General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Should you go to "battle" for an injustice that only causes you a minor inconvenience?

Asked by wundayatta (58714points) July 30th, 2010

Let’s say you are walking down a sidewalk that is being patrolled by a spelling fanatic. You come walking along, and the fanatic tells you that you may not walk down this half of the sidewalk, but you may walk down the other half. This is because you mispelled a word.

This is, you believe, unfair, because the sidewalk belongs to everyone. But all you have to do is take one step to the side, and you can be on your way.

Would you go to battle and try to somehow get the spelling patrol person out of your way, or would you just step to the side and continue? Why?

If a friend was in the same situation, would you advise that friend to take on the patrol person, or to step to the side and go on his or her way? Why?

If you were the sidewalk sweeper and a confrontation between the patrol person and the bad speller kept you from doing your job, would you tell the walker to step aside, because it is only a little thing? Why?

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29 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

Where the fuck do you come up with these scenarios….. Seriously…

But anyway, no you walk on and get the fuck on with your life. Sure you can sit there and fight all day over these injustices but what does it get you at the end of the day but a headache. Move on with your life, choose your battles wisely and only fight for things with meaning. Or go around bitching about every single little thing in life. Your choice.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I would pull out my copy of the OED, tell him that I was actually using the British spelling of whatever word it was, then bodily shove my way past him.

Seriously, though, it would probably depend on what kind of mood I was in. If I was pissed off, I’d probably force the confrontation. If I was dead tired from work, I’d just step aside and leave it be.

gailcalled's avatar

Why bother with silly stuff?

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janbb's avatar

What is this question really about? I sense some wounded dignity behind it.

zenele's avatar

@janbb—I think you may be right, Deanna. Maybe @wundayatta can further explain his dream about get the spelling patrol person out of your way.

wundayatta's avatar

I have a friend who always stands on principle. He makes fun of people who he believes are too dumb to live.

He was recently in a court situation, fighting to stay out of jail. You would think he would make nice with the lawyers and the judge. But he stood and fought on every little point, even those that had nothing to do with his case—hurting his own cause, I think.

I think it’s an interesting issue, but perhaps I didn’t explain it very well. It’s about standing on principle—when you believe you are right. Do you take into account your loss or gain, or is the principle of the thing what is important, no matter how small the issue? When you feel wronged, do you just fight it no matter what, or can you take into account the amount of gain or loss you might if you fight?

Similarly, when advising others—do you respect their need to stand on principle, or do you tell them to just get on with it?

If you only stand on principle sometimes, how do you decide when to do it or not? Are there examples where people don’t stand on principle, but appease the aggressor, and it ends up biting them in the ass? I.e., is appeasement a good policy, and if some appeasement is ok, but not all, how do you decide between the two?

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HoneyBee's avatar

@wundayatta – I see your point about standing on principal but the scenario you came up with is so far out there that it boarders on absurdity and/or insanity.

Facade's avatar

@wundayatta I see where you’re going with this. I think some people need to know when enough is enough. Standing on principle in regards to every little thing really gets you nowhere. People are much more likely to listen to you and your opinions if you are nice to them as opposed to telling them everything they do is wrong.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Cruiser's avatar

A nice snap kick to their nads does the trick for me.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It depends…am I crabby that day?

stardust's avatar

Sometimes, it’s better to acknowledge things ourselves and get on with it. I’ll never stand on something ‘til I’m blue in the face – not good for me or anyone else involved. I prefer the laid back approach

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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It depends on how one defines injustice. If it is an injustice in the sense that I understand it, then of course I will go to battle for it because there are others for whom it is not minor, I bet
and because otherwise, like many people, my life would be like this:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.—

evandad's avatar

If they can’t spell they deserve to get jacked.

lillycoyote's avatar

Well, since you asked… this is how I see it, if I understand what it is you are asking. There are enough imbeciles, jackasses, crooks and people who are just plain no damn good in the world to keep you angry and righteously indignant 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if you want. Life is too damn short for that, in my opinion. There is a lot of crap that happens in life, every day, that you just pretty much have to let roll off your back and be done with it. I think a person need to choose his battles. Not every affront or injustice is equal, or equally worth fighting for, about or over. If someone wants to or feels he should or thinks he has a right to be angry and righteously indignant about everything, he will find plenty of fodder to keep him busy every waking hour of his life. I know people who have chosen that road. They miserable, bitter, angry people. I have no desire to be anything like them. I prefer to save my energy, my desire to fight for justice and my righteous indignation for things that really matter.

rooeytoo's avatar

It all depends on principle we are discussing. Some are worth standing up for, others can be walked around.

wundayatta's avatar

@lillycoyote That makes a lot of sense. Usually I take that approach, too. But sometimes unfairness and inconsistency gets to me just because it is so arbitrary. That’s when I get pissed off, when in the grand scheme of things, it matters little. I should know better. But it really gets to me sometimes. It makes me feel like I’m living in a kafka novel.

Hmmmm. Perhaps I am?

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Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@wundayatta and @uberbatman Either you two are staging this, or it is life imitating the art of this question.

@wundayatta Ubermatman’s initial post seemed valid, based upon the initial hypothetical scenario you gave. While not a fan of the language, I took the tone to be sort of complimentary in the first statement and the rest supporting his opinion, which is what was asked for.

Your more detailed explanation of what the situation was that spurred your desire to ask the question, and more details on what exactly it was that you wanted to ask seem much different that the original post. Notice how the responses changed once you clarified the situation.

Dog's avatar

[Mod Says:]

Let’s clarify:

The reason for the quip removal that you are referring to @wundayatta was not because of use of the word “fuck” which is fine here unless directly levied at another user as in “fuck off”

In the first quip the word fuck is used as a form of expression. We do not remove forms of expression. It the quip is relevant and on topic and not a personal attack use of such language is permitted.

The removal of your quip, and that of several other quips not yours, was because this question is posted in the GENERAL section. The quips were OFF TOPIC.

In the social section your quip would have remained.

Okay everyone- now that this has been said let’s keep it on topic. If you have nothing beneficial to add to the conversation please resist the temptation to post and move on to the next question.


Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Dog Thank you for the intervention.

@wundayatta I’ve known a handful of adults that seemed to aggressively take on each disagreement as if they were battles to win. Oddly, or probably not much so, two are now lawyers. With this type of personality, it is very difficult for me to be the winner, at least in their eyes. Most of the time, I step off of the sidewalk and take the other path. But I do listen to what they have to say. Both are pretty smart, but they don’t know everything.

There are some people I have stood up for. One time in a work lunch room, a co-worker confronted another on her religious beliefs. The woman being verbally attacked was flabbergasted, and I couldn’t help but tell the other to essentially ‘back off’.

I’ve also been the one in the police role. Occasionally at work, we were allowed to wear jeans on a given Friday if we purchased a sticker for $5 that went to a charity. On one of these such days, a young lady passed by wearing jeans but no sticker. I jokingly said, “I’m the sticker police. Where is your charity sticker?” Oh, how she laid into me. She was the single parent in an administrative role who couldn’t afford to spend it on a sticker and how dare I question her about it. I went out during lunch and bought her a bouquet of flowers and handed them to her as an apology. It was a life lesson for me that is often called upon when in similar situations.

There is a saying: “Pick your battles.” I prefer to stay on the sidewalk, but sometimes it is better to build a bridge and get over it.

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