ARE ACTIVISTS WHO INCONVENIENCE THE GENERAL PUBLIC JUSTIFIED? ecoTrain QOTW

in ecoTrain8 months ago (edited)

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As i begin writing this answer i am still not sure which side of the fence i sit on! On the one hand I don’t really approve of people causing problems for others for their own personal reasons, whatever they may be. I suppose you could call it selfish, even when it is for a cause that may not be directly linked just to their own personal life or problems. That at least is how i feel in general, but what about when it is about a topic that has such huge ramifications that it could even spell the end of the world or life as we know it!? What makes this even more difficult and complicated to answer is that we can never really be certain if someone is right or wrong about their concerns, and climate change is one such example that even today with all the science that we have, still we have not yet reached a real consensus.

What makes me most frustrated about this whole scenario is not that some people take it upon themselves to demonstrate and make other people lives more difficult, but more so the reaction of those who are inconvenienced. What we see primarily is anger, and denial... whereby no one really seems to want to talk about the issue or the details of the problems, but instead they simply ignore them and instead demean them, and if anything deny the existence of the problem even more. I think it would make more sense to me if people sympathised with the cause a bit more, and yet still opposed it, rather than ridiculed and just got angry about being inconvenienced.

These days in our ultra modern convenient world, at least in the west, people seem to think they have a right to go about their lives without being interfered with or having any kind of change or surprises to their plans and desires. People have gotten very used to everything running like clockwork, at least for the most part, with trains and buses arriving within minutes if not seconds of their schedules times, shops opening and closing exactly when they are meant to, food deliveries being made within a very short amount of time etc etc. The list is endless really, and even though it is quite nice in a way to live in a world that is incredibly predictable, i think this exasperates the problem when something does go wrong. Just look how the average person (in the west) reacts when something is late or delayed. They can not cope with it, and will often make a huge scene, or get very frustrated and angry about it.

I'd like to contrast this with how things happen in the east, in countries like India, China, Africa etc. I will speak about India in particular as it is a country that i am very familiar with. The last time i took a train ride i was sat on the platform, in the beating hot sun, for 5 hours! The train was five hours late, and there were dozens of people waiting patiently and no one really knew exactly when it would arrive. Not one person was complaining, and not one person looked like they really cared that much. Everyone just passed the time in their own way, mostly just sitting, talking, and maybe eating a snack. The culture in India, and much of Asia is really quite different, and somehow they are able to tolerate even huge inconvenienced without really getting upset about it at all. There are also quite a few protests and strikes that happen here, which are called Bunds. They can last a day, a few days, or even weeks! When a bund happens the public are protesting and they will shut down all shops, they will also block roads and stop nearly all traffic. Most of the people just deal with it, and in many cases the entire population do come together and support these actions. If the don’t they just have to put up with it, as these are quite effective ways to show disapproval and initiate change.

I can remember as a teenager taking part in several reclaim the street protests. These were exciting and quite amazing occasions when thousands of us simple took over the roads of London and shut them down. We demonstrated against centralisation, globalisation, and basically brought many parts of Central London to a screeching halt, all shops closed and no cars in sight. They were just brilliant days, as we walked together in unison and also partied and had a great time, whilst also showing our disapproval. I can also remember a few people smashing the windows of a McDonald restaurant, using bricks and stones and whatever they could get their hands on. Nobody interfered, not even the police, and as they did this they also handed out flyers explaining why they were doing it, and what the problem with such large corporations are. I was a bit taken aback, but i also thought it was quite cool since they took the time to explain what they were doing, and they had a point.. and of course no body was inside as the place was closed. I don’t know what would happen today, but back then the police did not try to stop these protests, in fact they just stood back and watched, often with smiles, and at some points we were also playing with them in weird and wonderful ways.. I can remember one time when there was a long line of around 50 police breaking up two large sections of the protest.. someone had a ball with them and so we ended up using them as a net and throwing the ball to each other over their heads. Then at one point people at the front all held hands and started dancing around them in a circle and laughing.. They seemed to find it funny also.

