The Goal of Protests

I dislike protests in general. The goal of them is largely just a form of social or physical intimidation.

Think about what is being conveyed. Is there subtle discussion? Is it a forum to present nuanced points someone hasn’t thought of? Is it a place to communicate multiple sides of an issue in order to foster a complex understanding of a difficult issue? Of course not.

Reason isn’t the means nor goal of a protest. The goal (of most) protests is to startle people, to make them worry, to make them fear exclusion, and to foster group think within the ranks. Slogans, chants and marches in large numbers is all propaganda designed to embolden their allies in the collective issue at hand, or foster fear in their opponents.

Does this work? Kind of. It surely does help reinforce group think. It can have an effect on moderates and even opponents if done at certain times in certain ways. Sometimes, it can have the opposite effect of creating enemies and alienating people. Whether it works or not is not exactly my concern.

I want to live in a world of confident individual human beings who use reason and are convinced by thoughtful discussion and deliberation. I don’t want to live in a world where rank intimidation and fear guide people. Maybe I am a bit Utopian in this regard. However, as long as that is the culture I wish to foster, I will always despise protests.

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Aaron White

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