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People Who Self Identify As Pacifists Are Dangerous


Another thread was being pulled off track, so rather than responding again in thread, I figured it would be better to continue the conversation ‘round these parts, instead. 😎

To be clear… this is not a core belief I find any more problematic than ‘drowning a sack full of kittens is wrong’ (or any other version of ‘anything/anyone else’s death is preferable to my own inconvenience’). But? Whilst I’m not looking to change my mind, I’m also perfectly open to discussing the topic. Any/All views welcome.

Original/Edited Quotes of mine (which was an example of things we look out for & avoid when forming/starting a relationship with someone IE just an example of personal preference).


I avoid anyone who self identifies as a pacifist, full stop. As I’ve never known more violent abusers, plural, than those who discount & justify their rage & violence as NOT rage/violence.

On the worst end of the spectrum (abusers) the only “peace” they care about is their own (no violence THEY inflict upon others “counts”),..as they discount and justify their rage & violence as NOT rage/violence.
Sort of middling is are people so terrified of violence inflicted upon themselves they never learn to control their own; so when they DO lose their tempers, they lash out with zero self control, not understanding their own strength, nor their effects on others, etc., as well as usually have little to no personal accountability. Blameshifting as baseline. The logic being “Because I’m a pacifist YOU MADE ME blah blah blah /// I WOULD NEVER so it’s ALL YOUR FAULT”.
The best side is they haven’t ever experienced anything worthy of violence. Like protecting a child from a predator, or in defence of their own lives. <<< Or they have, but discount and justify their violence as NOT violence.

<grin> So that’s me! // My opinion based off of my own experiences with self-identified pacifists.

ETA @Movingforward10 @whiteraven if either of you wanna kick it around some more without worry of thread jacking. If not? No worries!
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as one who has been cornered into extreme/justifiable violence which escalated into court ordered anger management, i hold my goal of pacifism as something close to sacred. it has been long enough since my last anger episode, that sometimes i feel safe calling myself, "a pacifist." or? ? ? i guess i shouldn't oughta be so brass ovaried around you, huh?

<chagrined> and that is me
i guess i shouldn't oughta be so brass ovaried around you, huh?
On the contrary. I happen to like opposing views, and openly held convictions. 🤠

i hold my goal of pacifism as something close to sacred
Question…. Does this mean if someone was attacking one of your grandchildren, you wouldn’t stop them?
@Friday! 😀

I still feel happy calling myself a pacifist.
And I don't see myself in your descriptions of your experience of pacifists.
I've experienced things that make me feel like I want to be violent. But I haven't been violent. And I hate violence.

And funny, yesterday at my Dad's funeral where people attended who have actively ignored me for decades and been quite hateful: I feel like I killed their hatefulness with kindness. Slightly off topic, as I wasn't going to be violent to them and they haven't been violent to me. But a show of how avoiding violence and having other ways of being: make me believe that I am a pacifist.

So I'm sticking with my self identification!
It just seems like a useless descriptor to me, at least when it comes to ideology. It's like saying "I'd rather not kill." Uh, yeah, most people wouldn't.

Barring the most suicidal, mentally ill, neurologically deficient among us if you put any adult human being (or, in my personal experience, any human being at all) in a situation where their life is threatened and their survival depends on violence they will be as brutal as required to escape the situation.

Look at any forensic evidence from murder victims. Often they're missing whole fingernails, broken bones etc. They often fight to that point. Most people who identify as pacifist are really saying they're pacifist to a point, and to me it's less about pacifism and more about signifying that you are capable of acting rationally. Get in an argument? I won't bash your brains in, I am a pacifist.

Committing to peace and non-violence is commendable but there are very few truly pacifistic human beings who would lay down and let someone else kill them in the name of ideology, and just because you aren't violent does not mean you aren't harmful. All that being said I tend to describe myself as a practical pacifist, AKA a regular person.
Does this mean if someone was attacking one of your grandchildren, you wouldn’t stop them?
a) i don't believe i can KNOW how i will react to an extreme situation until the situation is at hand. i lost faith in my soothsaying skills a while back, not even when the element i am trying to predict is myself. "if" is a flag word for me. while i was a mobile vengeance machine, i routinely iffed my way into psychotic breaks. get the if out of that scenario and then i will have something to talk about. maybe. back in the day, i was typically beyond verbal capacity when my fists started flying. my actions spoke louder than my words.
b) violence is no longer my go-to solution for anything. when violence WAS my go-to solution, i thought my way into jail more than once.

pacifism is but a goal in my life. goals are not accomplishments. accomplishments do not erase our human nature.
@Friday , those people don't sound like real pacifists, do they? I'm thinking that self identifying as a pacifist doesn't make you a pacifist anymore than self identifying as a Christian actually means you are. There's a lot of variations on the theme of liars, psychopaths, etc out there. They all tell a good story but not much of it is true.
One of the new books I bought is called "nonviolent communication" haven't touched it yet. Got other books on the list to read but I'm looking forward to it. I was called a diplomat once.

