Monday, August 31, 2020


A commonly-stated goal of social protest is, in effect, to afflict the comfortable in the service of having them realize that there are afflicted among them that need comforting. This is something of a controversial tactic. Which makes sense, as it tends to fall into the same trap that Max Abrams recognized when he wrote that terrorism doesn't work. As people come to infer that afflicting them is an ends, not a means or a side effect, they can come to feel that they have to stand up to the protestors. Rather predictable, really.

In the case of the Black community in the United States, and their protests, this dynamic somewhat at work. The recent Republican National Convention could be cited as an example. What would need to change is that the discomfort that "mainstream America" feels needs to be triggered by the police violence and other injustice that is currently driving the protests. Since people are often motivated to alleviate discomfort, if the source of the discomfort is perceived to be a lack of justice and equality, that will be what people work together to change.

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