Social Question

Storms's avatar

Is someone who assumes a radical pose or offensive manner copping out?

Asked by Storms (811points) April 19th, 2010

Knowing that violence, suicide and cruel words will not sway anyone’s opinion in favor of your policies or agenda, is one who uses these as primary tools of communication actually trying to “cop out”, or just pretend they made a difference when their actions sabotage their stated goals?

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13 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Your question confuses me.

If you’re asking if idle threats are a cop out, yes they are.

Storms's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy I’m asking if carried out threats are a cop out for actually inciting political change.

Trillian's avatar

@Storms The only political suicides that I can think of are those monks who immolated themselves. I refuse to put suicide bombers into the same category. I don’t believe that either instance succeeded in effecting any political change.
I don’t know that “cop out” is the term I would use, but violence and threats are ultimately self defeating. IMO.

Storms's avatar

@Trillian If memory serves, some hippies killed themselves in public in the sixties or seventies as a statement.

Trillian's avatar

@Storms Hmmm. I never heard about that, but I tried to make clear that I wasn’t aware of all politically motivated, public suicides.
See? I just remembered another one. The Governor of Guam was in some political hot water a few years back and fixing to be impeached or something. He wrapped himself in the American flag at the front gate of the Governor’s mansion and killed himself. I don’t remember his method.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Violence sucks too but I don’t think it’s a cop out at all. It’s almost the opposite.
It usually means they’re fanatically passionate about their stance, so much so that they won’t hesitate to use force if it suits their goal.

Storms's avatar

I posit that that’s the easy way out; that if you really care about something, you won’t commit acts that will only discredit it.

Trillian's avatar

@Storms I can see that point. It does generally discredit whatever statement is being made, like killing doctors who perform abortions because murder is wrong. It is much more difficult and time consuming to do research and work within the framework of a system to bring about change. I think that people forget that the sensationalism of the suicide statement is too quickly forgotten or drowned out by noise of current news. Who remembers the name of the guy who, a month or two ago, flew his plane into the building that had IRS workers on a couple floors?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I believe actions directed at effecting change consistent with your beliefs and values are most effective when you set aside meaningless and ineffective acts like harming yourself or others.

Such actions are wasted efforts that attract momentary attention to you and your behaviour but do nothing to further your cause. Is it a “Cop-out?” No, it is just a waste of effort, energy and the cause of a lot of unnecessary noise and needless damage.

It does take more courage, energy and resolve to work diligently to further your cause through peaceful effort to win over your opponents by promoting respectful dialogue and collaboration towards shared goals and values.

Attacking others with violence is rarely truly directed at promoting change. It is about imposing your will on others without regard for their wellbeing or needs. It is sometimes about taking what others have without their consent.

That is true when a country attacks another to forcibly overthrow a government and impose foreign values on those people. This never works in the long run.

It does not work any better at the individual level. You can hurt or kill another but you won’t change their ideas or beliefs by force.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I don’t understand what you think they’re copping out from.
Political aggressors have their agenda. They’re certainly not copping out on whatever stance they’re trying to force on others. They’re rolling full speed ahead.

Storms's avatar

I never said that I think anybody is copping out, I asked if anyone else thought as much. Take flag burning for instance. You know that’s just going to piss people off so are you doing it more for yourself than to affect any actual changes to the system? Or the suicide Jihadist; is he working towards the goal of worldwide Islam or just killing people because he wants to kill people and maybe get some virgins on the side?

evandad's avatar

Hell, yes!

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