A friend of mine considers himself a pacifist and he soon begins his training as a police officer.
The Wikipedia article about pacifism says:
Pacifism covers a spectrum of views, including the belief that international disputes can and should be peacefully resolved, calls for the abolition of the institutions of the military and war, opposition to any organization of society through governmental force (anarchist or libertarian pacifism), rejection of the use of physical violence to obtain political, economic or social goals, the obliteration of force, and opposition to violence under any circumstance, even defence of self and others.
One view is that pacifists reject the use of physical violence under any circumstances. On this view, would it be a contradiction, if one is a police officer and, at the same time, calls him- or herself a pacifist?
I'd like to hear some of your philosophical analyses and opinions.
Here are my initial thoughts:
Assuming that physical violence involves force used by police officers against criminals or suspects, it is a contradiction. Although police officers should not be excessive in their use of force, they still do use it. And this, it seems to me, contradicts the idea of a true pacifist.
However, after some time, I became unsure whether physical violence involves the kind of force used by police officers. And that's why I ask this question, to hear some other analyses and thoughts.