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Perfect Pacifist People

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"Let us do without soldiers. The joy built upon successful slaughter is not the right kind of joy; it will not do; it is fearful and it is trivial. A boundless and generous contentment, a magnanimous triumph felt not against some outer enemy but in communion with the finest and fairest in the souls of all men everywhere and the splendor of the world's summer: This is what swells the hearts of the people of Omelas, and the victory they celebrate is that of life."

This trope describes one of the most common forms of Utopia: a society, nation, or world that has ascended so far beyond petty divisiveness that everyone is a pacifist living in peace and harmony.

This is generally a starting point for stories; either someone's bored of the Sugar Bowl life and would rather live In Harm's Way, or invaders think it's ripe for conquest, or someone discovers an Awful Truth about it. Needless to say, such a setting is easy pickings for Author Tracts and Strawman Political characters.

This trope can be either played straight or subverted. When played straight, the Perfect Pacifist People will be Actual Pacifists, shunning all physical violence even when their society is threatened. In these cases, a common plot point is for a character to learn the ways of war (so he can teach it to his people), or find others to do the fighting for them. On rare occasions, they'll break out the Superweapon Surprise to justify why they're able to live as pacifists.

Subversions happen when the perfect pacifist utopia isn't actually perfect. Perhaps they're pacifists in name only who have no qualms fighting outsiders, or it's a façade for the elites, with lesser citizens relegated to a Dystopia. Or perhaps they preach and (non-violently) enforce pacifism at the price of any individuality whatsoever. Or, if they aren't planning on blaming human nature and ending free will, they might condemn emotion as a weakness, refusing to acknowledge any meaning in others' lives.

It's worth noting that the utopian society described in Plato's The Republic both subverts this trope and plays it straight. The Republic has a general pacifist attitude, but its citizens are ready to fight if necessary; on the other hand, it's not above hiring mercenaries from its neighbours as well, both to defend the Republic and to weed out their most violent members.

Also see Rousseau Was Right (which believes that such a future is inevitable), Crystal Spires and Togas, No Poverty, and Utopia. May overlap with Veganopia. Crapsaccharine World is the trope for utopias that aren't what they seem.

See also City in a Bottle, Space Elves, and more specifically Proud Scholar Race (Type I), which is a sister trope. Contrast Proud Warrior Race Guy.


Straight Uses of This Trope:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Stellvia of the Universe is set in such a world. Except for the civil unrest, the quiet hints of xenophobia... The point is that humans are capable of this given a unifying factor such as the second wave but go right back to causing trouble without one. Besides, who was it went and deployed children in combat craft without any need for preparation?
  • The planet Aqua (Mars after extensive terraforming) in ARIA plays the trope straight.
  • Although it's not seen, since the story happens at the beginning of the second War Games, this is supposedly the reason that the Chess of MÄR began their campaign seven years ago.
  • In Tripeace (named after a group dedicated to ending war forever) there was a certain small country that did away with weapons and violence and lived peacefully for many years. After they were annihilated by an enemy country the survivors formed the terrorist group Ares (or Hades) and dedicated themselves to causing conflicts to avenge the destruction of their country and because "war is eternal".
  • The Sanc Kingdom and The Colonies in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing were like this; attempting to maintain peace they became pacifistic and disarmed, attempting to lead by example to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the growing Earth Sphere Alliance didn't take the message to heart and eliminated the Sanc Kingdom before putting the colonies under their totalitarian rule. At the end of the series, the Earth Sphere Unified Nation tries again, but having learned from what happened to the Sanc Kingdom, they keep a token peacekeeper force, the Preventers, on hand just in case.

    Collectible Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • The people of Zenn-La, the homeworld of the Silver Surfer, became this during their Golden Age of Reason. They had a single 'ultimate weapon' of such 'terrible' power that they were certain if a threat came along that required deploying it, it would defend them against all threats (since they were after all the pinnacle of perfection). Galactus didn't even appear to notice its deployment as it didn't even slow his ship down. At which point they were helpless as they'd put all their defensive eggs in one basket.
  • The Transformers (Marvel): The original Transformers were such a society. Megatron creates the Decepticons out of disgust at their satisfied lives, and the Autobots learned to fight back by copying their example. This origin was Retconned away in later stories.
  • In ElfQuest, The Sun Folk are like this for much of their history before the Wolfriders joined them, confident no invader would ever make through the desert to reach them. Leetah, their powerful healer, eventually realizes that she made this situation worse by taking care of the slightest medical problem immediately and thus made her people a bunch of wimps. However, when things start getting more dangerous, they willingly accept combat training in order to defend themselves.
  • The Wosk in Atavar sealed themselves off from the rest of the galaxy to avoid war, and when threatened by the UOS, decided to pray instead of fighting. Too bad their god turned out to be galactic cancer aiming to wipe out all life.
  • Wonder Woman and the other Amazons are sort of a mixed bag.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): The Amazons of Paradise Island (Golden & Silver Age) are peaceful as a rule. They enjoy competitions of strength but they only fight for practice and fun and peace is part of the agreement/design that allows the Amazons to remain immortal so long as they're on the island. As part of becoming an Amazon they must swear to never kill as well, and breaking this oath will make them no longer an Amazon.
    • The Amazons of Themyscira (Post-Crisis) were re-imagined as a Proud Warrior Race in the 80s somehow without really losing their Perfect Pacifist People hat, and when Themyscira entered the stage of international politics it insists on remaining entirely neutral. Thus in most stories, the Amazons remain isolationists with a rich culture and knowledge of mysticism but also fierce warriors in all fields of combat. The dichotomy is sometimes brought up in-universe, especially by enemies like Veronica Cale.
      Batman: "Force peace." The Amazon tenet. "Spread love and understand but don't be afraid to bloody your knuckles doing it."
  • Red Sonja turns out to belong to one such people. In the limited miniseries Wrath of the Gods, she is revealed to be a Bundini, a race of red-haired humans characterized as peaceful farmers, advisers and merchants with no martial skill whatsoever, and as result, they live as pariahs among Hyborian peoples and are constant targets of Odin and Loki. According to their legend, a chosen warrior will raise among them with unparalleled martial skill to avenge the oppressed Bundini which turns out to be Sonja herself. In addition, Thor the God of Thunder himself is one himself in this continuity, being the son of Odin and a Bundini queen.
  • The Disney Ducks Comic Universe has the inhabitants of the planet Pacificus, who live an idyllic life on their world and disapprove of the Earthlings' violence and other bad habits... Including cowardice. They're also perfectly aware that their way of life is imperfect and harder than it seems, especially as others would try and take advantage of their peaceful ways, so they developed ways to defend themselves without harming their enemies. And when those fails, their queen Reginella is willing to summon Donald rather than let her people be enslaved or worse.

