The Inevitable Cycle of Modern Social Movements


Phase 1: Recognition of a problem.

People are being discriminated against. A scandal has occurred. A company’s done something horrible. People decide something must be done. A name is given and a movement is formed.

Phase 2: Position is laid out intelligently

The reasoning is laid out. It’s made clear “this is who we are, this is what we oppose, this is what we want.”

Phase 3: some idiot mis-represents the movement

This is just another HATE movement! Its REAL purpose is prejudice! It’s to harass people!

Phase 4: Over-zealous extremists who identify with the movement retaliate

Someone decides that because their cause is just, they are then justified in doing anything and everything to further said cause, including harassing the idiots from phase 3, sending death threats, etc.

Phase 5: The zealots from phase 4 are now the face of the movement

It doesn’t matter why you started the movement. It doesn’t matter how correct your motives or how logical your arguments. Everything you say is going to be brushed aside and labeled the rantings of a hateful idiot, because you’re using the same label as the psychos from phase 4. Logic is deflected, intent is ignored, because it’s easier to just label you a nuisance.

          To be clear, the flaw in the social movement idea is not in the idea of social movement. It’s not what the social movement seeks to do – to bring people together under one banner to show wide-spread support or opposition to something. The flaw is simply in the name. The moment you give yourselves a name, you lump yourself in with eeeeveryone else who takes that name. And because social movements generally don’t have “membership lists” or any way to distinguish who IS and who is NOT a genuine “member,” that’s inevitably going to mean you’re lumped in with terrible people.

          The solution is simple. Don’t. Label. Yourselves. Oppose what you think is wrong. Stand up for what you think is right. If you believe there’s strength in numbers, great; find like-minded individuals. Quote them, share and exchange ideas. Just stay away from labels.  


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