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Technological Pacifist
"Mr. Masterson! I have told my staff time and again, we do not make military robots or Headmaster Units that take over other military robots for... more military things!"'
Professor Sumdac of Transformers Animated, The Headmaster

A Technological Pacifist is a scientist, corporation, or organization that — no matter how smart they may be or how many other things they create — will never, ever design, produce, or sell weaponry or military products. Why they may do this may vary, but generally it's given that using their genius to make weapons would go against their core principles.

Of course, often whatever they create ends up getting used as a weapon anyway by someone who starts to Just Think of the Potential; alternatively, they might make a Weapon of Peace that inevitably gets used for war.

Compare/contrast to Prime Directive for groups that have no problem making weapons for themselves, but simply refuse to share them with less advanced cultures.

The title comes as a pun on Technical Pacifist.


Examples

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Somewhat subverted in Yu-Gi-Oh!. When Kaiba took over his father's company, he changed it from a military manufacturer to a gaming company. However, the games he makes have been at times sadistic. And, of course, Screw the Rules, I Have Money!.
  • Gundam SEED Astray has main character Lowe Guele, a mechanic who insist that mobile suits are not by nature evil, but get used that way by evil peoplenote . During the final showdown with original Big Bad Rondo Ghina Sahaku, Lowe even says that he can hear Rondo's MS crying about being used as an instrument of destruction.

     Comic Books  

  • Subverted in Alan Moore's Watchmen. Ozymandias suggests after analyzing media outlets that war is approaching and that his giant corporation invest accordingly. His assistants protest that the company has never invested in armaments or weapons dealing. He responds that he was not speaking of weapons, but rather diapers, formula, and contraceptives, because people have more sex and children around war time. Not that he's any kind of pacifist in any case....
  • When Iron Man was first created, at the height of the Cold War, his company was a proud part of the Military-Industrial Complex. Over the years, writers changed that situation.
    • They still have work for the military and SHIELD pointing out that's where they get the funds for the non-military projects, and humanitarian work
    • After Stark Disassembled, it seems Tony went full on with this Trope.
  • Wallace Luthor, Lex Luthor's grandfather, was a Technological Pacifist during World War I. He was persuaded to contribute to the war effort, and became convinced that the collapse of his company in the Wall Street Crash was his punishment.
  • Retconned via one of the many Batman Year One adventures that Bruce decides his company will no longer do weapons, after he fights many technological threats.

     Film  

  • Iron Man 1: When the film starts, Tony Stark is the devil-may-care CEO of Stark Industries, a major military contractor, and proud of the weapons he makes. After being held in captivity, however, and seeing his weapons in the hands of terrorists, he has a moral crisis and announces that Stark's weapons manufacturing division will be shut down until he can develop full accountability for who's using them. What he doesn't know is that it's his second in command who's been double-dealing, and this develops into the movie's principal conflict. Tony also has no qualms in deploying the heavily armed Iron Man suit against said terrorists. However, remember that he doesn't seem to mind America using his weapons, he just doesn't want the terrorists using them.
    • He's gone full out with this by the second film, when he does everything in his power to keep the iron man suit out of the US government's hands. At least until Rhodey steals one.
  • In Batman Begins, William Earle takes over Wayne Enterprises after Thomas Wayne's death. The second sign that Earle is an unscrupulous jerk is when it's mentioned that he's expanded Wayne Enterprises into heavy arms manufacturing. (The first sign is when we hear that he's taking the company public.)
  • The toy-making company in the film Toys doesn't make "war toys" (toy weapons), until the owner dies and his brother, who is a former military officer, inherits it. (He has an evil plan to make toys into weapons to be controlled by kids playing a video game.)
  • Similarly, the main character's father in Small Soldiers (who owns a toy store) doesn't sell violent toys. When the dad's away though, the son decides to sell a couple, little realizing that these violent toys have artificial intelligence ...
  • Sort-of example: The mad scientist in Mystery Men makes weapons, yes, but everything is completely nonlethal. Surreally so.
    "See now, this is why mad scientists are generally less desirable than your common or garden variety scientist."
  • In Danger Death Ray, the inventor of the titular Death Ray insists that it be used only for peaceful purposes. (A peaceful death ray. You heard right.)
  • In Real Genius, the kids at Pacific Tech are happy to work on professor Jerry Hathaway's laser research project For Science!, until they learn that it's going to be deployed in a CIA-funded Kill Sat. They then band together to sabotage the laser prototype's first test.

