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Pacifism and Personal Responsibility:

well said.

This is something I’ve been thinking on for years, off and on, and re-examining on occassion since getting into an epic “gun control” discussion with a friend of mine in Radio Free a number of months ago. I just never have really formalized it in my writings, even though it’s been formalized in my head for a long time…

I’m a strong believer in personal responsiblity, even though I’ll be one of the first to admit that I’m not always perfect at the execution of it. Note: No one is perfect at it. No one. So you can put away that particular “Aha!” strawman now. As Steven den Beste says: “Don’t write letters”.

That concept of personal responsibility forms the center philosophy of every firearms/weapon ownership rights believer I know of: we believe that it’s our responsibility to defend ourselves and our families, not The States. At best, the State in the form of the police is an adjunct to that, at indifference, the State’s a hindrance, and at worst… The State is an active adversary. It’s critical to our world views… the ownership of weapons and the responsible excercise of that right is inherrent to freedom. And it’s the backbone to all other freedoms. It’s a nonarguable concept – that’s why so many weapons control/banning enthusiasts complain that we’re “unreasonable” on the subject: We are.

The minute the subject of “reasonable restrictions” comes up, the switch trips, and we’re under no illusions that the speaker has anything in mind other than restricting our freedoms in the name of their good by disarming us, rather than doing something effective. No go. The words “Fuck you, Charley”, are at the back of every dedicated gun owners mind when a “discussion” with an antigunner starts.

[I know, I’m supposed to be polite and maintain the polite fiction that we’re reasonable folks and we love arguing with hopolophobes. Fuck that noise. I’m too old and life’s too short to dick around with polite fictions.]

There’s another subject on the opposite side of the equation where that switch trips, and the viewpoint is equally unreasonable, a lot of times. Pacifism.

The pacifist and the weapons owner are at diametrical opposition is views towards both weapons ownership and use and towards personal responsibility.

Pacifism is the ultimate abdication of personal responsibility.

Ooh. I can hear screams of outrage going up everywhere. “‘Bear just called all pacifists irresponsible!!! Take that back because… !!!” ;]

Newp. Ain’t gonna happen.

There’s at least three basic types of pacifist, and they all share that similarity to one degree or another:

1. The Absolute Pacifist:

The asbolute pacifist believes in total nonviolence, in all forms. If they’re dedicated to this, then not only will an absolute pacifist not lift a hand to defend themselves if it involves violence, but they’ll do everything possible to prevent anyone else from using violence in their defense. Or the defense of anyone else.

Effectively, the life of an absolute pacifist belongs to anyone who doesn’t practice pacifism who wants to step up and take it.

So does the life of his friends, family, and that of anyone around him or her – they’ll mumble platitudes about violence never solving anything while you’re being killed. Abdication of responsibility to everyone around them, and active opposition to efforts by others to defend that which is theirs.

An absolute pacifist can reasonably only surive in a total nanny state environment… effectively a totalitarian state where there’s no possibility that anyone will commit violence. An impossible state – it’ll never exist.

In any other environment, an absolute pacifist will usually leave the gene pool shortly. Involuntarily.

2. The Conditional Pacifist:

Also known as “the selective pacifist”.

The conditional pacifist won’t commit violence to protect themselves, their family, or you, but – they don’t mind someone else doing so, even though they’ll deplore it verbally. Abdication of responsibility for family and self to someone else… generally to the mythical “That’s why we have Police – to protect us”.

It’s an inherently two faced ethic: the conditional pacifist gets to maintain high principles, but some poor schmuck of a cop [or a bodyguard or bystander] has to live with the trauma of possibly having killed to protect them and theirs. Or you do, if you happen to be a responsible practitioner of the right of self defense, and you choose to lift hand in their defense. And then the conditional pacifist gets to deplore “police violence” or “gun violence” or “the military” or “the violence culture” and wring their hands and look pious.

From the perspective of someone like us, as in the case of the absolute pacifist… conditional pacifists may be really nice folks to have a beer with, but they’re not optimum friends. You can’t trust them with anything critical because of their belief system. In an emergency or a disaster that involves a breakdown of civil order… you can’t hand one of them a rifle and count on them to protect your family or property from harm while you go for help or supplies.

