Sunday, July 20, 2008
History shows that people usually don't know when we are about to win. We are lousy at knowing whether we have a chance at victory.
When people struggling for liberty and justice face seemingly overwhelming power and impossible odds, they can suddenly breakthrough and win when things seem most hopeless and they least expect victory.
Why We Underestimate Our Chances
Well, for one thing, it is impossible to know what's going on in the other camp. The oppressors might seem invincible, but there are often schisms and rifts which are tearing the enemy apart from within. The bad guys might be extremely vulnerable because they are busy fighting with each other. They might be merely putting a false public image of unity . . . one which is dropped the minute the cameras stop rolling.
In addition - as I learned as a kid in karate class - even the toughest opponent has vulnerabilities. No matter how big the lug you're fighting is, hit him in one of his vulnerable spots, and he's going down. In struggles for freedom and justice as well, if you identify and focus on the bad guy's vulnerabilities, you can win no matter how poorly the fight seems to have been going.
Moreover, the opponent might be affected by what we do a lot more than we realize. You've seen it in horror and martial arts movies. The good guy has given his best shot at the monster. But the monster doesn't seem to be fazed in the least . . . he glowers and starts walking threateningly towards the good guy, who is flat on his back. It seems like the good guy is finished.
But at the last minute, the monster falls over and dies, and we see for the first time that the good guy had earlier mortally wounded the monster in some way.
There is often a lag time between what we do and our ability to see the effect on our opponents. It may be that our activism is having a tremendous effect and is pummeling the forces of tyranny, but that the weakened and wounded tyrants are simply bluffing and putting on a strong front to keep us intimidated. Don't stop fighting just because the effects of our actions haven't yet become visible.
In addition, it is often difficult at any given time to see which historical trend will end up being the most important one. In other words, there are always competing trends and forces, and something which doesn't seem very important at the time can end up winning the battle in the long-run.
As just one example, the Soviet Union collapsed partly because Russians watched images of prosperity on American tv, and decided they weren't going to put up with what they had. The communist leaders didn't think that letting in American tv programs would have such a huge influence on their population's willingness to put up with communist repression. But it did.
There are historical trends which we are not even currently aware of which might end up ensuring our victory.
(Finally, while the enemy might appear to have overwhelming force, they may be "paper tigers", with much weaker resources than it seems. More on this in a later essay.)
Don't Quit Now
Bottom line . . . don't quit now.
It is possible that we are mere days away from starting to hold the tyrants responsible for their war crimes, false flag terror, illegal spying, and other unlawful acts. The Red Cross finding Bush guilty of war crimes is significant (while it is not a U.S. institution, it is an important one).
The House Judiciary's non-impeachment impeachment hearing is clearly an attempt to bury real impeachment actions. But it may end up leading to real action.
Personally, when I've given up, I've often learned that I could have won had I just hung in there a little longer. I've regretted not persisting. I've learned to keep my head down and to keep on pushing.
We don't know how close to victory we are. Now is not the time to quit . . . it is time to redouble our efforts.
See this and this.
Of course, I understand how serious things are, and how dire our situation is. I am not trying to minimize those threats.
However, I think the main problem is that people are not taking any action because they have given up all hope.
We don't know what the future holds. In that very uncertainty, there lies the possibility that we can make things better.
Hope frees us to take action . . . and action can turn things around. Hope is therefore vital.