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> 4. Interprets the battles in 3 as at best insignificant and at worst a distraction from real problems of class disparity in America. Contrasts these protests against Vietnam protests.

I tend to agree. I view the "tempest in a teapot" protests that go after some academic functionary in the same light as I view most of the animal rights protesters--deeply hypocritical.

You don't see these college students go after someone with actual power just like you don't see the animal rights advocates throw paint on Hell's Angels for wearing leather.

Protest is good--until you you might actually face consequences for your protest. Sorry, protest without consequences isn't a real protest.

If the Yale students want to protest, we have an oversupply of things that need to be protested--feel free to join us. But, these might upset people with real power, they might get arrested, they might wind up with a criminal record like the plebeians and that might upset their getting that cushy Goldman-Sachs position in a couple years.




> You don't see these college students go after someone with actual power just like you don't see the animal rights advocates throw paint on Hell's Angels for wearing leather.

This is a strange example of inconsequential protest, as the movement against furs was highly successful.


You’re kind of illustrating GP’s point. Throwing paint on a fashionista wearing fur poses very little risk- compare the risk to a Hell’s Angels biker who might literally kill you. And furs were always expensive which kept the quantity relatively low- compare the number of fur animals killed to the number that are killed for their hides to make car interiors, house furniture, clothing, and more.

If the fur protesters want to make a big impact they should protest leather, but you don’t see that. Instead they took their smaller symbolic victory because the meaningful fight is too hard and too risky.


No one raises and kills cows for the leather; the leather is a byproduct.


The leather is a product, not a byproduct, just not the sole product. I fail to see the logic that killing a mink for its fur is wrong, but killing a cow is okay because we get meat along with the leather. You can also make arguments about how it’s okay because cows are raised specifically to be killed, but the fact remains that we kill orders of magnitude more cows than we ever have minks. My previous argument stands unchanged about how protesting mink is a small victory and most animal rights protesters stopped short of going for a big one.

Btw, I’m not an animal rights protester, I eat meat and have leather furniture. I’m just backing up the top level argument that Yale students aren’t protesting the big stuff.


Part of activism is picking the right battles you can win and where you can be effective.

The main focus of animal rights protesters consequently are industrial meat production and animal cruelty, not the fucking Hell’s Angels. That’s absurdity to the highest degree.


So you're not really protesting unless you light yourself on fire? You understand that if everybody who protested the "big stuff" did so by doing extremely risky things, you're going to end up with nobody left with the will to protest?


Not to mention cows are a major contribution to global warming.


So are datacenters. And cows were here first.


The interesting question that follows is:

What would the critics have said, if they had done just that?

Probably something among the lines of: ”see, this proofs they are unreasonable lunatics! Nobody in their right mind would protest against the Hells Angels. How does that even further thwir goals? They should go against $TARGET”

The key to understanding a lot of criticism is that it happens often in defense of the critics sense of superiority and is therefore not necessarily an rational argument against a certain movement, but a justifiction from the critics why they aren’t part of it. And the answer equates usually roughly: ”because they don’t go far enough, are not brave enough, not clever enough, not efficient enough, not radical enough, not consequent enough, taking on the wrong target, ...”

The interesting aspect: this kind of criticism rarely brings to light any valid argument against the underlying motivations of the movement. So as an example you rarely see critics go: “The idea that we shouldn’t wear fur is wrong - we totally should for the following reasons ...” ¹

This makes clear that the critics realize they can’t make a moral argument here — yet they want to maintain a feeling of superiority over those who question the status quo and so they aim for the character of those they criticize.

Critic: ”If only I were part of that movement, I would protest even more than they do, by going for the dangerous Hells Angels.”

B: ”Yeah but you aren’t. As it stands now you do less than those who you criticise for not doing enough — what does that make you?”

Critic: ”I am still better than them because ...”

If I ever feel I need to criticise a movement for not doing enough, I stop and think about what I am in the process of doing and whether I am really in the position to phrase that criticism.

--- ¹: Usual arguments like “We always did it like that and it was no problem” just proof the critic didn’t really think about the topic.


> You don't see these college students go after someone with actual power

What a bizarre claim.

Protesting their own college administration, and getting arrested for it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/05/08/arrests-...

Hunger strike, football team strike, and many other protests resulting in university president resignation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015%E2%80%9316_University_of_...

Protesting the CIA director, who I hope counts as someone "with actual power" - https://upennstatesman.org/2016/04/01/violent-protests-end-t...

I imagine almost every college in the country has had protests against the president: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/11/0...

Arrested protesting at their state government: https://www.concordmonitor.com/UNH-students-protesting-votin...

Arrested protesting ICE: https://middleburycampus.com/45615/news/two-midd-students-ar...

Yale students arrested protesting their administration: https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/Yale-students-arrest...

Arrested protesting Israel occupation: https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/15-jewish-college-students-a...

You can find many more examples with ~5 minutes of research.


So they're hypocrites because they don't try go out of their way to be physically harmed? That's a unique take.


Ah, obviously anything less than getting the National Guard called to your university to murder you isn't "real protest"?




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