The Twenty-Five Lessons of Non-violenceNovember 12, 2009
- There is no proactive word for violence.
- Nations that build military forces as deterrents will eventually use them.
- Practitioners of nonviolence are seen as enemies of the state.
- Once a state takes over a religion, the religion loses its nonviolent teachings.
- A rebel can be defanged and co-opted by making him a saint after he is dead.
- Somewhere behind every war there are always a few founding lies.
- A propaganda machine promoting hatred always has a war waiting in the wings.
- People who go to war start to resemble their enemy.
- A conflict between a violent and a nonviolent force is a moral argument. If the violent side can provoke the nonviolent side into violence, the violent side has won.
- The problem lies not in the nature of man but in the nature of power.
- The longer a war lasts, the less popular it becomes.
- The state imagines it is impotent without a military because it cannot conceive of power without force.
- It is often not the largest but the best organized and most articulate group that prevails.
- All debate momentarily ends with an “enforced silence” once the first shots are fired.
- A shooting war is not necessary to overthrow an established power but is used to consolidate the revolution itself.
- Violence does not resolve. It always leads to more violence.
- Warfare produces peace activists. A group of veterans is a likely place to find peace activists.
- People motivated by fear do not act well.
- While it is perfectly feasible to convince a people faced with brutal repression to rise up in a suicidal attack on their oppressor, it is almost impossible to convince them to meet deadly violence with nonviolent resistance.
- Wars do not have to be sold to the general public if they can be carried out by an all-volunteer professional military.
- Once you start the business of killing, you just get “deeper and deeper,” without limits.
- Violence always comes with a supposed rational explanation—which is only dismissed as irrational if the violence fails.
- Violence is a virus that infects and takes over.
- The miracle is that despite all of society’s promotion of warfare, most soldiers find warfare to be a wrenching departure from their own moral values.
- The hard work of beginning a movement to end war has already been done.
–Non-Violence: The History of A Dangerous Idea, by Mark Kurlansky