“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” – Mohandas Gandhi

There may be some people who are still skeptical of Nonviolence. They may not yet understand its power or its core principle that a connected society is a just society. Maybe they think violence might hurry things along. Some may even think, “Sure, you do Nonviolence and I’ll do violence… together we’d be a great team because people will be afraid of me and then they’ll negotiate with you.” It doesn’t work that way. When you are perceived as part of a movement and you are violent, the movement is perceived as violent regardless of the ratio of violence to Nonviolence.

Nonviolence is like a glass of clean water. Even one drop of blood (violence) makes all of the water bloody. Once you bloody the water it takes enormous amounts of clean water without any additional blood to hope to ever again have clean water. And even then, it will never be completely clean.

There are many reasons why violence doesn’t work in the long run:

  • Nonviolence works toward a shared community and reconciliation; violence does not support that goal. violence always has a loser who will feel alienated and seek to overturn the other at the earliest opportunity.
  • Nonviolence works to win the support of people and society; we want people to join us. Whereas violence has the opposite effect — most people don’t want violence in their lives.
  • A conflict between a Nonviolent group and a violent group is a moral argument; if the Nonviolent group can be provoked into using violence, the violent group wins.
  • Nonviolence groups are often deliberately infiltrated by members of the violent opposition hoping to dismantle the movement. It is often easy to recognize these infiltrators because they will advocate and provoke violence pretending that violence will lead to justice, but knowing it will cause society to turn against the movement. When we practice Nonviolence, we quickly expose our opponents.
  • violence is easier, but it makes everyone’s job harder.
  • violence simply perpetuates separation and disconnection — it uses the very element we hope to eradicate.
  • Nonviolence promotes love and compassion; violence promotes hate and fear.
  • 🙂 matt