     Literature  

  • The Second of the Three Oaths of the Aes Sedai in the Wheel of Time series is "Under the Light, I vow never to make a weapon for one man to kill another."
    • And like the other two oaths, there are so many potential ways to get around it that it makes people trust Aes Sedai even less than they would if they never took the oaths to begin with...
      • Would making, say, a catapult be a way around it? It takes more than one man to operate, and its principle purpose is to destroy fortifications. The human deaths are (when it is used as intended) incidental to the actual goal, so it isn't was a catapult is 'for'. The most obvious way around it is, of course, making a weapon that can only be wielded by women.
  • One of the running gags in the Discworld series is Leonard De Quirm's tunnel vision regarding his scientific creations: he's usually baffled (and occasionally horrified) when people suggest that his devices have (rather obvious) combat applications other than than their designed purpose. For example, in Jingo, he's dismayed at Nobby's suggestion that the drill that allows his mini-sub to latch on to passing ships could be used to sink them instead with very little extra effort. Later, he finds that when he's sketching an enlarged submarine, his hand seems to, of its own accord, add weapons...
    • He's also designed (though never built) actual weapons (of mass destruction no less), but only as a hobby. He maintains that if they were ever built, no one would dare use them.
      • Which is why Lord Vetinari, having a much more accurate view of human nature, has Leonard more-or-less permanently imprisoned. Not that he notices.
      • A good idea, considering that once the poor man designed what seemed to be a nuclear bomb in a Renaissance setting for the purpose of leveling mountains ("for mining purposes")
      • This is probably a reference to the invention of dynamite for mining purposes, when it was used for military purposes the inventor (Alfred Nobel, of Nobel Prize fame) was horrified in the same way.
  • Harry Gant from Sewer, Gas and Electric refuses to let his company's robots be used for militaristic purposes, even going so far as not to sell them to the army as menial support personnel. Subverted in that this is only partially due to his pacifism: he also doesn't think military hardware is a "neat" enough idea to hold his attention (which is roughly that of an eight-year-old).

     Live Action TV  

  • Fairly similar to the Discworld/Leonard of Quirm example above: In a sketch in series 3, episode 2 of That Mitchell And Webb Look, the Mad Scientist Professor Death demonstrates his inventions to the US President and a military officer. These innocent creations include a Death Ray (a barcode scanner, which might also be adapted for delicate eye surgery) and a Laser Plated Armoured Scorpion of Death (a shop shelf-stacker - "the sting fires helpful bullets!"). However, when it is suggested that these machines might have military applications that would help the war effort, he is disgusted and attempts to smash the devices:
    "Noooooo! The Mind-Controlling Death Ants were created to help mankind, not destroy it!"

     Video Games  

  • The Sirta Foundation in Mass Effect doesn't produce any weapons out of ethical concerns. They will however produce Biotic Amps that can give a user the ability to kill people with their mind as well as omni-tools that can be used to shut down people's brains. Well, they aren't technically weapons, now are they? They also produce the medi-gel that you will mostly use to allow your teammates to continue blasting the hell out of everything in their path.
  • In Portal, the founder of Aperture Technologies got his start creating shower curtains for the military. When he came upon the idea for the portals he apparently thought their primary purpose would be as shower curtains. Or so the only known sources say.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance: at the beginning, Nick Fury is pissed at Tony Stark for withdrawing Stark International from making weapons and the like.

     Web Comics  

     Web Original  

  • The mutant Jericho, at Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. He's working on power armor. But his power armor is for medics and EMTs to wear so they can help people in the middle of wars or superhero fights.
    • Jericho himself, however, is a Combat Medic and has a BFG which he seems to have little compunction about using, as long as he's not shooting innocents.

     Western Animation  

  • The episode "Blind as a Bat" of Batman: The Animated Series marked Bruce Wayne's first, last, and only time developing anything for the military. After the troubles that stemmed from that, Bruce declared that Wayne Corp would never develop weapons again. This came up in several later episodes, but most notably in the Batman/Superman crossover event "World's Finest", when Lex Luthor and Bruce work together on a tech project developing robotic spider drones. Lex tries to sell Bruce on military applications, but Bruce forcefully and authoritatively shuts him down.
  • Sumdac Systems from Transformers Animated, as the quote from the top of the page shows. However, they do produce a police robot that appears to wield quite dangerous weaponry, and Sumdac himself built the Dinobots (though to be fair, Megatron was pulling the strings on that one; he never meant for them to breathe fire). To drive the point home, when the company is taken over by a Corrupt Corporate Executive, one of the first things he does is hire a villain from a previous episode (who tried to blow up the city, no less) so that he can make military robots for him.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward: O'Neil Tech is a large corporate empire that has weapons manufacturing prohibited by its charter. And an Evil Uncle that secretly uses the company to build them anyways behind everyones back.
  • Thunderbirds has as its overall premise that International Rescue is kept secret because Brains and Jeff Tracy don't want their super-advanced vehicles used by the military. The only real recurring Big Bad, The Hood, tries multiple times to acquire photos and designs for the rescue vehicles, and he causes some of the disasters himself to get the chance. The odd thing is that most of the main rescue vehicles are heavily armed, and Expanded Universe materials confirm that Jeff and the boys are ex-US military personnelnote ; they're not pacifists as such, but apparently they'd rather not start some sort of Lensman Arms Race.
  • Batman Beyond: Derek Powers secretly uses Wayne Corp to develop weapons, conventional and biological, and then sells them to Kaznia.
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Stark International under Howard Stark is an example of this. When he dies and Corrupt Corporate Executive Obadiah Stane takes over, this policy naturally goes out the window; Tony's fury at the "corruption" of his father's company—and not a little of his own engineering work—is a recurring theme throughout the season.


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