3 Social Movements That Are Doomed to Fail
America is awesome because each citizen has the right to express their ideas and beliefs. If they feel strong enough about their beliefs, they can organize a social movement to change government policies and legislation. Social movements that have the support of the people result in major changes while other movements perpetually spin their wheels with minor victories and self-sustainment.
In this post, I explore 3 big social movements in America that are doomed to fail. These movements are not total failures or lost causes, but they need to change strategies if they every hope to make a real difference in our society.
The Pro-Life movement has a primary goal of ending abortion. Their solution is to make abortion illegal in America, turning any woman that wishes to end her pregnancy into a criminal.
Many women believe they have the right to control what is going on inside their body and they do not have any moral or religious beliefs that condemn this right. Religion is often invoked by Pro-Life advocates as the moral basis against abortions, but if someone does not share the religious beliefs, the argument becomes pointless.
The issue becomes more complex when you look at it through the objective lens of science, which has yet to discover a definitive way to identify when human life begins. I could go on and on about the complexities of this issue, which is why assuming the problem can be solved with a simple solution like prohibition is insane.
Outlawing abortion is not the answer to the abortion problem for the simple reason that we know it would not be an effective solution. I outlined the real answer to the abortion problem in a previous post – Transforming Conflict into Creativity: Abortion.
2. The War on Drugs
If we have learned anything from history, it is that wars rarely solve problems. When one enemy is wiped out, another one pops up. The war on drugs might be the most blatant example of this.
The problem with the “war on drugs” solution is that it funds an entire government program and a large portion of our prison system. Both of these entities have a strong interest in the war on drugs and not in actually solving the drug problem. This leads them to use strategies that appear to be solving the problem, but are really only keeping it alive.
The war on drugs also has a problem with freedom. Like Pro-Life advocates, the war on drugs is attempting to take away a freedom that many believe the government should have no control over – the freedom to do whatever you want with your own body.
The hypocrisy of the war on drugs is the last straw. It outlaws drugs with psychological and medicinal value (e.g. psilocybin mushrooms and marijuana) while at the same time it legalizes recreational drugs with no medicinal value (e.g. alcohol and nicotine). The health, happiness, and freedom of the people is not being considered.
It is clear that the war on drugs is a losing effort, one that will never be won. As information and truth becomes more accessible via the internet, the laws that control drugs in America will be abolished and the war on drugs will end.
3. Anti-Piracy Legislation
Online piracy has become a problem for a lot of big corporations, interest-groups, and artists in America. They are losing money and ownership of the intellectual property they create, promote, and distribute. This is an issue because stealing music, movies, or any other intellectual property is wrong, yet incredibly easy to do.
Anti-piracy legislation hopes to stop online piracy by creating laws that give the government the power to control content on the internet. This solution is a bad one for many reasons:
- The internet is a free and uncensored exchange of information. The people do not want the government or anyone else controlling content on the internet.
- Even if a law was passed that allowed the government to censor the internet, people would find a way to get around it.
- The increase in online piracy is direct reflection on the lack of creativity and flexibility of media distribution business models.
I wrote an in-depth post on how the online piracy problem can be solved – Solving Online Piracy Problems with the @LouisCK Business Model.
All of these movements share common factors that will prevent them from every being realized.
The issues are complicated, blunt-force solutions will not work. It is impossible to say objectively what is right or wrong. Whether it is the decision to have an abortion, take drugs, or steal intellectual property, each individual needs to decide what is right or wrong for them. The movements I mentioned above are making the huge mistake of trying to force what they thing is right down the throats of the people.
The solutions are impossible to enforce. The decisions people make with their bodies or when they are at their computers are very private decisions. The only way to enforce a law that deals with a private area of our lives would be to violate the privacy and freedom of each citizen, something people will not put up with.
The movements are not in the best interest of the people. At the heart of each movement, there are noble ideals that are worth pursuing. At some point, these ideals were hijacked and warped into a strategy that is good for only a small percentage of society.
Change Your Strategy
Pro-lifers, anti-drug organizations, and anti-piracy groups do not need to give up on their goals, but they desperately need to change their respective strategies.
Changes in behavior do not happen by force. They happen when the hearts and minds of individuals are changed. Instead of outlawing abortion, drugs, or sharing of intellectual property on the internet, we should be educating the population on the negative impact of their decisions.
Every abortion is a tragedy, drugs can ruin a life, and online-piracy robs individuals of their creative efforts. These are the messages at the core of each movement. These are the messages upon which we can all agree and they are the starting points for creative solutions that work for everyone.
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