Times have changed! Protests are almost illegal it seems, and if or when they happen the response from both the authorities and the general public seems to be quite severe. I do wonder even IF the public really are so angry, in general, or actually whether this is just how it is represented by the media when they report on these events. What we often see are the angry general public who complain about how dare these people do this,.. but actually do wonder if this just cherry picked, and in fact most people do \get the point and in fact support these protesters.. even though they may not understand the very complex issues at hand.. deep down they know there is a problem. We can never really say, because the media are expert in deceiving us and portraying things in any way that they please. It makes me sad that today we are unable to protest without permission to do so, and in many cases are simply shut down or prevented from doing do.

SO, as i reach the end of this post i believe that i am starting to form an opinion! Sometimes writing is a great way to discover how we feel about things, and today is one such occasion. You see, here is the thing, the powers that be having been acting in ways that i think are quite concerning lately, and every year that passes i see more reason to be concerned about how power is used, and what it is being used for.. that is to say, to line the pockets of a VERY few people and to the great detriment of the entire population who live in virtual poverty, as well as the entire planet! This is not good, and if we let it continue who knows what this world will look like in another 50 years. I think that the more that protests are limited, and we do not see real and important changes in so many ways, that those who stand up and protest, and lets be honest, truly inconvenience themselves as well .. should be honoured and cherished. Its not easy to stand up and challenge the status quo, and if we don’t do it then who will? I think being just slightly inconvenience is probably the most delicate of issues that people should be concerned about when potentially the inconvenience of massive climate change, global catastrophe in many ways could be just around the corner.

The truth is that we HAVE to start doing things differently, we have to decentralise our world, and the only way we are going to get there is if we apply pressure. IF we don’t then things will simply continue as they have, because the richest and most powerful people don’t really care about the future.. they just want more power and more money, and that is it. It is our responsibility to DO something about it, and lets be honest there aren’t that many options that we have! Protesting is a way for us to make our voices heard, and very often it leads to change.. whereas other methods such as writing petitions, or having debates are pretty much worthless. I don’t thing even 0,1% of people who have attended a debate about anything have ever left that debate having changed their minds! That is in fact what a debate does is polarise our even more.

So yes, people who inconvenience others, and themselves, are in my opinion not only justified in their actions, but should also be cherished and thanked. At the end of the day what’s so bad about a bit of inconvenience. If people cant handle it then i think that says a lot about our system and how it has created such an emotionally intolerant and selfish atmosphere that no one really cares much about anything past their own personal problems and survival.

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Interesting post! I am sure you recall from your protest days that without reasonable access to media, government, or corporation messaging, it can be so hard to raise awareness of problems - even those that affect all of us. There seems to be a familiar cycle for science-driven concerns in particular... Science begins to consistently show harmful effects of DDT, tobacco smoke, lead, benzyne, greenhouse gasses, asbestos, etc. etc. etc. and all the public is shown are the paid-for opinions of the polluters. How to get the message to rise above the profit-driven propaganda is such a problem. I guess that can justify inconveniencing the public. And, from a moral perspective, if the concern is of a widespread damage, with strong consensus and accessible data among experts, I suppose one could say it is philosophically justifiable to inconvenience the public in the interests of its greater health.

For smaller problems, it is a harder moral equation, I think. Hard to draw attention to the plight of a small number of powerless, voiceless people.

I do have to say that I am astonished to read that you write we have not reached real consensus on climate crisis - I think I interpret it though as you saying that although there is possibly historically-high consensus on climate crisis that the public disregards this to some degree?

Anyway, I think that if each of us who care about causes went through a careful moral weighing of how it may or may not be justifiable to disrupt others' lives, and we get MUCH BETTER at determining what really is evidence of our concerns (e.g., not rumors or unfounded conspiracies), then I think we would have a more effective, cooperative civil society.

Thanks for posting!
!PIZZA
!LUV

 8 months ago  

I do have to say that I am astonished to read that you write we have not reached real consensus on climate crisis - I think I interpret it though as you saying that although there is possibly historically-high consensus on climate crisis that the public disregards this to some degree?

Its a good point.. what i really mean is that looking at the response and how little money and development is happening in renewables, it seems that the powers that be (rather than the public) do not yet deem climate change to be a real issue. They carry on just as they always have done, whilst making token gestures to appease the public.. we still have literally Trillions of dollars subsidising oil every year globally, and we are still building and using coal for power like we always did. There is very little money going in to renewables in real terms, and pathetic support for the use of solar panels or similar alternative energy..

