When nonviolence fails, it is often seen as an indicator of the broader lack of effectiveness of this method for resolving conflict; but when violence fails, it is not seen in a similar general light. When violence is successful, it is often taken as proof that this method works in general, while the same logic is not applied to instances of successful nonviolence. This unfortunate double standard often results in violence being viewed as superior to nonviolence in achieving power and can help make unjust wars appear just.

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Ned Dobos is a senior lecturer in international and political studies at the University of New South Wales Canberra.
Civil Liberties and Human RightsCrime, Criminal Justice, and PrisonsGovernment and PoliticsLaw and LibertyPolicingPolitical Theory