    Fan Works 

    Film - Animated 
  • The Toads in The Super Mario Bros. Movie are an implied version of this trope — Aside from a few ceremonial guards at the castle, the Mushroom Kingdom appears to have no defenses whatsoever, and their only recourse upon learning of an imminent invasion is to ask the nearby Jungle Kingdom for help. It's suggested that the main reason Peach and Mario are the heroes of the kingdom are because they're the only people capable of doing any sort of fighting at all.
    "Look at us; we're adorable!"

    Film - Live-Action 
  • The John Wayne film Angel and the Badman has Wayne's character Quirt Evans fall in love with a Quaker farm-girl whose community is threatened because a neighboring non-Quaker landowner isn't letting them use the community dam to distribute water. (The Quakers had built it on the property of a family that had since gone bankrupt and been bought out.) The Quakers' only solution is to pray for their neighbor's soul, but Quirt solves the problem in an afternoon with a few veiled threats, backed up by his apparently fearsome reputation. (Then, to show there's no hard feelings, he brings the guy over to meet his neighbors and they end up striking up a friendship.)
  • Barbarella: According to this movie, by the 40th century Earth and much of the universe will be pacified and weapons will have been entirely banned. This proves problematic when Barbarella, a product of this culture, is sent on an important mission to an uncharted planet that turns out to be inhabited by Always Chaotic Evil aliens, though things tend to work themselves out in her favor.
  • The musically-inspired future in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey appears to be a textbook example of this trope. Even a classroom invasion by De Nomolos to destroy their world elicits nothing worse than insults.
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) has a version of this. Klaatu says that his people live in peace and are free from aggression and war because of the creation of the Gorts and giving them absolute irrevocable power over the people.
  • The Krell in Forbidden Planet are referenced as having moved to this point, at least until their psychic monsters were unleashed.
  • Played with in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3; the High Evolutionary wants to create such people for his utopia and he specifically orders new lifeforms to be designed with their capacity for violence removed. However, despite his efforts, the Beast Men of Counter-Earth subvert this trope, with one citizen brutally beating up another with a baseball bat and a drug dealer sells his "goods" to children in a back alley. When the High Evolutionary learns about this, he declares the society flawed and proceeds to destroy it.
  • In The Last Starfighter, the Star League is so devoted to pacifism that when they are threatened by the Ko-Dan, they could only find a few dozen members from all of their member planets with sufficient bloodlust to become Gunstar gunners. In desperation, Centauri searches barbarian worlds outside the league (such as Earth) for others with the ferocity and skill they needed. This was especially evident in the Novelization, where the mere mention of physical violence made many League members uneasy.
  • Star Trek: Insurrection has the Ba'ku, who refuse to fight even when they discover that invaders are trying to forcibly relocate them off their tranquil planet. Their leader even says "The moment we pick up a weapon, we become one of them." Although that reluctance may not be solely a result of Perfect Pacifism, so much as a result of some of the invaders being their own children.
  • Star Wars: A New Hope has Leia protest that Alderaan is peaceful, with no weapons, when Tarkin orders the Death Star to target it. He doesn't care.
  • The Amish in Witness. A notable scene features an able-bodied young Amish man refusing to fight back when some tourists smear him with ice cream, prompting Harrison Ford to deliver an ass-whuppin' in his stead. Despite the fact that Ford uses violence to take on the villains in the climax, the Amish actually use their nonviolence to defeat the final villain by witnessing his evil actions. Even though they won't fight him, there are simply too many of them to kill, so he's already lost.
  • The Hutterites in 49th Parallel. They are a peaceful sect that don't believe in hating, so they accept some Nazis in, but when they begin to spew their racist, German nationalist rhetoric, they are kicked out immediately by them.