Whatever people may say, i judge this based on actions rather than words.. and looking at the actions of almost all governments and industry, i think it's fair to say that we do not yet deem climate change to be a real issue.

I dont really think it matters much what the public think, because they are not listened to, and have virtually no effect on what really happens and where the big money goes..

I think I am with you 100% on this. Although the public seems suicidal at this point, too. Best selling vehicles in the USA are all gigantic, inefficient ICE trucks and SUVs. Very poor prognosis for us at this rate :(

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people who inconvenience others, and themselves, are in my opinion not only justified in their actions, but should also be cherished and thanked.

It seems that some activism is tolerated, while other activism is not. Activists who are concerned about election fraud want to monitor "drop boxes" overnight, to deter stacks questionable ballots being dumped while people sleep, yet if there is any attempt to monitor or film or do anything with these security holes, it is labeled as "voter intimidation". How intimidating is a camera? How inconvenient is that? I would be thankful knowing that the box is being monitored, in fact I would expect that. If someone was standing a distance away from the box and voter, posing no threat, I would THANK THEM for guarding the boxes from cheaters! They're not asking me who I voted for, they're not telling me who to vote for, they're not chasing anyone away, they're making sure the game is played fairly by just standing there. And if you are committing a legitimate crime, you should sweat a little knowing you're being seen. Yet any attempt to monitor the boxes are perceived as a huge no no no no no no because that's "voter intimidation" don't you know, some guy or gal near the box, or a camera just sitting there. SO INTIMIDATING! SMH.

This is an instance where I would cherish and thank the activist whose activism is simply keeping elections REAL. Whoever wins an election, wins - so long as they really won!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Alex. Lots to consider there! :)

if people sympathised with the cause a bit more, and yet still opposed it, rather than ridiculed and just got angry about being inconvenienced.

Yeah exactly, even if you don't agree, you can see the passion and try to understand it. Unless you're throwing molotov cocktails and wanting to hang minorities, of course.

I liked what you said about how people are used to being inconvenienced in Asia - we're certainly more spoilt in the west. But I'm not even sure we care THAT much, though the media would have us choose a side. We definitley need to rattle the status quo cage when it comes to matters of high importance.

My post is written and is already on schedule to go out tonight my time.

 8 months ago  

yep. we are still a very very long way off to doing anything meaningful toward changing the way we use our resources, or really reducing coal use etc.. Maybe this whole episode with Russia will help push us a bit.. so change may now start to happen.. for all the wrong reasons of course.. but hey that seems to be how this world works!

look forward to your post! <3

This is such a hard topic to write about, and somehow I feel my post doesn't do justice to it. Clearly, a bit of inconveniencing is part of a protest, or it wouldn't be one. But I keep hearing stories from all over the western (liberal democratic) world, where minor inconveniences are treated as if they were violent riots. And THAT is most worrying. Now I feel like I should have addressed that more in my post.

 8 months ago  

there is an edit button ;)

yeah people respond like something so terrible happened.. as i tried to say.. mental health is a mess and people cant handle even minor surprises or changes to their daily routines.. which is the point of a protest of course!.

what to do.. we have to find new ways to protest somehow!

I know, I could practically rewrite the whole thing using the edit button... But how would that look, especially after I've received and responded to comments. It's all good, additional thoughts and amendments fit well into the comments. Plus I'm sure there'll be another chance to express my views.

I know, I could practically rewrite the whole thing using the edit button... But how would that look, especially after I've received and responded to comments. It's all good, additional thoughts and amendments fit well into the comments. Plus I'm sure there'll be another chance to express my views.

Either people have become very tolerant or they feel it is not their problem. I do not think that activist are wrong when they go out with their protest. They are most of the times fighting for a larger cause which they take upon themselves. Yes, I do agree that there are some unhealthy provokers also fighting for some irrelevant things, but then as you say how can we say right or wrong, probably it matters to them. Like you mentioned the train incident, people who would be never travelling by trains will never even bother to know about this issue, but the ones who do knows how painful it is. Those not concerned with the matter will think it is irrelevant to create a chaos. And again as I say, this has been the fact most of the time that the chaos is more initiated by the police and government then the common public.

I guess I get it on some level. People want their voices heard. I have my opinions on issues and I mostly keep them to myself or I share them with a few people I trust.
!CTP