Nor can you count on them to watch your back – you might get shot in it while they stand on principle.

3. The Pacifist in Name Only:

Also known as “The Hypocritical Pacifist” – the pacifist in name only professes to believe in nonviolence, but will usually find their principles fading when in extremis, and may fight like a cornered rat. Often ineptly, but the spirit surfaces.

In a majority of cases, pacifism in name only is masquerading as a fear of violence and an acute acknowledgement that “violence is painful, dammit! And dangerous!” Heh. I share those objections to violence myself. ;]

Most times, a pacifist in name only is simply dishonest, or simply mistaken about themselves. This is often brought to the fore when they’re in a situation where the only rescourse is personal self defense or defense of a loved one, and they have to commit violence to solve the problem. Sometimes, this causes them to retreat into shock, horror, and denial… but it can also often cause a major rexamination of philosophy, and a rejection of pacifism as being inherently unworkable and non survival oriented. [Which it is.]

On the other hand, while one may deplore the inherent dishonesty, unlike pacifist types 1 and 2, the Pacifist in Name Only is often salvageable as a worthwhile human being, once they crash and burn on the limitations of their chosen paths.


There’s other forms and degrees of virulence to the disease, but these are the main ones I’ve observed.

This isn’t to advocate violence as a first resort, in any way, mind you. As a man of the T’salagi, and a warrior, my personal philosophy is to avoid violence up to the point where it’s clear that it’s not avoidable. For one thing, getting punched hurts, dammit. For another, getting shot at is hazardous, as any combat vet can attest to. I’ll walk a long, long, long way around a fight if given reasonable opprotunity to. Or talk my way through it, or run if I’m the only one who’s life is involved, and there’s a clear path to escape.

That’s not cowardice, that’s a lack of idiocy.

Only a fool fights as a first or only resort to a dangerous situation, but, only a damned fool believes that:

“Violence Never Solves Anything!”

Heh. As even a cursory reading of history proves, violence tends to solve a lot of stuff permanently.

So does Pacifism… only it seldom solves things in the favor of the pacifist.

Responsibilty is accepting that there’s times when the only person one can count on is yourself, and taking whatever steps are neccessary to protect one’s family and loved ones, regardless of personal risk, and regardless if it means getting ones hands dirty or doing things one would rather not do. Responsibility is looking at all of the costs of one’s philosophies and actions, and how they affect those around you. responsibilty means thinking things through and deciding ahead of time that there’s things one won’t stand, there’s things one won’t accept, and there’s actions one won’t tolerate… and deciding excactly how far one will go to prevent those things from happening to one’s self or loved ones. Or to one’s country. And deciding what price one will pay for those decisions, and what prices are unacceptable.

Pacifism is inherently irresponsible: it determines that there’s no one and nothing that one will lift a hand to defend with “life, liberty, and sacred honor” even to the death. Anathema to the self-reliant, which is why the communication ends when the two perspectives collide. The self-reliant believe in acceptance of personal responsibilty, the pacifist believes in the abdication of responsibilty to the state, and the states responsibility to protect them and theirs.

That abdication is what ultimately leads to gun control and disarmament, and ultimately leads to tyranny when the inevitable happens, and the state proves an unreliable protector. The extreme end leads to mountains of skulls in Cambodia.

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1 comment to Pacifism and Personal Responsibility:

  • I believe in reasonable restrictions… I mean, do we REALLY need a Howitzer in every home? 😉

    And I think that there are plenty of people who should not be eligible for guns… Felons for example.

    Pacifism is a nice ideal, but it will never, ever work so long as there is anything left living anywhere in the universe.

    Honestly, I find Pacifism insulting in my friends. It’s like saying that my life isn’t worth fighting for if it really came down to it. It also says that they don’t think their life is worth fighting for. Why should I be their friend if they’re willing to give up their life just because some lunatic wants their wallet and is willing to cut through their chest to get it?

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