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Obstructionist Pacifist

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Magistrate: The treasury supplies the expenses of the War.
Lysistrata: That's our first principle – no War!

When a character or group is too utterly swept up in their own need of being a pacifist or making sure that everyone/anyone else is pacifist, to the point where it slightly or completely prevents the hero/party/group in progressing to their goal or weighs them down immensely.

Sub-Trope of Honor Before Reason. Compare Suicidal Pacifism and We Have Become Complacent. Similar to Thou Shalt Not Kill. May lead to Too Dumb to Live.


Anime and Manga

  • Despite being the Sin of Wrath, Meliodas from The Seven Deadly Sins is a Technical Pacifist who chooses to be Willfully Weak and not kill his opponents. While this mindset works out early on in the manga as he and his fellow Sins are vastly more powerful than their opponents, it becomes a deterrent when they encounter the Armored Giant. Not only is this demon so strong that only using their full strength and killing it is the only way to stop it, but killing it is also the only merciful thing to relieve its suffering. Meliodas initially doesn't want to go this route and even hinders comrades of his that want to. It's only when the gravity of the whole matter is apparent to him that he decides to actually stop holding back.
  • Heavy Object: Defied in the anime-only finale. Klondike is a prominent religious scholar committed to a creed of "non-violence, non-compliance, and non-resistance", and leads an antiwar movement with a considerable number of followers. He's too inconvenient for the realpolitik-driven super-nations to keep around, but too popular and too innocuous to simply imprison or assassinate, so they resort to repeatedly deporting him to each other like a hot potato to disrupt his peace movement.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Lynn Kaifun promotes pacifism, but in his case it mostly just comes across as blind hatred of the military and everything they do or are involved in. This gets to the point that when peace talks are finally opened with the Zentraedi, he initially refuses to participate because the military has representatives at these peace talks, and Minmay of all people has to call him on this.

Comic Book

  • Knights of the Old Republic: In the War miniseries, Zayne Carrick gets drafted and is forced to fight on the frontlines of the Mandalorian Wars. He not only refuses to kill, but he refuses to let anyone else kill anyone either: he limits himself to disarming enemies by destroying their weapons and goes out of his way to stop people on either side from gunning down defeated/retreating combatants. Naturally, this frustrates the hell out of his commanding officers.

Fan Fiction

  • Padme Amidala in Saga of Tanya the Jedi opposes the idea of a galactic military force and armies in general, believing that each planet should maintain a small defense force. Not only does she forget/ignore that Naboo was so easily invaded because they had no standing army, but Padme doesn't consider that many planets (such as Tatooine) are too poor to maintain their own military forces.


  • In Deathworld 2, Mikah Samon is a "pacifist" who opposes Jason's plan to foment revolution (and later a war of consolidation) on the planet they've crashed on, even though in the existing political system most people are slaves and all the factions are too busy keeping a tight grip on their own technological monopolies for anyone to actually make any progress. His "principled resistance" led him to betray Jason twice (once to the gang he was undermining and again later to his chosen victors' enemies), the second time causing Jason to take a wound he wouldn't have survived if rescuers from his homeworld hadn't found them.
  • In The Sword of Truth the beliefs of the culture that produced evil pacifists are absurd to the point where they won't fight back or even try to get out of the way when people with weapons are nearby and trying to kill each other. Indeed, they are Too Dumb to Live.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition: The "Vow of Nonviolence" and "Vow of Peace" Intrinsic Vow feats make this a game mechanic — both require the Player Character to police their allies' behavior, and the former also inflicts mechanical penalties on nearby allies who commit violent acts. However, there are a few loopholes - the vows only cover living beings (constructs and undead are fair game), and if the enemies try to pull an I Surrender, Suckers then their lives are forfeit (the book explicitly states that the vow-swearer's allies are allowed to kill enemies under that condition without breaking the vow or suffering penalties).

Video Games

  • The community of Fisherman's Horizon in Final Fantasy VIII has a large proportion of pacifists amongst its citizens, and the Mayor, Dobe, tries to stop SeeD from fighting to defend the town from invading Galbadians in favour of attempting negotiation. He has no idea how to react when he learns the Galbadians are under orders to raze the town, nor when SeeD fights on his behalf and ends up saving his life.
  • A series of sidequests in Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise has Kenshiro facing interference from a group of sworn pacifists within Eden. Each time, they try to settle the current issue peacefully. Each time, they fail miserably and Kenshiro has to save them. The group ultimately disbands after bandits brutally murder their leader for trying to negotiate with them. Kenshiro sympathizes with them, but is well aware this isn't a world where peace is an option.
  • Hochi from Ghost of Tsushima. While not a coward, his insistence of being a pacifist essentially makes him The Load, giving Jin and Norio the unnecessary extra work of covering his ass. He proves his bravery by ultimately throwing himself in front of a Mongol trying to ambush Norio, dying in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Mass Effect: A common tactic the Reapers use is to indoctrinate high-ranking politicians into this, luring them in with promises of negotiation and then making them sabotage any attempt to fight the Reapers, who have no interest in negotiation, often penalizing anyone who tries to fight back.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Many pacifists who would be Conscientious Objectors to military service are also opposed to paying taxes to fund the military. In the United States, The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund works to pass a national law to allow conscientious objectors to redirect their tax money to be used only for non-military purposesnote