Talk:Pacifism

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Criticism?!?[edit]

The Criticism section is hardly that. It pretty much amounts to one big essay on the greatness of pacifism and how it would have better solved world problems. The few criticisms it does mention....are all followed by an excuse as to why they are wrong and/or ill-conceived. Abalu (talk) 22:28, 27 April 2009 (UTC)Abalu

More or less agree. The section has neutrality and weasel word problems all over it. I made a few notes and will attempt to come back and start cleaning this up shortly. -- Kyle Maxwell (talk) 05:24, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Who would have expected mealy-mouthed, hypocritical , wishy washy bs from the pacifists of all people... — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.45.162.180 (talk) 00:07, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Should probably be retitled "Defense of Criticism" since that is what it is. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.30.206.83 (talk) 03:31, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Concerns with Nov. 2007 Version[edit]

I've been reviewing this article and its talk page for a while now, trying to decide where to begin. I have three main problems with the article as it currently stands:

  1. Unencyclopaedic (Insufficient Scope)
  2. Unclear Editing/NPOV
  3. Overlap w/ Nonviolence, Nonviolent Resistance

ρ∈∧⊂∈ ∴ Heelan Coo (Talk) 17:55, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Unencyclopaedic/Insufficient Scope[edit]

I have taken the liberty of axing the retorts for pacifism in this "Criticisms of Pacifism" section. They present an inappropriate editorial tone. They belong in their own section such as "Rejoinders to Critiques of Pacifism" or the like. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.99.81.231 (talk) 16:01, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

As is the article currently stands, it is both misleading and unencyclopaedic. It devotes almost no attention to non-religious forms of pacifism, and up until the 'Criticisms' section, makes no reference to the available philosophical literature on pacifism. The lead-in paragraph needs to be edited for clarity, and is probably in need of expert attention. ρ∈∧⊂∈ ∴ Heelan Coo (Talk) 17:55, 12 November 2007 (UTC)


In addition, there are many religious positions on war that are not mentioned at all, such as those held in Judaism and Islam, which are of great interest in the world today. Paulsnx2 (talk) 14:33, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Like I say below, it was a real mess before I cleaned up what was there, but right now that's all I have time for. Please add what your think needs adding with sources. (I'm even more into them now than was when did this in my earlier editing days :-)
Carol Moore 21:23, 5 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

Unclear Editing/NPOV[edit]

The lead-in paragraph as well as the 'Criticisms' and 'Quotations' section lack clear form and structure. The lead-in paragraph is far from an exhaustive summary on the types of pacifism available, and has further problems such as the suggestion that consequentialism is not a moral position, which I think is ridiculous. The section on criticisms is a complete mess, and the quotes section could stand to be expanded, if not clearly divided into pro-pacifism and anti-pacifism quotes. ρ∈∧⊂∈ ∴ Heelan Coo (Talk) 17:55, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Analysis of Current Lead-in[edit]

Pacifism is the opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes or gaining advantage. Pacifism covers a spectrum of views ranging from the belief that international disputes can and should be peacefully resolved; to calls for the abolition of the institutions of the military and war; to opposition to any organization of society through governmental force (anarchist or libertarian pacifism); to rejection of the use of physical violence to obtain political, economic or social goals; to opposition to violence under any circumstance, including defense of self and others.

I wonder if this is the best way to set about defining pacifism. The term is quite broad, and resists an all-encompassing definition. This should be clear from the outset, which it currently is not. Furthermore, this list of things that pacifism "covers" is misleading: for example, a conscientious objector wouldn't fit neatly in any of the categories; additionally, some pacifists might fit more than one category. Rather than give random examples of things a pacifist might believe, woudln't it be better to launch right in to the different ways of dividing up pacifists? (e.g. religious/nonreligious, deontological/consequentialist, absolute/contingent, etc.)

Pacifism may be based on moral principles (a deontological view) or pragmatism (a consequentialist view). Principled pacifism holds that at some point along the spectrum from war to interpersonal physical violence, such violence becomes morally wrong. Pragmatic pacifism holds that the costs of war and inter-personal violence are so substantial that better ways of resolving disputes must be found. Pacifists in general reject theories of Just War.

