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The Virtue of Armed Pacifism

It is common nowadays to hear proponents of change and modern liberalism claim that non-violence is the only legitimate means of resistance to oppression. While that claim may have some merit (that question can be bracketed and returned to in the future if the need arises), it is the claim which inevitably follows that I want to address. With almost eerie regularity, almost every single modern pacifist will inevitably tack on, or implicitly hold to be true, the following claim: since non-violence is the only legitimate means of resistance to oppression, there is no use in having weapons for they [insert anti-weapon logic here]. The issue with this train of thought is that it implies that pacifism is synonymous with disarmament when that it simply not the case.

In what follows, I shall argue that pacifism is not synonymous with disarmament, something the great pacifist idol Gandhi recognized (albeit in a convoluted and culture specific way), and that armed pacifism is preferable to disarmed pacifism both for ensuring the safety of marginalized groups as well as enacting change.

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