Thursday, February 19, 2009

Appeal to society

This is not a common or official term, but I'm using it to encompass ad populums, ad antiquitatems, and appeals to common practice.

Those attempting to initiate social change often see this. Those in favor of youth rights hear appeals to society frequently. Being against the current state of traditions, social morres, social structures, or society in general is framed as being anti-society, with a negative connotation.

History has taught us that society can be wrong. The Colonists faced capital punishment for High Treason if they failed, but I'm sure my American readers will recognize they did the right thing. Rosa Parks keeping her seat was not immature. The early feminists were fighting against society. They were probably seen as having some sort of pathological disregard for simple social structures. But they were far from evil and any inability to function in the "real world" (i.e., the social structure they were attempting to fix) was not their fault, but that of society.

This happens so often we have a term for it: "ahead of your time". Anyone who is ahead of their time would seem dysfunctional. Imagine if you were transported back in time, or to anywhere with ancient barbaric practices. You may be seen as dysfunctional if you refuse to burn a girl for going to school, or refuse to stone adultresses, or refuse to throw disabled infants into a Spartan cliff, or if you dare to speak out against sexism, or racism.

Those attempting to initiate social change do so of their own free will. No matter how much an opponent may like the status quo, the revolutionaries are "controlling themselves", and do not by default have to be reigned in by The Powers That Be for the crime of Free Will.

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