  • Planet Tenara from the Star Trek novel "Captains' Honor" is a perfect example, as the people have long renounced violence (the last murder was 30 years ago). When they are attacked by the M'Dok, they must either re-learn violence or get slaughtered. And then an overzealous captain jumps off the slippery slope...
  • A Door into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski has a race called the Sharers, Actual Pacifists who use genetic engineering to manage their world's ecology. When traders and soldiers threaten their world, they have to repel the invaders without compromising their pacifism.
  • James Morrow's The Wine Of Violence plays this trope on an uncharted planet.
  • Thyreia in Emerald Prince is like this. The people there have powerful magic, but in order to use it, they must learn to calm their emotions, and in doing so, they learn that there is really no point to violence. If they were attacked, they could defend with magic, but the countries around them are like this as well. That doesn't mean that there aren't interpersonal conflicts and disagreements. They are just mature enough to settle them with words, not weapons.
  • The Time Machine plays this trope straight, but with a twist. While the Eloi truly are pacifists living a life of automated luxury, it's only because they're livestock being herded by the Morlocks. They've also been trained and genetically selected for these traits. Anyone who fights back is killed and taken first... not only setting an example to the others but removing more naturally aggressive specimens from the gene pool.
  • Larry Niven's Known Space:
    • At the time of the First Contact with the Kzin in the short story "The Warriors", humanity has been conditioned by the A.R.M., basically benevolent Secret Police who rule Earth with a soft but tight iron grip backed up by Government Drug Enforcement, to totally reject war and physical conflict. When word gets back to Earth about the Kzin first contact, this comes to a rather abrupt end, and soon thereafter the Kzin find out exactly why humanity gave up war.
    • The Pierson's Puppeteers are like this, but not because of idealism; rather, cowardice is their hat, and they almost never attack openly for fear of retribution (except Nessus, who's the Puppeteer equivalent of Ax-Crazy). Their other hat, however, is Manipulative Bastard, so they find other ways to defend themselves. One semi-canon offshoot novel by a different author implies that they once had a protective Proud Warrior Race Guy caste, but they have not been seen in the main continuity and are implied to be rare nowadays anyway.
  • Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld, gives us the "Prettytime," in which everyone is sweet-tempered and a little bit lazy. This is because after the operation, everyone gets brain lesions. So it gets played with somewhat.
  • Animorphs has the Pemalites, a ridiculously peaceful race who were completely obliterated by a more militaristic species. Tragically, their incredible technology could have been converted into weapons that would easily destroy their opponent but as a species, they couldn't bear to do so.
    • Said technology lives on in the form of the equally pacifistic Chee, a robotic "race" created by the Pemalites, dog-like in their natural state but able to project an image of being human. Their programming doesn't allow them to be violent.
    • Animorphs also has the Hork-Bajir, who while not as advanced, were also totally peaceful, and were enslaved when they caught the attention of a more aggressive race. Notable in that all of these species were created artificially, and designed to be non-violent by their creators. The series seems to give the impression that while being a pacifist sounds great; in reality, it isn't a good survival tactic.
  • Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Green-Sky Trilogy has the Kindar, who don't even have most of the words for violent acts or negative emotions. Subverted by the fact that the true power behind their governing council has no qualms about exiling dissenters to what they believe is certain death. What Snyder does do is subvert the old standby wherein the lead character realizes that sometimes Violence Really Is the Answer and becomes a badass and all that. In fact, she makes those who do choose this option look like idiots. The true hero is the most passive guy in the book.
  • Deconstructed by the Bandakar society in the Sword of Truth series. Exiled beyond a magical boundary for being pristinely ungifted, they adapted by forming a near-unbreakable community bond, going so far as to outlaw any form of violence against each other. The deconstruction comes when the heroes find out that their strict pacifist philosophy extends even to self-defense in any form. Deviant criminals who've committed murder are attempted to be rehabilitated several times beyond the point of common sense. As a last measure, they subdue the offender and dump him down a cliff that leads outside the boundary as a form of exile. They won't attack or drive off the predatory birds that occasionally fly away with young children. And when the Imperial Order comes to call, the most they offer is a meek protest when its soldiers proceed to kidnap and rape women of all ages in a program of systematic breeding to cultivate their ungifted trait. Even when the heroes attempt to train them to fight back, the Bandakarans mostly refuse, saying that they have no right to judge the men of the Order as they don't know the circumstances under which they're acting, and try to stop the heroes from fighting with them. They're then slaughtered as they got in the way.
  • Piers Anthony's Macroscope is about an interstellar communication network that destroys the mind of anyone else. Turns out it was a safety feature - any other race would use the knowledge to wage an interstellar war.
  • This is what the Capped humans always said the Masters helped humans achieve in The Tripods series. And it's true, it's just done by mind control that makes humans docile, and apparently unable to maintain any technology beyond medieval/renaissance age.
  • The Tuatha'an, Traveling People, in The Wheel of Time are a race of nomadic Actual Pacifists who call their philosophy the Way of the Leaf, because a leaf does not resist force but is blown as the wind wills. Other than their pacifism, they are closely based on real-life Irish Travellers, in culture and in name- 'Tuatha'an' is derived from Old Irish and both groups are commonly derogated as Tinkers. Like their real-life counterparts, the People are seldom welcome wherever they go, but in this setting it's because their outlook is so idealistic that it tends to attract young people to join them. The People spend most of the books being slaughtered, both by the Shadowspawn, and by prejudiced human neighbors. While their stance is denounced by several people as very impractical, it's also considered admirable, and anyone who calls them cowards is generally harshly called out - just because they won't fight doesn't mean that they're afraid of danger. Ironically, they're actually closely related to the Aiel, the proud warrior race in the setting, both split off original culture after the Breaking of the World: future Aiel got disillusioned about being perpetual victims, while future Tuatha'an decided to abandon their mission of keeping various Magitek artifacts secure. Now Aiel loathe the Tuatha'an, seeing them as 'lost', but refuse to harm them. Both peoples have forgotten their shared origins, with the only remnants in Aiel culture being a refusal to use swords, a complex about some long forgotten failure to serve the Aes Sedai (by abandoning the Way of the Leaf), and the Tuatha'an are always trying to "find the song" (magical Song that their progenitors used in agriculture) - though even they have no idea what it is and just assume they'll know it when they hear it. The only exceptions are the Clan Chiefs and Wise Ones of the Aiel, who discover the truth when they undergo a trial at the holy city of Rhuidean. Considering their honor based culture, 2/3 of candidates unsurprisingly go insane, and it's significant enough that one of the Prophecies of the Dragon actually notes that Rand will break his people with that revelation.
  • Deconstructed in The Dinosaur Lords with the Gardeners, followers of religious movement that teaches abandoning conflict and war in favour of arts and culture. The problem is, no country's alone, and Providence's neighbors are power-hungry, warlike, and well-armed. Even worse, the Gardeners have no idea how to get about this whole business of defending themselves, and the situation looks grim until they hire outside help.
  • The RainWings in Wings of Fire live an isolated, idyllic life in the treetops and have no knowledge of fighting or desire for conflict. Glory, a RainWing who was raised outside of their tribe, just hates how stereotypical they are and how their complacency is allowing The NightWings to kidnap them and plan a genocidal attack on them, while Sunny admires their culture. It is later revealed that it isn't as simple as that, though - the RainWings had previously used their terrifying natural weapons for war, but it was a long enough time ago that most RainWings weren't alive when it happened, and Glory ends up recruiting RainWings who are willing to fight to defend themselves to her cause and becomes queen and leads the RainWings to war with the NightWings.. And their treatment of Chameleon for lacking camouflage powers that leads him to become a villain who kills RainWings on sight shows they're not exactly perfect either.
  • The doelike Runa in The Sparrow were this; vegetarians who negotiated conflicts with discussion and avoided competition because it might make the losers heartsick. They gathered flowers and plants and sold them in a trade alliance with the Jana'ata, city-dwelling carnivores. Only it wasn't just a trade alliance. As in many other such stories, the Runa were cattle — cultivated as food by the Jana'ata and even surrendering their babies when the "cullers" came in. When a visiting Earthwoman — a Jewish survivor of the Second Kurdish War — saw this, she immediately began to chant "We are many, they are few!", and a revolution was born.
  • In Andy Weir's short story "Yuri Gagarin Saves the Galaxy" aliens contact Yuri Gagarin while he's in orbit and offer several technologies that he refuses after pointing out they can be weaponized, something the aliens apparently hadn't thought of. Then they offer interstellar travel and he asks if there are any alien races prepared for war, a word that their translators fail to find an equivalent for. Realizing what kind of beings he's talking to, Yuri requests that they refrain from making further contact with humanity for at least 10,000 years.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the people of the island of Naath worship the God of Harmony and reject all forms of violence; they don't even kill animals and live mostly on fruit. They were protected from conquerors by "butterfly fever" a disease they're immune to but every foreigner gets who spends time on Naath. However, they became a target for slavers who found out that they don't get sick if they only stay for a short time.
  • In Island, Pala, which would be Crystal Spires and Togas if it wasn't tropical, has no army. Consequently, on the last pages of the novel, it gets conquered by the neighboring Rendang in three minutes flat.
  • The Silerian Trilogy: The Beyah-Olvari are naturally pacifists, and live in perfect harmony (albeit hiding underground) together.
  • The Fifth Sacred Thing is a reconstruction of the concept. The people of The City are heavily pacifist and violence is greatly decreased in their society, but it's not completely absent and when the Stewards invade the question of whether or not to fight back is a contested one. They eventually compromise by deciding to avoid physical violence, but use sabotage, logistics and psychological warfare to weaken the army. It very nearly ignites into actual war, but enough soldiers defect to break the Stewards' hold on the city. They may believe strongly in pacifism, but they are not uniformly agreed, incapable of violence or stupid.
    • The sequel City of Refuge also addresses a common hypocrisy found in these societies, where pacifism is enforced by violence. While they don't like that the slaves they free choose to kill those that abused them, they don't stop them either.
  • The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet has the Exodans, the descendants of the humans that fled Earth in massive Generation Ships. Due to their limited resources and absolute reliance on each other, they couldn't afford to fight, and even after they met The Federation they retain their pacifist ideals. Later books reveal that the "perfect" part is a bit exaggerated, as the Fleet inhabitants have become xenophobic and self-righteous about their pacifism, partially due to their reconnection with Martian humans (who abandoned them to die in the first place).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Several species in Star Trek feature races and societies with this trope to varying degrees:
    • Vulcans embrace logic and pacifism to the point of following strict vegetarian diets. They're willing to incapacitate intruders with non-violent means, however.
      • While the Vulcans are usually characterised this way (complete with Cultural Posturing), they still seem happy enough to serve Starfleet in a military capacity when required, and even maintain a small fleet of their own warships. Though the Romulans (or at least Sela) seemed to think that 4 warbirds would be enough to conquer Vulcan, so they can't be that militaristic (or the Romulans wildly underestimate them, which is also possible).
    • The Halkans are a society with a history of complete peace; they are so devoutly pacifist that they refused to allow the Federation to mine dilithium from their planet for fear that it might eventually used for violent acts. In the Mirror Universe, they were prepared to sacrifice their entire race before allowing the evil version of the Federation to have the dilithium.
    • The Grazerites are a bovine-humanoid species who advocate community and pacifism.
    • The Aenar have a strictly pacifist ideology and deplore violence.
    • The Mizarians, a race that embraces total and absolute pacifism. They've also been conquered by other species six times over the course of three centuries. Apparently they survived by offering absolutely no resistance until, one assumes, their conquerors simply got bored and went elsewhere, or their conquerors got conquered by someone else.
    • The Organians from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Errand of Mercy". Pacifism is easy when you're a race of immortal Energy Beings several magnitudes more powerful than any would-be invaders.
    • Subverted in "A Taste of Armageddon": the people of Eminiar (and the neighboring planet) have fought their war so long that they stopped using real weapons, lest the war destroys both civilizations; instead, computers simulate attacks and the designated casualties report to convenient booths for routine disintegration. Their aversion to weapons does not keep them from using deadly force against the Enterprise, but does frighten them into opening communications and peace talks when their war computers are destroyed.
    • The natives of the planet Neural in "A Private Little War" were pacifists, until the Klingons start arming some of them, and Kirk decides to arm the others to even things up.
    • A race of telepaths encountered by the Voyager in the episode "Random Thoughts" has outlawed violent thought in order to protect society from unintentional violence. Unfortunately, they forget to tell this to their visitors, resulting in B'Elanna (a fiery half-Klingon) "infecting" a passerby with a violent thought (it's later discovered that he is from an underground community who sell violent thoughts and specifically provoked B'Elanna. A few minutes later, a local murders another local over a tiny disagreement due to the influence of B'Elanna's thoughts. She is arrested by the local police and sentenced to have her mind purged of violent thoughts. Realizing that there's very little to B'Elanna besides violent thoughts, the crew fights to prevent this.
    • Star Trek: Picard: Before the arrival of La Sirena and Narek, the androids on Coppelius enjoyed a crime-free existence because they never had a prisoner, and therefore there was no violence or murders amongst themselves.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Stargate SG-1 has the Nox, a highly advanced species disguised as simple naturalists. They refuse to participate in anything that may harm others, and won't even fight to defend themselves. Then again, they can cloak themselves and can revive the dead if they do get killed, so few things really threaten them. They also tend to get very snotty toward people who have every reason to be extremely wary and who literally have no other option other than to fight to survive. Oddly enough, the humans act as if the Nox are right to virtually condemn them - though this doesn't mean that they aren't occasionally frustrated by the Nox.
    • In fact, the first Nox that SG-1 meets would have been killed if the humans had not fought to protect them. The Nox don't really acknowledge this, and still believe that fighting is unnecessary. But not all of them are quite completely pacifistic: one of them helps fight off a Goauld attack by cloaking a gun (she didn't fire the gun, so it didn't count as fighting), and of course the race is/was allies with some other advanced races like the Asgard and Ancients who were definitely not pacifists.
    • The Furlings are implied to have met their end by becoming this sort of culture; they hid away in a secret location, intending to make it a peaceful utopia, and then they accidentally ate a hallucinogenic plant (possibly brought by one of the evil races) that made them all kill each other.
  • The Leviathans in Farscape were built as an enforced version of this trope: because they don't have any weapons and can't be modified to that end, most of them take the most diplomatic route possible- hence the reason why they're so easily enslaved. Plus, when Moya gave birth to a gunship, she narrowly avoided being decommissioned by the Builders, who refused to see their creations modified to violent ends.
  • An episode of Legend of the Seeker has the heroes happen upon a village of these, who are being raided by a local warlord. However, when Richard attempts to train a few volunteers on how to fight, they go into a coma-like state. Zedd discovers that any attempt to cause violence is blocked by a spell cast long ago by a powerful wizard. When Richard convinces him to lift the spell (despite Zedd's objections), they very quickly realize why the spell was there. The trained villagers develop a magically-fueled bloodlust resulting in a slaughter of a garrison of soldiers of the warlord, with Richard (who has succumbed to the same bloodlust), leading the assault. After the situation is resolved peacefully, Zedd explains that, long ago, an evil sorcerer bound a group of people to his will, giving them a bloodlust like no other. For their own good, a wizard put a spell on the people and their descendants that required them to abstain from violence. Oh, and that evil sorcerer is Richard's ancestor (a Rahl), which is why the berserk villagers were following him.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): In this incarnation, Paradise Island's amazons are this because they are a Proud Scholar Race Guy. In contrast with the Proud Warrior Race from the comics, the amazons were overpowered by the Nazis in "The Feminum Mystique". However, the Amazons easily overpower the Nazis once Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl came back to liberate the Isle.
  • On The A-Team, the team was once hired by a group of pacifists to protect them, but when the team tried to use violence, the pacifists fired them. Hannibal said that at least they weren't hypocrites.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Several alien races fit this mold in the background of Warhammer 40,000. Then the Imperium of Mannote  encountered them, and those races no longer exist.
  • In the Mystara setting's Hollow World, a Hidden Elf Village is home to the Gentle Folk, elves so pacifistic that they were wiped out on the surface. Not a utopian example, as their extreme passivity and reluctance to impose their will on others makes them rather depressing company.
  • The Ancient Martians from Rocket Age clearly hadn't had a war for a long time since when the Erisians came for them they were utterly unprepared for it.