This section is one of the worst in the lead-in paragraph. First of all, consequentialism IS a moral principle, so the first sentence is making a weird claim. Secondly, pacifism isn't necessarily about deciding where 'along the spectrum' of violence it 'becomes wrong'. A pacifist might hold that there are mitigating circumstances that make violence right or wrong at any level of this 'spectrum', so this is just an oversimplification. As for the last sentence, there is a whole branch of pacifism called just war pacifism that adheres to the definition of just war, but denies that modern wars fit it. It might be argued that this is a minority view, but that would need to be a verifiable statement. To just say that "in general" pacifists do this or that is far from the level of content demanded by an encyclopaedic article.

Pacifists follow principles of nonviolence, believing that non-violent action is morally superior and/or pragmatically most effective. Some pacifists, however, support physical violence for emergency defense of self or others. Others support destruction of property in such emergencies or for conducting symbolic acts of resistance like pouring red paint to represent blood on the outside of military recruiting offices or entering air force bases and hammering on military aircraft. However, part of the pacifist belief system is taking responsibility for one's actions by submitting to arrest and using a trial to publicize opposition to war and other forms of violence.

I can't think of any other way to put this, so forgive my shocking statement: What the hell? What are these "principles of nonviolence" that (all?) "[p]acifists follow"? And this nonsense about "some pacifists" doing violent things is rubbish and a clear violation of NPOV. To me, this would be analogous to having a statement like "Some Christians gossip behind their neighbour's back, despite the fact that Jesus said, 'Love thy neighbour'." in the article on Christianity. What some protestors do in the name of pacifism has nothing to do with pacifism as a whole, and this statement is just an ad-hominem that should be removed.

Dove or dovish are informal terms used, especially in politics, for people who prefer to avoid war or prefer war as a last resort. The terms refer to the story of Noah's Ark in which the dove came to symbolize the hope of salvation and peace. Similarly, in common parlance, the opposite of a dove is a hawk or war hawk.

As I understand it, this is not the correct usage of this term. 'Dove' refers to the members of a political movement that occurs in response to a war-mongering faction. Thus, most 'doves' are not traditional pacifists, and that makes this sentence poorly defined at best and misleading at worst.

ρ∈∧⊂∈ ∴ Heelan Coo (Talk) 18:15, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

I made a bunch of changes to this page a few months ago when it was REALLY a mess - and I was a much less experienced editor. It was a lot of work just re-organizing it and sourcing obviously controversial issues. I may have missed a few fine points. I have been keeping tabs on it for anything too untoward being added.
At the time I thought spectrum was a good way of describing the hodgepodge of definitions that was there - including a couple saying defacto "I'm a pacifist against govt wars but not when it comes to smashing windows." Perhaps it needs to note that the spectrum is NOT all inclusive; as a separate listing of each also should do. I encourage people to make the changes they think should be made, within wiki guidelines and sourced when possible, and if it's not too POV, unsourced, or generally outrageous, I don't think you'll get a big argument :-)
Carol Moore 20:11, 12 November 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

Overlap w/ Nonviolence, Nonviolent Resistance[edit]

Right now, there are three articles with significant overlap: pacifism, nonviolence, and nonviolent resistance. The nonviolent resistance article looks to me like it would be more appropriately titled history of nonviolent resistance, and even then it overlaps considerably with at least nonviolence (if not pacifism, also). ρ∈∧⊂∈ ∴ Heelan Coo (Talk) 17:55, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

That should be discussed on those pages, not here :-)
Carol Moore 18:39, 3 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

Where's the Archive gone??[edit]

/User:The_Giant_Puffin just deleted?? the archives?? Aren't they supposed to be linked up top somewhere?? Sorry article didn't make it as a feature since I cleaned it up a lot last summer, but as others have noted it was NOT perfect. Carol Moore 18:39, 3 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

My mistake. I just added {{archivebox|auto=yes}} - • The Giant Puffin • 23:15, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Quotes Section[edit]

In the Quotes section there is a somewhat less than compelling quote by Jacob Borer. I have searched but couldn't find any scholarly references to Jacob Borer or the quote. Remove?

