Utter Pacifism is Selfish Bullshit

I would just like to point out that I am aware there are people who consider themselves pacifists but who believe in self-defence and there are those who themselves believe they would never raise a fist for any reason, but would not judge others for doing so. This is why I use the word “utter”.

So with no further ado:

Utter pacifism is selfish bullshit. The tone with which Gandhi wrote an open letter to the Jews of Germany, this whole attitude of outright refusal to engage in “violence” (an incredibly ambiguous term). Firstly, the preaching to others who are in a position you cannot possibly even imagine, telling them they must “maintain the moral highground” by remaining “peaceful”. That in itself is inherently oppressive and judgmental and to be so certain that you would remain “peaceful” in such a situation is naïve at best!

Secondly, there is the sheer selfishness in the idea of seeing a person being brutalised and yourself remaining “peaceful” so as not to earn any bad karma, or whatever, because, let’s face it, the afterlife and eternity, etc — whether it’s in a figurative or a literal sense — will be what many pacifists are worried about. They want to be able to sleep at night and they believe they will sleep better if they refuse to lay a finger on anyone under any circumstances. Seriously, fuck it, you have a whole eternity to earn enough good points to reach Nirvana. This is an incredibly selfish and egotistical position because it is just one person concerned with saving their own soul as opposed to saving another from suffering. If I were the divine deity or whatever it is, you know, the person in charge of the guestlist to Heaven, I’d take such people off the list until they earn themselves some real points.

Finally, there is the potential hypocrisy of it all, that a person believes they would not resort to “violence” if their life depended on it and that they would rather die a martyr. Again, it’s naïve at best, egotistical at worst.

At the end of the day, look at where all that pacifism got old mate Jesus. I don’t fancy dying up on that hill. The Establishment will encourage admiration of those who allegedly preached non-violence (I say allegedly because King’s quotes on rioting would suggest he wasn’t as opposed to violence as we are often led to believe. Mandela also did not consider himself a pacifist). However, people such as Malcolm X are more or less left out of school history lessons.

Let’s face it, putting your hand up and politely asking someone who’s repeatedly kicking you in the face, to stop doing so if it’s not too inconvenient for them, isn’t going to work.

Utter Pacifism is Selfish Bullshit

3 thoughts on “Utter Pacifism is Selfish Bullshit

  1. My goodness you do sound angry Tony. I haven’t read the letter Ghandi wrote to the German Jews so I can’t comment. My understanding of Pacifism is it is the refusal to join the military or fight in a war, it does not necessarily preclude defending yourself if you are personally attacked . None of the wars I have observed in my lifetime appear to have solved anything, in fact many of them eg the Iraq War have made things worse. Of course I was born after WW2 and concede that was probably a war that had to be fought .


    1. I wouldn’t say angry, more that I’m just being realistic, Colin. I wrote this piece some time ago to see if I still agreed with it further down the line. There are many people out there who consider themselves pacifists who truly believe they would never lift a finger, not for any reason. I used the word “utter” to differentiate between those who would fight in self-defence and to defend others and those who flat-out believe they wouldn’t. It will often be the sorts of people who have this sort of “enlightenment superiority” (which would indicate they are not truly enlightened). The sorts of people who will preach to victims of oppression that they shouldn’t be angry and that anger is a “negative energy” – something along those lines. It will be people preaching from inherently privileged positions and failing to check that privilege.

      None of the wars that have been fought in our lifetimes, or even before, have been fought by noble people (I’m not referring to the soldiers, but the powers the soldiers are serving). There may be some noble EXCUSES, but ultimately these powers were not noble.


    2. That’s why I used the word “utter”, Colin. There are indeed people out there who are arrogant and naïve enough to believe they would never actually lift a finger. It’s this rather privileged form of pacifism. The sorts of people who believe in it are generally the same sorts of people who will tell someone who is oppressed that their anger creates “negative energy” and not actually recognising it as a legitimate feeling. These are generally the sorts of people who have an air of “enlightenment superiority” about them (which would suggest they are not in fact truly enlightened).

      As for wars not solving anything; I think you have missed the point of this post. This is not about justifying war, this is about justifying self-defence and telling idiots who believe that oppressed and persecuted people should just “accept it” and “maintain the moral highground”, that they are in fact coming from a position of privilege.

      What’s more, it is more than possible for neither side in a war situation to be fighting for a noble cause.


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