    Video Games 
  • The Liir from Sword of the Stars, empaths who feel the pain of others. They depend on a caste of voluntary Ax-Crazy Liir for defense.
    • Subverted somewhat in that they have no concept of military restraint - they see no essential difference between firing a warning shot and wiping out every creature on every world of an entire empire with horrific bio-weapons.
    • Not to mention that the Suul'Ka, the Big Bads of the games, are Liir Elders gone crazy due to Immortality Immorality
  • The Serenes people, a bird laguz tribe in the Tellius-Saga of Fire Emblem, not only tend to be extremely peaceful and pacifist, but also are practically incapable of physical violence and break their knuckles with even a simple punch. They also are very fragile and easily get sick. It is therefore no surprise that they were almost completely annihilated in the Serenes Massacre when they were falsely blamed for a murder. Subverted a bit since the last remaining herons show to have become a lot tougher in spirit and less pacifistic, although they still cannot fight on their own. It is also mentioned that there are forbidden songs that can cause considerable damage, though performing them warps the singer in some way. Subverted further by herons who have lost their powers by having a child with a beorc and the resulting half-herons. Both groups make very powerful magic users.
  • Your faction can eventually get to this point in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, once you develop Eudaimonia civic. As Encyclopedia Exposita explains, Eudaimonic society is tolerant and just, and even when it has to go to war, it prefers to subdue rather than kill. In game mechanics, it means lowered morale of military units.
  • The world government in Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising has used Nanomachines to remove poverty and need, effectively removing all reasons to go to war. This brought along with it a paradigm shift in the way people viewed the world, creating a peaceful world. The player controls the last warship on Earth, beating down a piece of The Remnant that has re-surfaced and is planning to bring it all down again.
    In the year 2012, the Earth was hit by the last thing it was expecting: Sanity.
    2012 was the End of Days in the old Mayan calendar, a time of great change, the conclusion of history, and it seemed to coincide with a great sea change in the way people saw the world.
    No-one dared suggest that it brought the change with it, of course. But suddenly, we all looked at each other, and saw not where we all came from, but where we were all going. And we decided to all go there together.
    This is what we are fighting for. This is what the old rulers don't want us to have. A world gone sane.
  • The bird-like Chozo race from Metroid are Precursors who have evolved to a point in which they live in harmony with nature, shunning violence and destructive technology. Of course, they were warriors once, and were able to create the advanced Powered Armor that Samus uses. The downside of this is explored as well: after being pacifists for so long they could no longer use their own weapons even when they REALLY needed them. The Stinger of Metroid: Samus Returns reveals that a rogue faction of Chozo who never gave up their warlike ways were the ones who slaughtered their peaceful brethren.
  • Ōkami has the Celestials, a race of angelic (they have wings on their head) beings that were driven into extinction by Orochi and his Demons. Some of their ghosts appear in the game.
  • In Shadow Realms, the Radiant Empires were prosperous, scholarly, and perfectly peaceful for thousands of years - quite an achievement on their particular world, which had previously seen multiple civilizations rise to glory before annihilating themselves in the kind of magical apocalypse made easy by that world's magic-rich environment. However, they were left unprepared for the invasion of the game's main villains, and have had to recruit help from Earth.
  • The Cleryans in Final Fantasy IX had isolated themselves from the rest of the world by living in a tree that's surrounded by a tornado powered by their magic. The Cleryans have lived in peace for so long that the concept of violence and fighting is absolutely foreign to them. Their everlasting pacifism kicks them in the rear when the Big Bad invades the tree and slaughters the entire colony.
  • Deconstructed in Final Fantasy XIV. There was once a people on a distant world who eventually eliminated everything that gave rise to sorrow and reached the pinnacle of existence with no war, sickness, hunger, or strife. Eventually, the people of the Plenty realized they had nothing left to strive for, that joy was empty without sorrow, and so collectively decided to commit suicide.
  • The plot of Pickle Wars kicks off with aliens invading a planet whose inhabitants long ago threw out their weapons, and whose president plans to prosecute them on the grounds that war is illegal. Fortunately, there's still a stash of weapons...somewhere, and it's up to the protagonist to find it. Even more fortunately, in the meantime Salad Shooters make short work of any aliens that try to block his path.
  • Fanatic Pacifist Empires in Stellaris are a Downplayed Trope variation. While they do enjoy greater Stability and are easier to manage than other empires, they cannot declare offensive wars. But anyone else declaring war on them will quickly understand that they follow the Martial Pacifist path.

