Activists force themselves to ceaseless battle.
From Marxism, they have learned that society’s elites will fight hard to preserve their privileges, so only through a total over-throw of the old order can change be brought about. Activists seek out confrontation and refuse to compromise or negotiate. They think it’s weakness to shy away from conflict, no matter how exhausted they are.
It’s a very unforgiving mind-set, as much for the activists themselves as for their targets. I wonder, as these campaigns originate in the United States, if the attitude has its roots in the ardent, self-sacrificing crusader-evangelism of American Christianity: “Fighting the good fight.”
In Whites: on Race and Other Falsehoods (2020, 4th Estate) Otegha Uwagba says, “After George Floyd is killed, I am determined not to prioritise white comfort over truth.” She is recasting her natural conflict-avoidance as a form of oppressive conditioning. This is unfair on both herself and her society. Tact does not arise from a desire to make white people happy, but because no one likes a punch on the nose. Ms Uwagba is implying that, in a truly equal society, everyone would be at each other’s throats all the time. Presumably in a happy, carefree way. It’s a strange vision of utopia.
In fact, we don’t need to be trained to dislike blazing rows. We are social animals and our success as a species must surely come from our ability to communicate and cooperate, to overcome inevitable tensions and competition. These are necessary parts of any fruitful relationships.
Of course, We can have passionate arguments with people we are close to, because they have invested in the connection and are willing to listen and forgive us afterwards. And we can usually trust them not to murder us! But even here, a lack of consideration for our friends’ feelings will degrade the relationship in the end. We need to feel cared for.