Pacifism

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(from L. pacem: peace). Moral and political principle that recognizes human life as the supreme social and ethical value and sees its supreme ideal in the maintaining of peace among ethnic, religious and social groups, and among nations and blocs of states. Includes respect for the dignity of the human person, groups and peoples, and for human rights in general. P. contributes to mutual understanding between peoples of different cultures and generations. It rejects mistrust, hatred and violence. P. is an attitude of rejection of war and the arms race. Since the First World War, many courts in different parts of the world have recognized the right of conscientious objection to exempt from military service pacifists and members of religious sects who are opposed to weapons and instruments of war. In addition, conscientious objectors have undertaken campaigns proposing that some percentage of the taxes allocated for defense be reallocated to education and public health. The ideas of disarmament and demilitarization have inspired numerous anti-war movements, which, however, have frequently failed to reach agreements due to their different concepts of social reality and, at times, because of specific tactical differences as well. Pacifist groups have now reached the point where they can organize autonomous fronts at the grassroots level in alliance with others advocating social change (*Action front).