  • The Dimension of Lame from Sluggy Freelance, who find food fighting to be immoral and voluntarily heal the Demonic Invaders who are enslaving them and eating their souls. Their greatest weapon is a warhead that dumps millions of "Please don't kill us!" notes on a city. They subvert the Training the Peaceful Villagers trope as even with weeks of training, they still cannot comprehend violence enough to deliver a single hit to a demon without bursting into tears. The only reason they survived to the end of the arc is due to their sheer numbers tiring the demons out.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Bravestarr: The sheep-like humanoid Foofta aliens, from the episode "The Ballad of Sarah Jane", are these with a dash of Space Amish. When Bravestarr saves them from being enslaved by the Krang, their leader is so horrified by the use of any sort of "violence" that he threatens to turn himself and all his people over to the Krang.
  • Lampshaded and subverted in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror II. Lisa wishes on a monkey paw for world peace. The Earth is then immediately taken over by Kang and Kodos using only a slingshot and a club. When Ned Flanders unwishes it, Moe chases them away with a board with a nail in it.
  • The Air Nomads from Avatar: The Last Airbender were a great example of this, having no army and preaching peace and harmony. That is, until the Fire Nation killed them all save one boy. Not that they went down without a fight. The skeleton of the hero's mentor, Monk Gyatso, was found surrounded by at least a dozen dead soldiers. Keep in mind, Gyatso killed those soldiers when they had each been empowered by a passing comet with the strength of one hundred firebenders. And Avatar Aang himself, although he had a strict No Killing policy, never showed an aversion to fighting or harming people.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars
    • The episode "Defenders of Peace" had the Lurmen, a group of rural villagers who refuse (by will of their elder/leader) to align with either the Jedi or the Separatists, even when threatened with a Separatist bioweapon. A few of the younger Lurmen side with the Jedi when the village is under attack.
    • The Mandalorians under the 'New Mandalorian' government of Duchess Satine. Mandalore remained neutral in the Clone Wars and maintains a peaceful society under her rule. But it all starts going under fast when Death Watch and Darth Maul easily overthrew her puny regime in an orchestrated False Flag Operation which makes Death Watch look like heroes.

