EPE Values - Nonviolence

Nonviolence is a value concept which assesses the manner in which interpersonal and intergroup conflicts are resolved, power imbalances changed, and oppression overcome. In a nonviolent society, the use of physical force and aggression is opposed as are attitudes, language, and individual actions that demean and brutalize another psychologically. As a value base for human actions, nonviolence advocates the peaceful resolution of conflict through negotiation and mediation. When faced with unyielding power imbalances, discrimination, and oppression, it offers the practices of nonviolent resistance as an alternative to violence. Nonviolence is a value concept that is not only intended to shape individual attitudes and behavior but also group efforts organized to bring about, through peaceful means, a change in social conditions and practices that violate human rights. A nonviolent society is the context essential to the achievement of ecological sustainability.

Questions for ethical reflection
  1. Are governments and law enforcement units in a community morally justified in using organized violence against citizen groups and individuals within national borders to maintain law and order? ensure the security of citizens? Why? why not? In the face of threats to their security is violence on the part of individual citizens and community groups justified? Why Why not?
  2. Are governments morally justified in using organized violence against other nations or non state actors to protect national interests? To ensure the security of citizens? Should the funding of weapons systems for these purposes be prioritized over the provision of human needs? Why? why not?
  3. Is the toll violence exerts on its perpetrators (e.g. soldiers) and on the victims (e.g. families) justifiable? Why? Why not? Does it contribute to or is it a threat to the common good, e.g. national, human and ecological security? In what way?
  4. Are there alternatives to organized violence for resolving conflicts inter and intra nationally? How is there appropriateness measured?
What are your views about the issues raised by these questions ? Discuss them with a friend or share with wenden@rcn.com