But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

Pacifism Breeds Violence


There two obvious extremes of self-defense:

  • Sociopaths like neocons, who want to kill other people “just in case”
  • Pacifists, who will not even defend their own lives

Of the two, it’s more widely understood that the sociopaths are wrong, and cause violence where none may otherwise have occurred.

But what’s often overlooked is that the pacifists, too, actually cause violence and death.

I know, it’s counter-intuitive…the truth often is, because the world’s more complicated than slogans like “non-violence equals peace”.

In real life, people who refuse to defend human life accomplish two things:

  • They cheapen life. Their actions state that life is not worth defending. They would rather they, or others around them, die, than sully themselves with taking action to protect the innocent.
  • They make violence safe and easy. There are no consequences in assaulting a pacifist. No risk of getting hurt, no cost in harming others.

Now anyone who wants to be a pacifist should be allowed to do so, even though it actually brings more risk to those around them, as any known pacifist is not a factor in whether to attack someone near them…

When you don't defend yourself, or others who seek it, you make unjust violence safer to commit

When you do not defend your life, or others around you, unjust violence becomes cheaper and safer to commit, and you are saying that life does not have as much value as your selfish belief

It’s unfortunate that pacifists are often hypocrites, though, who wish those around them to be forced to be pacifistic, themselves. They advocate bans on self defense, whether weapons or defensive violence, and want those bans backed by a government that enforces its bans with, of all things, threat of violence.

If you insist on owning a gun, or fighting someone who is robbing an innocent person nearby, even though some pacifist-advocated law bans you doing so, how will the government enforce that ban? Fines and imprisonment. If you refuse to comply with those penalties, what will it threaten in order to get you to submit? Violence.

So let’s count that as THREE ways pacifists often violence: They cheap life, they make violence safe and easy, and they often recruit governments to use the threat of violence to force pacifism upon others.

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December 3, 2008 Posted by | Philosophy, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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