    Real Life 
  • The Indus Valley Civilisation. Despite centuries of research, very few to absolutely no weapons have been found in the ruins and war is very rarely portrayed in murals. From all accounts, they simply did not have war as part of their culture.
  • The Moriori people of the Chatham Islands were pretty close to this, an utterly pacifist society of hunter-gatherers. When a Māori invasion came in 1835 they didn't even understand the concept of armed conflict and were almost entirely wiped out as they tried to negotiate. The invading Māori killed, enslaved, and cannibalized the Moriori, with only 101 alive by 1862, although Moriori culture has since received a Renaissance. Most sadly, it was later discovered the Moriori were Maori originally who came to the Islands in the 1600s. All Moriori living today are of mixed ancestry-the last unmixed Moriori died in 1933.
  • Quakers. Being a Quaker is one of only a few ways you can get out of the draft. William Penn founded Pennsylvania on the basis of Quaker-style pacifism. Before the U.S.A.'s independence Pennsylvania had no militia and only a tiny police force. Though religious freedom in the colony meant that not everybody was a Quaker and subsequently it didn't go entirely to plan. Pennsylvania did have a militia formed by the non-Quaker immigrants, who often expressed resentment at the founders of the colony, who from their perspective did not pull their weight in ensuring the safety of the colonists. Whether Pennsylvania would have survived unmolested without them is a subject of some degree of debate up to this day.
  • There are many religious and secular movements which are at least anti-war if not completely anti-violence. As with philosophies in general the behaviors of individual members and the level of adherence can vary dramatically.
  • Bonobos, a species of great ape, are much, much more cooperative and non-aggressive than their chimpanzee cousins, or indeed any other social primate. They instinctively settle disagreements with sex rather than violence.


