Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Feb. 17, 2017
If you coached a basketball team that was giving up way too many points, you’d work on new defensive schemes.
If you ran a business and you saw your profits dip, you’ll call a meeting to find new and better ways to market your goods.
If you were a teacher and every single one of your students failed every single one of your classes, you might consider a new career choice.
Activists, meanwhile, seemingly abhor change. For example, they are the kind of people who “stand up” to global military domination by holding hands in the shape of a peace sign. Even as the military-industrial complex grows in power by the minute, activists never stop believing (sic) in methods that do not even remotely address the situation. Nothing seems to inspire radicals towards introspection or self-doubt.
I asked myself if any other group of humans regularly behaves in such a self-sabotaging, counterproductive manner. The first answer I conjured up was: religion. However, even fundamentalist types are way more rational than activists. If you unquestioningly believe in a higher power and thus direct your pleas to the heavens, there is a clear logic to your approach.
Activists do their own version of “praying” -- virtue signaling -- not as a means but as an end in itself. They’re not holding hands in the shape of a peace sign “at” someone or something. Nope, they are narcissistic enough to perceive this gesture alone as powerful and effective and worthy of the hashtag #warrior.
Activist Tip: Virtue signaling is worse than doing nothing.
What’s the highest form of virtue signaling?
While in thought experiment mode, I also asked myself if there was an ultimate form of activist virtue signaling. For example, we so often read “Fuck the police” in our news feeds. It’s about as useful and mature as a child yelling “I hate you” at their parents after getting scolded. It also does less than nothing to address issues of police brutality, corruption, misogyny, and white supremacist infiltration. However -- if we just believe hard enough -- we might imagine things eventually reaching a point of critical mass at which some minor reforms could be enacted.
What about Facebook check-ins? This frighteningly absurd tactic (sic) gained traction during the time when so many activists deluded themselves that #noDAPL was a turning point, line in the sand type of moment. They went as far as pretending they were at Standing Rock! B-b-b-b-but it’ll confuse law enforcement, they assured each other. Still -- if we just believe hard enough -- we might imagine some of the countless pipelines eventually being shut down (probably because all the leaks will begin rendering them unprofitable).
Then there’s the animal whites crowd, sharing non-stop memes and videos graphically depicting the barbarism perpetrated upon non-humans. These posts get dozens, if not hundreds, of likes, shares, comments, etc. Hey, I did it myself for years. But here’s the catch: The folks offering positive feedback are already vegans. We’re telling each other what we already “know” and calling it progress and community and outreach. But yet again -- if we just believe hard enough -- we might imagine a few forms of animal cruelty eventually being discussed within the mainstream.
I could go on and on. The examples are truly endless. But there’s one phrase I often encounter on social media that might take the virtue signaling cake:
“We must bring down civilization as soon as possible.”
Is there no higher “virtue” than to signal that your goal is the complete dismantling of the entire dominant culture? In one fell swoop, you’ve alienated everyone living neck-deep in daily oppression and announced that you see yourself as far more advanced than anyone who merely wants “reform.” Cast a vote to prevent a fascist takeover and a drastic increase in hate crimes? Don’t make me laugh! I won’t play the system’s game when we have an entire civilization to dismantle…as soon as possible!
What’s the purpose of making such posts? Does anyone believe that, say, some dude on his way to the Mets game will read it on his smart phone and suddenly realize he’d be far more hardcore and virtuous if he instead spent the day bringing down civilization… as soon as possible? Let’s face it, no matter how hard we imagine, no sane human sees this as remotely feasible. Yes, civilization will come crashing down, but it’ll have nothing to do with how many re-tweets anyone garnered.
To bring things back to the opener, this would actually be a more rational approach: “Dear God, if you bring down civilization as soon as possible, I promise to listen to my parents, not fight with my sister, and behave in gym class.” At least that kid’s sincere belief in an all-powerful god lends a facade of logic to his request.
Activist Tip: If it’s sustainable social change you want, avoid all self-anointed activists. Instead, learn from winners because success leaves clues.
Mickey Z. is currently writing two books, a political memoir called How to Change Minds & Influence the Future: Rebuilding Activism From the Ground Up (Microcosm Publishing) and a graphic novel entitled stain red. In the meantime, he can be found here.
Activism: Less logical than religion by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/activism-less-logical-than-religion-mickey-z.