go for it! :-)
Carol Moore 02:10, 3 January 2008 (UTC)CarolMooreDC talk

Minor (possible) technical issue[edit]

I did a search on 'pacifist' in searching for the Mac OS tool and was redirected here. Probably for good reason, however, I noticed there is a disambiguous page for the term: Pacifist (disambiguation). Maybe the current way is correct, I don't know. Just thought I'd point it out. Thanks. 66.191.19.217 (talk) 04:22, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Good suggestion. I added the link. JonHarder talk 00:37, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. 68.113.47.11 (talk) 17:45, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

propose to add love your enemies online book archive to external links

http://loveyourenemies.wordpress.com/category/online-books/ —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.70.113.241 (talk) 12:04, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

The following sentance is unsupported and presents what is clearly an opinion as fact:

"The Spanish Civil War proved a major test for international pacifism, and the heroic work of pacifist organisations and individuals in that arena has been largely ignored or forgotten by historians, overshadowed by the memory of the International Brigades and other militaristic interventions." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rorschachman (talkcontribs) 18:05, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

The Spanish Civil War certainly proved a major test for international pacifism. Because of this Fenner Brockway resigned as chairman of WRI. Howard Clark (talk) 00:09, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

President Bush's comment on Bullying[edit]

Do you think the picture and president's comment is suitable for this subject? Whitethunder79 (talk) 18:16, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

What does George W. Bush have to do with pacifism? I consider the insertion of the photo and quote as vandalism, especially considering the movement to impeach him as a war criminal. gnomeselby (talk) 07:34, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Using that photo only makes sense if it accurately reflects what the article says. And I'm sure WP:RS articles that mock Bush for hypocrisy for saying it could be found too. Carol Moore 14:59, 13 September 2008 (UTC)Carolmooredc {talk}

Religion[edit]

Hinduism?[edit]

I noticed under the religious section, there is no reference to Hinduism. Any objections to adding another section for this religion? 66.191.19.68 (talk) 18:44, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

    • No objections here -- go for it! See also my comment below re: lack of Jewish refs also. Rooster613 (talk) 02:52, 3 February 2009 (UTC)rooster613

it should mention Gandhi 69.140.35.147 (talk) 10:59, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Judaism[edit]

There is no mention of any Jewish pacifist movements, such as the Jewish Peace Fellowship (for which I see there is also no page!) A lot of pre-Holocaust Hasidic groups were also pacifists. I will add this project to my to-do page and try to get something done for here and a JPF page eventually, if nobody objects... Rooster613 (talk) 02:52, 3 February 2009 (UTC)rooster613

Excellent. I also made reference to the Jewish Peace Fellowship on the WikiProject Anti-war page. 66.191.19.217 (talk) 00:29, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Section added, but reference to Hasidism needs a source. Marshall46 (talk) 09:55, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Bahá'í Faith[edit]

Position in religion section re-ordered for consistency as section is otherwise alphabetically ordered.
Repetition of hypertext for words "Baha'i Faith" and "Baha'u'llah" removed on second occurence.
Daniel De Mol (talk) 14:21, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Are there pacifist movements?[edit]

The article reports individuals and organizations who don’t approve of warfare and certain actions, but it doesn’t tell us that, anywhere in the world, there is a movement that can stop countries from going to war. It is suggested here that Mao’s China, in which the people were taught to respond to invasion by guerilla warfare, is a useful example of how communities can respond to foreign aggression without relying on military force, albeit one that is not likely to be adopted as a means of non-violent resistance in the near future. R Waldo WCU (talk) 21:15, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Early History section needs pruning[edit]

It seems that a lot of stuff got dumped into "early history", including just about every religious mention of the word "peace", and some stuff that seems very weird (an Italian god named Panda? Quetzalcoatl as a god of peace?). Some skepticism and shears seems like a good thing to apply here. --Alvestrand (talk) 04:36, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, that sort of thing should just be removed. Peace and pacifism are distinct topics. JonHarder talk 16:35, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Pacifist punks[edit]

What about a section on pacifist punks? They differ quite much from mainstream pacifism in that they often support violence in self defence as well as violence against inanimate objects. // Liftarn (talk) 07:46, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

Several types of pacifism[edit]