    Anime and Manga 
  • One Mobile Suit Gundam Wing sidestory has a subversion with the so-called Perfect Peace People. Despite all their constant rhetoric about how pacifist they are, they are little more than terrorists who brainwash people and use violence to enforce their peace.
  • Deeply, deeply subverted in Texhnolyze. The Theonormals who inhabit Earth's surface exiled everybody with genetic tendency towards violence underground, and created a utopian society free of fear. As a result, the said society became horribly stagnant, losing all passions and interest to do anything but reminiscence the old days. Even the threat of the exiles returning to slaughter them all fails to provoke any reaction beyond "that's nice".

  • The future world of Demolition Man appears as this, but it quickly becomes apparent things are not as they seem. It plays this straight mostly, to deconstruct it. The police force of this society devoid of crime (other than petty things such as petty thefts, littering or using bad language) and war is so pacifistic and non-confrontational that when faced with an Ax-Crazy psychopathic criminal, neither they nor anybody else in the society has any idea how to deal with him. This resulted in the defrosting of a cop from an era where the police actually dealt with dangerous criminals.
  • I Am Curious (Yellow): The entire nation of Sweden is trying to be this. The Swedish parliament passes a bill for a "Nonviolent Defense Force" instead of an army. The government declares that if Sweden were ever occupied (they managed to stay neutral during World War II, by the way), the people would resist by all methods short of violence. The members of the non-violent defense force are shown practicing a drill in which they lay down on train tracks to stop an ammunition train, singing "We Shall Overcome" as they take position. It comes off as silly, especially when one of the "soldiers" points out that the enemy won't bother to stop when they see people lying on the tracks.
  • The Alliance tried to create a world like this artificially in Serenity. For the most part it worked a little too well - but also ended up creating the Reavers.

