„Those who abjure violence can only do so by others committing violence on their behalf.“

Last update May 26, 2022. History
George Orwell photo
George Orwell470
English author and journalist 1903 - 1950

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Voltairine de Cleyre photo

„Those who, by the essence of their belief, are committed to Direct Action only are — just who? Why, the non-resistants; precisely those who do not believe in violence at all!“

—  Voltairine de Cleyre American anarchist writer and feminist 1866 - 1912

Direct Action (1912)
Context: Those who, by the essence of their belief, are committed to Direct Action only are — just who? Why, the non-resistants; precisely those who do not believe in violence at all! Now do not make the mistake of inferring that I say direct action means non-resistance; not by any means. Direct action may be the extreme of violence, or it may be as peaceful as the waters of the Brook of Siloa that go softly. What I say is, that the real non-resistants can believe in direct action only, never in political action. For the basis of all political action is coercion; even when the State does good things, it finally rests on a club, a gun, or a prison, for its power to carry them through.

Wendell Berry photo
Irshad Manji photo

„It is time for those who love liberal democracy to join hands with Islam's reformists. Here is a clue to who's who: Moderate Muslims denounce violence committed in the name of Islam but insist that religion has nothing to do with it; reformist Muslims, by contrast, not only deplore Islamist violence but admit that our religion is used to incite it.“

—  Irshad Manji Feminist from Canada, author, journalist, activist 1968

Irshad Manji: Islam Needs Reformists, Not 'Moderates' http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703992704576305412360432744 The Wall Street Journal (7 May 2011)

George Orwell photo

„We sleep peaceably in our beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.“

—  George Orwell English author and journalist 1903 - 1950

This has commonly been attributed to Orwell but has not been found in any of his writings. Quote Investigator http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/11/07/rough-men/ found the earliest known appearance in a 1993 Washington Times essay by Richard Grenier: "As George Orwell pointed out, people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." The absence of quotation marks indicates Grenier was using his own words to convey Orwell's opinion; thus it may have originated as a paraphrase of his statement in "Notes on Nationalism" https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwelnat.htm (May 1945): "Those who "abjure" violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf." There are also similar sentiments expressed in an essay which Orwell wrote on Rudyard Kipling, quoting from one of Kipling's poems: "Yes, making mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep." In the same essay Orwell also wrote of Kipling: "He sees clearly that men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them."
Misattributed

Mahendra Chaudhry photo

„It is wrong for others to be asking for forgiveness on behalf of those who had committed the crime because it is not right.“

—  Mahendra Chaudhry Fijian politician 1942

29 June 2005
Opposition to the proposed Reconciliation and Unity Commission

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn photo
David Cameron photo
Martin Luther King, Jr. photo

„Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr., book Strength to Love

This passage contains some phrases King later used in "Where Do We Go From Here?" (1967) which has a section below.
1950s, Loving Your Enemies (Christmas 1957)
Variant: Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
Source: Mentioned in "Out of Osama's Death, a Fake Quotation Is Born" by Megan McArdle, The Atlantic (May 2011) http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/out-of-osamas-death-a-fake-quotation-is-born/238220/, and widely distributed on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/jmadly/status/65314784136011776 as a quote of King, after the death of Osama bin Laden, the first sentence is one written by Jessica Dovey http://i.imgur.com/cqtjw.jpg on her Facebook page, which became improperly combined by others with genuine statements of King, whom she quoted, and which occur in Strength to Love (1963), Ch. 5 : Loving your enemies, and in Where Do We Go from Here : Chaos or Community? (1967), p. 62.
For the full story see "Anatomy of a Fake Quotation" by Megan McArdle, The Atlantic (May 3, 2011) http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/anatomy-of-a-fake-quotation/238257/ and for the Facebook version of the quote see Did Martin Luther King, Jr. say that “I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy”? at skeptics.stackexchange.com http://skeptics.stackexchange.com.
Context: Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.
Context: Let us move now from the practical how to the theoretical why: Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says "love your enemies," he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies-or else? The chain reaction of evil-Hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars-must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Context: I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

F. Paul Wilson photo
Susan Sontag photo

„The principal instances of mass violence in the world today are those committed by governments within their own legally recognized borders. Can we really say there is no response to this?“

—  Susan Sontag American writer and filmmaker, professor, and activist 1933 - 2004

"Why Are We in Kosovo?", The New York Times (2 May 1999)
Context: Not surprisingly, the Serbs are presenting themselves as the victims. (Clinton equals Hitler, etc.) But it is grotesque to equate the casualties inflicted by the NATO bombing with the mayhem inflicted on hundreds of thousands of people in the last eight years by the Serb programs of ethnic cleansing.
Not all violence is equally reprehensible; not all wars are equally unjust.
No forceful response to the violence of a state against peoples who are nominally its own citizens? (Which is what most "wars" are today. Not wars between states.) The principal instances of mass violence in the world today are those committed by governments within their own legally recognized borders. Can we really say there is no response to this?

