By Bryan C. Kuriawa
Activism is seen as individuals, or a group of people, whose goal is to support a particular cause or course of action. They believe their cause, regardless of its subject matter, is a just or “good cause.” To this extent, individuals believe they may be able to bring change to a particular injustice.
Historically, such a principle has been the hallmark of various social movements that have succeeded in improving the world and various groups involved.
To university students, activism encompasses a need to remove impasses to achieve the possibility of individualistic self-actualization. At Kean, last December, we saw students come out in protest against the death of Eric Garner and the subject of police brutality.
We are told about the subject of protesting, and, as university students, getting involved in such actions is a sign of being aware of the world around. Such is a straight-forward concept, yet when protesting, the question remains, what is the over- arching goal? What would these protesters see as true alternatives to existing situations?
In several recently covered protests, the core arguments of activism fell to the wayside. Less on the concept of individual rights and closer to the ideals of control.
In September, New York City was host to the People’s Climate March. Intended to demonstrate a people-orientated movement against environ- mental degradation, it made national headlines.
One must go no further than the over-filled garbage-laden waste bins near the protest streets to see the reality of this march.
To many the People’s Climate March was seen as a logical action against what they see as environmental destruction by big government and their large corporate interests.
One does not have to go far to realize we do have an ever-increasing government with corporations and special interests who need government for their very survival.
Yet when looking at many in this protest, we see signs that advocate the destruction or collapse of capitalism. We see those who advocate socialism or communism as superior alternatives. In essence, rather than stop the corporatism and corruption inherent in large governing bodies, they advocate the arrival of collectivism, inherent in such systems.
For those in need of a refresher on socialism, several countries in South America, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, would be sufficient. These countries are becoming fast lessons and false hope for advocates of such concepts.
From the “Occupy” movement’s premise of replacing big government with larger government to the recent debates concerning modern feminism, activism is failing to meet its basic criteria.
On the latter of those two subjects, let it be stressed that the United States, Canada, and much of Western Europe are among the freest societies on Earth. Yet there are those who believe we live in the past and women are subjected to a patriarchy.
In this concept many, not all, modern feminists feel that women are still restricted. We are consistently told of “Rape Culture” and of video games, television and film being detrimental, if not misogynist to the opposite sex.
To many in the U.S., it is often stated that women are not “equal” to men in rights and that we are not a free society. One may recall the words of economist Milton Friedman on the misuse of the term, Equality.
“A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” Equality is a term truly misused in today’s culture.
Rather than stress individual rights for all under the same system, and both sexes, it is being used as a term to make everyone and everything the same. The idea is to create a form of conformity where everything is properly structured and verbally correct in the world.
To those stressing current feminist trends, it’s less about reform and individuality and more about controls acting as laws. Such is the hope of utopian dreamers with no understanding of the inner workings of society.
Last December, New York City experienced a second wave of protest surrounding the death of Eric Garner. Garner’s death, after being placed in a police chokehold for resisting arrest, sparked a continued debate over excessive force being used by law enforcement.
The protests continued for several weeks with the support of government officials and other social activist groups. In truth, regardless of police conduct, Garner’s action prior to resisting arrest, selling untaxed cigarettes, was viewed as a crime. Such is the example of a pointless and incredibly unnecessary law.
The man died simply trying to earn money in a way he could, something police and legislatures should not concern themselves with. Yet this was drowned out in the cries of racial discrimination charges by protestors and other groups.
By month’s end, two police officers were dead in the city at the hands of a man who wanted to kill police over the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Garner in New York.
At the year’s start, New York City saw record drops in tickets for minor offenses as officers re- fuse to acknowledge Mayor Bill de Blasio over his comments on Garner’s death.
We are constantly being told in protest after protest about the problems of environmental destruction, the “lack” of women’s rights, and racial injustice, yet let’s ask another question.
Do the protestors know what they’re protesting?
When America tuned into the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, after the decision in the death of Michael Brown, they saw a town in flames. As the president urged peace, we saw looters burn down local businesses, vandalize stores of their items, and let a community fall into anarchy.
Is that protesting, or is our definition losing focus? Perhaps the above mentioned subjects are merely a cover. Recently a Tumblr writer, by the name of Serfdom-are-we-there-yet, wrote a short piece on Social Justice that made this writer curious.
“Here’s the truth about social justice and feminism. It’s a diversion. A smoke screen. Because if people ever realized exactly how bad things are, sexual and racial inequality would be the last thing on their minds,” Serfdom-are-we-there-yet said.
“The petty squabbling of the social justice “warriors” and feminists does absolutely nothing except divide people against each other, while the elite merrily pick pockets and slit throats, covered by the din and confusion of the ridiculous.”
Protest movements cite their claims to remove injustice in the world, yet their actions may result in a loss of freedom that one could scarcely imagine.
This is not the way a reason-based culture works; this is how totalitarianism is bred. One in which your very life is determined by those who know nothing of you. Such is the hallmarks of today’s activism, it is not to draw attention and promote change, it is to misinform and utilize force to recreate civilization.
Such is the culture that the insane may only in- habit.