Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Originally posted by ogbert
Just because these people do not have a leader to wrap around does not mean that they have no resolve and do not add to the momentum that has taken
root since the sixties and is flourishing.
But without a ballsy leadership with decisive conviction, any movement can easily be usurped and corrupted. Such as what we're now seeing with the
"Tea Party," and in what we've seen with "9/11 Truth."
It's the nature of the beast, and while it "feels" contrary to a person's individual altruistic tendencies, it's the only way to ensure the
movement remains pure to it's ideals.
I think this post illustrates two ideological flaws. The first is the mistake of confusing group dynamics with social movements. The Civil Rights
Movement was a social movement that had many iconic leaders such as, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, and the Arkansas Nine.
King was the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Malcolm X was a leader in the black Muslim group, Evers a leader of the NAACP,
and Rosa Parks was simply a principled individual who stood tall and demanded to be counted as equal, she led no group, was just a single person who
rose to iconic leadership within a movement that was forged by groups such as, the NAACP, the ACLU, Congress of Racial Equality, (CORE, founded in
1942), and spawning the SCLC, SNCC, and various other groups, all of which had leaders.
Group dynamics is the mechanics of any group and they can fall into several categories, where movements are less driven by agenda's and specific
goals and fueled more by an underlying tension in the political environment, and will grow as that tension heats up, boiling into a full blown
movement once that tension has reached its boiling point, and no amount of intervention by the so called "elites", or "TPTB" will stop the tidal
wave of frustration and willful intent of people fed up with the status quo. All revolutions are cyclical, hence the name revolution, and all
revolutions can be summed up as coming down to the haves and the have not's, and when the have's have most, while the have not's have very little,
revolution will surely follow, and a revolution is a movement. The Civil Rights Movement was a revolution, and it was fought relatively peacefully.
The second flaw in your ideology is the insistence that groups are somehow capable of altruistic behavior. In fairness, perhaps you are lamenting
that groups are not adequately equipped to act altruistically, and if you are, I would certainly agree. Groups are by nature, artificial entities
formed to achieve the selfish goals of its members. Each member joins a group to further their own interest and will produce as a group based on the
belief that production will strengthen a group that will in turn further their own self interests. This is the nature of groups.
Movements, on the other hand, could be argued as being, for lack of a better term, altruistic, as they are more germane to the social needs on a
whole, and if Aristotle is correct and all things aim for the greater good, then movements aim for that good in a more general sense, just as the Tea
Party Movement has been doing, while groups within that movement operate on a more specific aspect of the movement concerned only with the selfish
interests of its members. Each group, acting selfishly, cooperating with each other to achieve a greater good, can then affect an outcome that may
be perceived as altruistic, such as Rosa Parks sacrificing the stability of her and her husbands life in order to stand on principle, or King, X, or
Evers' sacrificing their lives for the cause, but it is doubtful that Parks set out to sacrifice anything, and simply did what was necessary, at the
time, and it is even harder to believe that King, X, Evers and countless others set out to be assassinated in the spirit of altruism.
Altruism is an ideal not practical in human behavior as it demands sacrifice, which by definition is the exchange of something of value for something
of a lesser value, which is not at all good business. Groups who survive, do so because they had a leader able to steer the group away from
sacrificial events, and into the realm of influence and prosperity. Movements, on the other hand are filled with leaders who rise and fall, martyrs,
and an army of grass roots activists who act because they are compelled to rebel against the tyranny of the status quo. George Washington Did not win
the American Revolution by himself, and while he was the leader of a Continental Army, there were more than just army regulars fighting in that
Revolution, and Washington was merely the leader of a group, the Revolution itself, was a movement filled with other groups, and other leaders, but
most importantly backed by enough individuals to make a difference.
It is pointless to employ a strategy of altruism when attempting to secure an objective. Whatever altruism may come from achieving ones objective
should merely be the result of an objective achieved and not the method by which to get there. One could not predict the altruistic outcome of any
desired objective, as the choice of personal sacrifice is always a personal choice, and sometimes not a choice at all, but simply the consequence of
an action or inaction. It would have been counterproductive and defeatist to have predicted the assassination of King, as such a prediction would
have done nothing at all for a movement that faltered many times throughout its history.
That assassination of King made him a martyr to the cause of Civil Rights, and he was Sainted and his sacrifice can be perceived as altruistic, but it
does no justice at all to the man Martin Luther King, to assume that he did not act in his personal best interest, and hold high regard for himself,
and his immediate family. This sacrifice was not a positive event that gave the movement a strategic higher ground, it was a devastating event that
severely affected the King family and the movement as a whole. Even so, the movement was not leaderless, and new leaders rose, while fallen leaders
served to symbolize the individual resolve of a movement that would not quit.
The media was derisive of the Civil Rights movement when it first gained attention, and even before it began, (technically 1957 to 1968), with
organizations like CORE, the ACLU, the NAACP, and even the abolitionists movement, where the leader of a group, the Republican Party, rose to lead
that movement as President Abraham Lincoln. When Lincoln was assassinated, the movement did not end, and eventually morphed into what became the
Civil Rights movement.
I guess my point is that group dynamics require a leader, movements will find their leaders as those groups naturally aligned with the movement will
provide dynamic and charismatic leaders who will in some fashion serve as a symbolic icon of that movement. They are not manufactured, they are made
of circumstance, wisdom and resolve, and they rise up when necessary to helm the mantle of leadership, but in no way are they inextricably tied to the
victory of the movement itself. Those who survive any violent resistance continue to lead, while those who are felled by such violence remain iconic
and beloved, and serve as spiritual guides for the grass roots movements where individuals act withing groups or independently, almost always
motivated by their own self interests, to achieve their stated goals.
There is nothing wrong with acting in ones own interest, and if we don't have a chief concern for our own interest then just who the hell will? Part
of acting in our own best interest requires the understanding that we are all interconnected and dependent to some degree upon each other. Thus, any
actions we take to help others, is in itself a selfish goal, where efforts to strengthen another persons longevity and prosperity better assures your
Altruism is a false ideology where words incomprehensible to any species such as selflessness, invade the lexicon to describe an ideology that
prioritizes a collective interest over individual interests. It is a collective that demands sacrifice of individuals in order to be a member. In
reality, even card carrying members of the Altruist club will hide behind the veil of philanthropy, using the vast amounts of wealth at their disposal
to fund projects with the goal of affecting the greater good, but what sacrifice has been made of a multi-millionaire or billionaire who creates a
foundation or trust with wealth he has the ability to dispose of? Was it a sacrifice? Were there no selfish intents at all when creating these
foundations or trusts? I think the philanthropist is deserving of respect and much thanks, but to be hailed as an altruist? I think not.
[edit on 3-4-2010 by Jean Paul Zodeaux]