Armchair revolutionary

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Armchair revolutionary is a pejorative term, generally used within the radical left and other left-revolutionary movements, to describe a person who endlessly criticizes the thought, ideology, or practice of social movements or armed groups from a metaphorical armchair—i.e., from a mostly or totally inactive, theoretical position. When someone is referred to as, or accused of, being an "armchair revolutionary", it is always a term of abuse, intended to invoke a defensive reaction on the part of the accused, or to discredit the political ideas and/or practices that person subscribes to, or both.

Inherent in the meaning of armchair revolutionary is the idea that the person knows that their ideas require them to be physically involved in political struggles, but that instead the person chooses to be intentionally ignorant or dismissive of real-world issues and problems, in an attempt to continue believing in the false reality their views create. In this way, the armchair revolutionary is often regarded as viewing the world in at least a quasi-idealist manner, i.e., one relative solely to his or her own perceptions, rather than bothering with what they should really do—to absorb the physical and practical reality they would be compelled to see around them if they stopped the alleged "political posturing" and became an activist in actual political causes.

Related terms[edit]

A variation on this term is the pejorative epithet Keyboard Commando. See also the related term chickenhawk and armchair warrior.

In German, the Sozialpolitiker (Social Policy-ers) of the historical school of economics were derisively referred to as Kathedersozialisten (Socialists of the Chair), a comparable construction.