I added the word "some" to this sentence: "Pacifists follow principles of nonviolence, believing that nonviolent action is morally superior and/or pragmatically most effective. Some pacifists, however, support physical violence for emergency defense of self or others." Pacifism is generally understood to be total opposition to war. Some pacifists, but not all, take it further and are opposed to the use of violence in all circumstances. The point is, there are several types of pacifism. Marshall46 (talk) 12:41, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Are Jehovah's Witnesses pacifists?[edit]

Your input would be appreciated here. Nirvana2013 (talk) 16:40, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

On this article, I've restored the section and added a sentence explaining how Witnesses do not consider themselves "true pacifists". I think they do stand out as an unusually, if not completely, pacifist church. ...comments? ~BFizz 10:47, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
The important thing is that JW themselves do not regard themselves as pacifists and in fact take it as a slur. See Why Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Not Pacifists (The Watchtower, 1 February, 1951). Please add any further comments here to keep discussion in one place. Thank you. Nirvana2013 (talk) 20:07, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

They are conscientious objectors, and refuse to take part in any war (human led anyway) that makes them worthy of mention here.--MacRusgail (talk) 13:49, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

I believe this has been answered by another editor here. Nirvana2013 (talk) 08:24, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

JWs are just nitpicky with semantics. They prefer the term "neutrality" just as Amish and Mennonites prefer "nonresistance," but their beliefs coincide closely with the tenets of pacifism except for actively participating in anti-war protests, demonstrations, etc.JGabbard (talk) 19:15, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Anti-war cartoons[edit]

Just to let you know that I have loaded several cartoons onto Wikimedia Commons under Category:Anti-war cartoons. Feel free to use them on Wikipedia articles. Nirvana2013 (talk) 08:19, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

See also - tax choice[edit]

I added tax choice to the see also section but it was removed because there is "no relevance". The relevance is the Opt Out of Iraq War Act. Does anybody dispute the relevance? --Xerographica (talk) 21:57, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

The Opt Out of Iraq War Act might be relevant. Tax choice is not. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:06, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
The Opt Out of Iraq War Act is tax choice. --Xerographica (talk) 23:09, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
WP:OR, and, if B is relevant to A, and C is relevant to B, it does not follow that C is relevant to A.
Are you seriously arguing that's it's original research to add tax choice to the pacifism "See also" section?
Would it be original research if I said that We, The People by Jack C. Haldeman II is a science fiction story about how tax choice could bring about world peace? What if I added this quote by Mancur Olson, "There are multitudes with an interest in peace, but they have no lobby to match those of the 'special interests' that may on occasion have an interest in war."? Would that be OR as well? --Xerographica (talk) 23:47, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, yes. If you can find a reliable source which comments on Haldeman's story.... Olson's quote would (probably) be relevant to this article, but would not support a connection to tax choice.
So an accurate synopsis is original research? --Xerographica (talk) 00:41, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
If it requires expert analysis, yes. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:11, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

H.G. Wells[edit]

This article implies H.G. Wells was a pacifist. While Wells was a strong campaigner for world peace, he was never a full-fledged pacifist, and Vincent Brome's 1951 bio of Wells refers to him "rolling back the pacifist arguments" during WWI. Wells supported both the First and Second World Wars, so I don't think he should be described as a pacifist. 176.61.94.25 (talk) 21:59, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Should Obama's Nobel Peace Prize photo (and captions) be included or not?[edit]

There is a little back-and-forth reverting regarding this photo.

Personally, I am not sure what it has to do with the subject at hand. Certainly Barack Obama is not a pacifist (nor any other U.S. president). Is it salient and relevant to the article? 71.169.184.238 (talk) 19:27, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

In theory, a Nobel Peace Prize might be relevant to this article, but not Obama's. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:00, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Agreed, I have removed the photograph and will continue to do so unless there is good explanation of how it is relevant to this article. Certainly there are many other Nobel Peace prize recipients who have not ordered killings or prosecuted wars not of self-defence. 108.48.141.60 (talk) 04:11, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Removed the picture as somebody put it back in. Maybe somebody else who has received the peace prize would be better? AddsDitchVim (talk) 22:43, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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