  • This Perfect Day starts with a utopia without poverty, hunger, violence, or fear. It turns out this is because everyone is drugged and genetically engineered to behave this way, controlled by a supercomputer that is controlled by a cabal of immortal programmers who live in true luxury.
  • Zigzagged in the Confederation of Valor series. In the backstory, it's justified: for the most part only species that evolve past violence achieve Faster-Than-Light Travel because species that don't have a tendency to blow themselves up first. Deconstructed when the Others show up and begin attacking, and the Confederation has to uplift first humanity, then the Taykans, Krai, and Silsviss because they haven't evolved past violence. Arguably Reconstruction as of the latest books. The war turned out to be a giant sociology experiment by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens operating under Blue-and-Orange Morality, and it seems highly likely the Others have the same arrangement as the Confederation.
  • As seen in Halo's The Forerunner Saga, the Forerunners are slow to anger. However, when it's apparent that their people, planets, or religious beliefs are in danger, they go to war with unstoppable efficient brutality, wiping out nearly all traces of the offending civilization from existence if need be. It should be noted that despite the Forerunners' pacifist pretensions, their ecumene is a Crapsaccharine World more than willing to resort to violence against its own citizens; in fact, the ecumene's single most powerful figure has ordered the deaths of countless fellow Forerunners for no reason but personal gain.
  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • The Betans might want to be thought of as this. However, they are capable of interfering with their neighbors' quarrels admittedly on a perfectly justifiable occasion like the Escobar war. What is more to the point is that they are arms dealers which makes them hypocrites when they condemn other people's bloodthirstiness.
    • The Quaddies are closer to the straight example. However, though they would not be capable of resisting a determined attack they have no qualms about using force to defend themselves.
  • The Shin in The Stormlight Archive maintain their pacifism simply and efficiently: Anyone in their culture who takes up arms is instantly enslaved for the rest of their life, traded around as a mercenary fighter. These "Truthless" are rare and tend to get killed quickly.
  • Dying of the Light: The planet of Kimdiss is presented as this by Arkin Ruark, who as a Kimdissi is utterly disgusted by the barbaric ways of High Kavalaan. As it turns out, Arkin is one of the main antagonists of the story, and Kimdiss' nonviolence is more the result of manipulation than pacifism. The bad blood between them and High Kavalaan is their own doing: the Kavalar had once upon a time joined into a confederation before the Kimdissi, fearing a united planet, incited a civil war.
  • Mistborn: The Terris people have always been pacifists. Part of this was because the Lord Ruler spent a thousand years breeding them to be servants, but even after they regain their lost culture, they are still quiet and peaceful. By the time of Wax and Wayne, most Terris live in the Village, an untamed forest in the middle of the largest city in the world. The subversion comes in when it's clear that they mostly maintain their peace by kicking out anyone who threatens it. Wax is treated as a bloodthirsty murderer because when he was a child he killed an older boy. The older boy had been torturing someone to death and tried to kill Wax when he interrupted, but Wax's grandmother still blames the whole thing on Wax.
  • Gulliver's Travels has the Houyhnhnms, a race of sapient horses that Gulliver encounters that at first appears to be this trope played straight, (until they get the bright idea of driving the Yahoos to extinction via castration). They lack many common human vices and so have no words for them in their language and have to resort to roundabout euphemisms to describe them, e.g. "to lie" becomes "to say a thing which is not". Jonathan Swift was apparently parodying some utopian ideas on this line during the Enlightenment.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness has Gethen, a planet whose unique environmental and social quirks means there has never been a war, indeed, the inhabitants don't even have a word for it and treat the whole concept as a strange, alien one. They still partake in clan feuds, murders, prejudice, and in the case of Orgoreyn, a rather horrific Police State. Just because they've never had war doesn't mean they aren't capable of violence. Later books will reveal that they did indeed go to war.
    • Ursula K. Le Guin was fond of this trope and its subversion in general, particularly of societies where interpersonal violence occurs but state violence does not. The Dispossessed has the Annaresti who have no standing army or police, but still engage in interpersonal violence on occasion. In Always Coming Home, Kesh youth sometimes engage in "wars" (really minor raids), and as a result it's seen as immature and disgraceful for an adult to engage in violence.
  • The badgers in Tasakeru are this. Rowan, one of the main characters, thinks they've crossed the line into Suicidal Pacifism, and forged his own weapons and armor as a show of defiance.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Federation in Star Trek claims to be one of these (among themselves), though they're not above keeping their "exploration vessels" well-armed... just in case they encounter any unenlightened races, of course.
  • In Babylon 5, the Minbari homeworld is startlingly peaceful, despite the Minbari's warlike reputation off-world. In the 4th season, however, half truths galore are used to technically claim that they weren't actually killing one another during their civil war.
  • In Stargate SG-1 the Tollan seem to be this too, until Anubis shows up with enough firepower to get through their defences, and then their leaders turn out to be really quick to sell out everyone else in the galaxy, to save their own hides.
    • Not only that but they also arrange a "heart attack" for the one leader who would fight this decision.
  • In Banshee the local Amish are pacifists who refuse to fight people who attack them. However, most of the local toughs know that attacking the Amish is a very bad idea. Kai Proctor, the local crime kingpin, comes from a prominent Amish family. The Amish have disowned Proctor and are shunning him, but he still insists on protecting them against any bullying or insults. When the Moody brothers forget this, Proctor delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Cal Moody that ends in Cal missing most of his front teeth.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect:
    • Asari play this trope up, responding with diplomatic measures to threats, but when that fails, they subvert it and send in the Asari Commando units. Let's just say, they can skin you alive... with their minds.
    • They also don't like to advertise the fact that many of them spend their youth adventuring the galaxy in mercenary bands for kicks, but it's certainly no secret. Mass Effect 2 shows this side of the Asari much more than the first game, as well as introducing the Knight Templar Warrior Monk Asari Justicars, who enforce the law in Asari space, usually with violence. Not so pacifist or perfect as they seem.
    • The sequel also introduces the Ardat-Yakshi, which subvert the Green-Skinned Space Babe idea by utterly destroying their mates, often becoming megalomaniacs in the process and playing up themselves as gods. The Justicar in question specifically states that Asari prefer not to talk about them because they like being thought of as the ultimate diplomats. They are, but that just means that they are also the ultimate manipulators, and when they go bad, the ultimate emotional abusers.
    • It's mentioned offhand in Mass Effect 3 that a race in the previous cycle, called the Synril, claimed to have found the path to becoming perfect pacifist people. It's unknown if their plan would have actually worked because the synril got wiped out by a much more violent race called the ditakur.
  • Supreme Commander. The Aeon Illuminate are this on the surface, being a theocratic society based on tolerance, forgiveness, and love, but one thousand years of war have seen many Aeon turn that doctrine on its head: quasi-telepathic empathy and understanding of another person means you can predict them and know how to kill them, with the result that the Aeon are seen as Scary Dogmatic Humans by the galaxy. The Aeon civilian leadership hopes to return their society to Perfect Pacifist People, though.
  • In Infinite Space, one such civilization is met by the flagship bearing Galactic Conqueror Emperor Taranis of Lugovalos, greeting his declaration of impending conquest amicably yet professing that they have no desire for war. He genocides them on the spot. The Lugovalos are usually happy to absorb most conquered civilizations into their own without excessive tyranny, but Taranis sees no worth whatsoever in people who forgot how to defend themselves.
  • The Goner fringe sect in the X-Universe series are normally Actual Pacifists. Their ships don't have any weapons mounts at all, in contrast to every other ship in the game apart from cargo drones. However, if pushed hard enough, they will fight back with lethal force: the climax of the Goner plot in X3: Terran Conflict consists of smuggling a bomb onto a Space Pirate station whose denizens have been beating the crap out of the supply lines to the Goners' new headquarters.
  • The Journeyman Project starts out after World War III, subverting this trope. While Earth is unified and all borders are dropped by the present year, 2318, time has been altered so that this no longer happens. The player, therefore, must fix this.

  • Homestuck: Beforan society was apparently the total opposite of Alternia - it was totally peaceful and the caste system was even reversed so that the higher castes are expected to take care of the lower castes. However, there still is a caste system, and an imperfect one at that, and while outright violence is uncommon there are just as many if not more Jerkasses among the Beforan trolls as the Alternian ones.

    Western Animation 
  • The Spartan theme society from the Samurai Jack's 300 homage, as they describe their society as calm, pacifist and prosperous, but their army had to go to the war in order to defend their home from mechanical minotaurs. On the other hand, the civilization never stopped to be a utopia thanks to their soldiers.