Counterproductive Militancy

by maximusaurus

Yoda was onto something when he said that while anger is “quicker, easier, more seductive”, it can lead to undesirable outcomes.

The autism advocacy group I work for has been criticized a few times for not being militant enough. For example, we don’t attack organizations we disagree with.

We try to achieve change in a positive and constructive fashion, and deliberately shy away from anger and negativity. Some say this makes us too “feel good”, but the thing is, it works. People listen to us.

Don’t get me wrong; anger has its uses. It can motivate us to fight injustice, for example. But when you’re trying to win over hearts and minds, being overly aggressive tends to do your cause more harm than good, in my experience.

If you come across as antagonistic, you run the risk of turning people against your cause. When people feel attacked, they become defensive and unreceptive. They switch off. As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. (A saying I always found a bit silly; we all know what you’ll catch with honey is ants)

I don’t mean to discredit the accomplishments of movements, groups, and people who have used anger to drive positive change. It’s just not how we choose to do things, and especially not how I choose to do things.