Salman Rushdie photo

„The responsibility for violence lies with those who perpetrate it.“

—  Salman Rushdie British Indian novelist and essayist 1947

"In Good Faith" (1990), p. 19

Denis Diderot photo

„Power acquired by violence is only a usurpation, and lasts only as long as the force of him who commands prevails over that of those who obey.“

—  Denis Diderot French Enlightenment philosopher and encyclopædist 1713 - 1784

La puissance qui s'acquiert par la violence n'est qu'une usurpation, et ne dure qu'autant que la force de celui qui commande l'emporte sur celle de ceux qui obéissent.
Article on Political Authority, Vol. 1 (1751)
L'Encyclopédie (1751-1766)

Warren Farrell photo

„When we commit violence against an infant girl, we call it child abuse; when we commit violence against an infant boy, we call it circumcision.“

—  Warren Farrell, book The Myth of Male Power

Source: The Myth of Male Power (1993), Part II: The Glass Cellars of the disposable sex, p. 221.

Chris Hedges photo
René Girard photo
Gudrun Ensslin photo

„Violence is the only way to answer violence.“

—  Gudrun Ensslin German terrorist 1940 - 1977

Violence is the Only Way http://www.nytimes.com/1988/01/03/books/violence-is-the-only-way.html?pagewanted=1

David Mitchell photo
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn photo

„We shall be told: what can literature possibly do against the ruthless onslaught of open violence? But let us not forget that violence does not live alone and is not capable of living alone: it is necessarily interwoven with falsehood. Between them lies the most intimate, the deepest of natural bonds. Violence finds its only refuge in falsehood, falsehood its only support in violence. Any man who has once acclaimed violence as his METHOD must inexorably choose falsehood as his PRINCIPLE.“

—  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Russian writer 1918 - 2008

Variant translation: Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.
As quoted in Solzhenitsyn: A Documentary Record (1974) edited by Leopold Labedz
Nobel lecture (1970)
Context: We shall be told: what can literature possibly do against the ruthless onslaught of open violence? But let us not forget that violence does not live alone and is not capable of living alone: it is necessarily interwoven with falsehood. Between them lies the most intimate, the deepest of natural bonds. Violence finds its only refuge in falsehood, falsehood its only support in violence. Any man who has once acclaimed violence as his METHOD must inexorably choose falsehood as his PRINCIPLE. At its birth violence acts openly and even with pride. But no sooner does it become strong, firmly established, than it senses the rarefaction of the air around it and it cannot continue to exist without descending into a fog of lies, clothing them in sweet talk. It does not always, not necessarily, openly throttle the throat, more often it demands from its subjects only an oath of allegiance to falsehood, only complicity in falsehood.

Abdullah Öcalan photo

„Every ideology and mode of belief can, if true, implement itself by using the resources of technology and above all those of the media without having to resort to violence. In other words, violence has become unnecessary. In fact things have got to the point where violence cannot be afforded.“

—  Abdullah Öcalan Founder of the PKK 1949

Translation of his defense testimony at his 1999 trial http://web.archive.org/20020203190623/www.geocities.com/kurdifi/ocelan.html.
Context: Every ideology and mode of belief can, if true, implement itself by using the resources of technology and above all those of the media without having to resort to violence. In other words, violence has become unnecessary. In fact things have got to the point where violence cannot be afforded. The rich variety of institutions and practices the democratic system offers is built on this social and scientific-technological development, and whatever problem it tackles, it offers a certain solution. It itself is the solution.
To go through the examples, the solution to religious wars is secularism. Here the standard and the implementation involve taking the approach that everyone is free to follow their religious beliefs and democratic criteria will apply to all of them. Democracy offers definite freedom of belief and this is the antidote to religious wars.
Again the same applies to the fields of thought and ideology. There is freedom of thought and conviction. It is allowed to work as one wants and implement one's beliefs as long as one does not infringe the rights of others in this respect. This also applies to political ideas and their expression in the form of parties. As long as it adheres to the democratic system and its state structure, every party can offer a solution without resorting to violence. There is no question here of either imposing a religion by force or breaking and shattering the structure of the state. Religion, thought and the parties based on them know to meet the standards of the democratic system of the state because they are based on them. If they don't know how to do this, then democracy gets the right to defend itself.
It is clear here that regardless of the social group they are based on (which might be a nation or an ethnic or religious group), beliefs, ideas and the parties through which they are expressed cannot, in the name of these beliefs and ideas, force the limits on which the state is based. There is no need for this, because it will render the problem they claim to be solving even worse. Consequently, there is no need for it, and, in any case, there are solutions within the system. These are the democratic rights of those groups. They are their freedoms of belief and thought. They are the parties. They are all types of coalitions. In the area of language and culture, the democratic solution is even more striking. This is the area where the greatest successes have been achieved. Because the intermingling of language and culture, these values that many national groups have assimilated together for centuries, do not want to separate and get weak and monotonous, but prefer to stay together to get enriched and achieve variety, strength and life. And the school and laboratory for this is democracy and its implementation with conviction.
Democracy is almost a garden of language and culture. The most developed and powerful principles of our day once again express this clearly. All European countries and North America are clear proofs of it. The attempt to suppress new religious, linguistic, cultural, intellectual and political developments during past centuries was the cause of all major wars, and resistance against suppression gave to wars which could be seen as understandable. Particularly in European countries this experience led to the development of a determined democracy in the wake of all these wars and led to the supremacy of the West. Western civilisation can, in this sense, be termed democratic civilisation. The democratic system is at least as important as scientific and technological superiority. Feeding off each other, they both became strong and achieved the status of world civilisation.

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