The Dangers of the Neo-Liberal Pacifist

The Neo-Liberal Pacifist Defined


  1. Preaches fanatic non-violence when it suits them.
    1. Generally complies with non-violence logic within the confines of their own domestic democracy.
    2. Fails to apply the same logic when regarding other countries conflicts.
    3. Fails to coherently apply logic to domestic protests and riots.
  2. Creates a false dichotomy of good vs bad protest action based on two ill-conceived notions.
    1. Applies fanatic non-violence doctrine, meaning any protest action that turns violent is bad, irrespective of how violence occurred. Eg, ignores possibility of police being antagonistic.
    2. Romanticizes past protest action as examples of successful non-violent protest, ignoring the reality that there were violent aspects (Case Study: The Civil Rights Movement)
  • Supports Structural and Cultural Violence, knowingly or unknowingly.
    1. Preaches fanatical non-violence, but narrowly defines violence as physical.
    2. Ignores, psychological, cultural, and structural violence as causes of physical violence.
    3. Constantly seeks negative peace (the absence of physical violence), over positive peace (the absence of physical and structural violence), specifically within own democracy.
    4. Defines successful democracy as the existence of negative peace.
  1. Above three points negatively effect the possibility of establishing meaningful peace.
    1. Supports poorly formed foreign policies that might escalate violence in other countries.
    2. Antagonizes domestic groups with legitimate structural grievances by dismissing them as violent.
    3. Allows hate filled groups which contribute to structural violence to exist, as long as groups remain non-violent.
    4. Incapable of distinguishing between moral and amoral grievances, as only  criteria for amorality is physical violence.
    5. Is easily persuaded by weak political rhetoric that escalates, rather than deescalates violence. Eg “There’s violence on both sides”, or “America does not negotiate with Terrorists.”
    6. Easily persuaded by fanciful phrasing, or quotes removed from context. Uses such phrasing and quotes to defend incoherent, and untenable, non-violent position.  Eg “Violence begets violence”, or “Love trumps hate”, quotes from Martin Luther King Jr, Ghandi and Mandela.

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