The foundations of human rights struggles - and triumphs - lie in perilous battles. Slavery, Nazism, apartheid and more. Each ethos was entirely incompatible with the basic communal principle of “do no harm.” A struggle against them was necessarily existential. They either had to be eliminated entirely, or suffered completely. A contrary view could neither be accepted nor tolerated. Its proponents had to be ruthlessly destroyed. In the battles listed above, that was the correct approach.But maybe things have changed:
Today, in developed democracies, that is no longer the case. There is considerable futility in adopting an ardent, classic human rights struggle for much of what is being sought by the Left. The nature of the struggle has changed. The goal is improving the peace that we have, not winning the war we are waging. The goal is to be able to live in the same street, not claim that street as ours. . . .This is how I feel. In America, Europe, and elsewhere, the key legal battles over women's rights, minority rights and gay rights have been won. What is needed now – and I mean especially what is needed now to protect those victories and insure equal rights in the future – is reconciliation.
Seeking the advancement of human rights in a democracy is like seeking a better marriage with your spouse. You should always seek a better marriage.
Sometimes, that results in a fight. The purpose of the fight should never be to destroy your spouse. The purpose of the fight is to keep living with your spouse. To do that, choose your disputes carefully and over only the most vital of matters. Accept that your spouse is seeking certainty and security, just as you are. If you believe in individual dignity, accept that their thoughts and actions may not reconcile with yours and that trying to shame them will make the relationship intolerable. Most importantly, once the fight is over, seek reconciliation. After all, you have to live with one another.
Push people too hard, and they would rather vote for Donald Trump than agree with you.