Hopefully I won't be judged to harshly on this thread. I will go to great extremes "not to be violent" and to talk to people and find reason between people.

That said...

If I needed to hurt someone, disable someone, kill another human being, then I would do it... and I would just get it done and sleep well that night.

Why do I feel clear about that in my head?

If it was me or them, if someone was hurting (attacking) another I cared about... the list could go on...

I've seen enough scary shit in life to know now that that is something inside of me on a primal level.

So I don't think I could call myself a pacifist.
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IMO, different situations call for different responses. Sometimes that means using violence, sometimes it can be handled without violence. The key is knowing when violence is/isn't necessary, and we are human so that's not exactly a straightforward process (lol).

Sometimes the nature of a conflict doesn't require violence, but if one of the parties is intent on using violence to a degree that is or could be life-threatening to assert their position, that sets the tone for the whole interaction and thus, violence may become necessary. Does that mean violence was needed in that situation? Yes and no. Do any conflicts, by nature, "require" violence? Right now, I don't know. I may come back to this when I've had more of a think.

I guess I think that as people we do have a tendency to jump to violence when it isn't needed (e.g., screaming at a bylaw officer who told you to leash your dog in the park). Pacifistic tenets/beliefs might be useful in these types of situations because the strong underlying belief that conflicts are better dealt with nonviolently could prevent a situation from escalating needlessly. Is pacifism the only way to accomplish this? I don't believe so.

Do I think violence in response to violence is justifiable? Yep. Do I think it is the "right way" to handle the situation? It depends, and philosophically, I am still sort of working my way through where exactly I stand here. Is it better to lay down and "let" someone assault/kill you because you don't believe that fighting back with violence is justifiable? Personally, I'm not sure I think so, and I'm also not sure I think I could live by that. Idk.
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Personally, I'm not sure I think so, and I'm also not sure I think I could live by that.
There's also the fact that when you're in a situation where your life is on the line, the capacity to stop and consider shit like honor, dignity, pacifism, etc is greatly reduced because it activates our most baser, primal, animal instincts and those instincts tend to be brutal. Even the most harmless person has the capacity to turn into a monster when pushed to their limits. It's why I find (many, not this one thus far) conversations on the topic a little reductive, because people are placing their ideals above reality.

And sometimes that results in a sense of judgment (this isn't happening in this thread, I just mean in general) over people who didn't take the "pacifist route." It's very easy when standing by the sidelines to pick apart someone else's experiences rationally and conclude that you would have done this, that or the other thing differently with the benefit of having not experienced it.

Omar Khadr came to speak here once and people protested against his visit, posting vile shit about how they would have simply told Al Qaeda "no" at age 14. Okidoki, buddy pal. I find it challenging to take anyone seriously who says things like "violence is never justifiable" or "I'd never hit anyone" or "I'd never/I'd always XYZ." Until you have dealt with a situation involving XYZ, your analysis simply... lacks credibility? And honestly, it's a little offensive.

Most people have no idea what they are truly capable of in a moment like that, which is why, when those moments happen, they can be so devastating. Because you go from having one conception of yourself (normal, reasonable, pacifist, Average Joe) to suddenly contending with the fact that you have cut off someone's fingers or carried out a rape by proxy or tossed a Molotov (all things that I have done during my life, under extreme duress).
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So I don't think I could call myself a pacifist.
Except there are different kinds of pacifists (and a variety of definitions of the word). You're not an absolute pacifist, maybe, but maybe a conditional one. Pacifism is a very interesting theory, and I'm sure there are tons of articles and papers written about it.

I don't believe there is a justification for war, and I believe that violence in all its forms only begets more violence. Violence, as I see it, is a way for people who have not learned/been taught to "fight their battles" in non-violent ways. Society teaches that it's normal, and in many cases it is much easier (it's hard to recognize the feelings and beliefs that precede violence and harder still to really find other ways to deal with them), especially when it is on impulse.

Does that mean I wouldn't resort to some sort of violence if my life or the lives of my loved ones were threatened? Well, that's hard to say. I've had a gun to my head as an adult, been physically threatened several times, and my first instinct was not to harm. I just instinctively back away from it. But are there times when I wish someone would just blow someone's head off? Oh yeah, but that's a reaction to the pain that person has caused. And it's wrong, imo, and a weakness on my part--I haven't yet learned to manage that sort of pain. Could I ever do it myself? I don't know. But I think there is a distinction between a strong belief that violence is wrong and the need to protect one's self from physical harm.