The Case for Being a Pacifist

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The case for being a pacifist “There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for.” ― Mahatma Gandhi “First, it must be emphasized that nonviolent resistance is not a method for cowards; it does resist. If one uses this method because he is afraid or merely because he lacks the instruments of violence, he is not truly nonviolent…. A second basic fact that characterizes nonviolence is that it does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding….The end is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.” Martin Luther King, Jr Nowadays, pacifism is not popular. Being a pacifist or making arguments against violence and aggression is often met with incredulous eye-rolling, as if believing that violence is destructive even when used in defense of self is naive. It is not. My pacifism is far from being naive. The following definitions aptly describe what I believe in: * pacifism: The doctrine that disputes (especially between countries) should be settled without recourse to violence; the active opposition to such violence, especially the refusal to take part in military action * pacifist: opposed to war * pacifist: one who loves, supports, or favors peace; one who is pro-peace * pacifist: An individual who disagrees with war on principle 1. The immediate costs of war are clearly awful. Most wars lead to massive loss of life and wealth on at least one side. If you use a standard value of life of $5M, every 200,000 deaths is equivalent to a trillion dollars of damage. 2. The long-run benefits of war are highly uncertain. Some wars - most obviously the Napoleonic Wars - at least arguably deserve credit for decades of subsequent peace. But many other

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