidation one is victim to almost daily. Think about the lack of nutrition in the available foods that one can afford in local stores. Think about the temptation to give up, to find “illegal” ways to survive.
The situation of the poor person is one of a victim to violence from an uncaring, unsharring society that is able to tap all phones, create apps, and fly drones for killing but can’t resist perpetrating violence in its midst, in its own society. The objective violence of poverty has a function however for those in power. The rest of the culture depends on the poor performing these below subsistence jobs and on these people simply being victims of the violence. Their function is one of warning to working and middle classes: “Don’t go there. Submit and do as is suggested without mistake or ill health and you may avoid these people, this fate.”