Smart people saying smart things (3.7.22)

Smart people saying smart things (3.7.22) March 7, 2022

Yulia Zhivtsova, “An anti-war protester in Moscow says the risk of arrest is worth it”

So when people see that, they realize how crazy it all is now. So there’s no point. So if I keep silent, I’m still not safe. That’s the issue. And more and more people are realizing now that keeping silent doesn’t actually help. …

I don’t think the usual people, the usual protesters, can actually do anything in this case. When I go and protest, it’s not because I think Putin will look down at me and say, “Oh, there are too many people, I’ll stop.” Well, that’s nonsense. We won’t have enough people because everybody’s too afraid. So it’s more for the future generations like, “You see? I was out there. I was protesting. I was against this.”

Nyle Fort, “The Religion of Protest”

And as the sun rose and my heart sank into my chest, a small crowd began to assemble. A few people lit candles. Some replaced soiled teddy bears and handed out water, while others stood in silence. Many of us wept. And after a few moments, we all joined hands and formed a circle around the shrine. Children, elders, parents, protesters, clergy, residents, out-of-towners, queer organizers, white activists, Black kids from the neighborhood. It felt like an altar call. Except salvation was not about joining a church or having faith in a higher power. It was about believing that every life is holy and joining a movement that protects the living while mourning the dead.

James Baldwin in No Name in the Street (quoted here)

Well, if one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected — those, precisely, who need the law’s protection most! — and listens to their testimony. Ask any Mexican, any Puerto Rican, any black man, any poor person — ask the wretched how they fare in the halls of justice, and then you will know, not whether or not the country is just, but whether or not it has any love for justice, or any concept of it. It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.

Molly Jong-Fast, “Where’s the Cancel-Culture Outrage Over Banning Books?”

The people who are obsessed with cancel culture have been conspicuously silent when it comes to banning books and politicizing libraries. Dispensing anti-vaccine content from an enormous platform is literally a matter of life and death. No one has died while reading a biography of Michelle Obama for children. (I know this for sure, because if someone did, Fox News would have devoted a prime-time special to it.) The difference between moderating health misinformation and actual censorship is very real, and so is the difference between consumers protesting a public company and a library removing books. The guy with the $100 million contract having to stop spreading lies about the vaccine is not the same as the removal of books that upset oversensitive parents. A conservative pundit once popularized the phrase “Facts don’t care about your feelings” and that could not be more true in this case.

Eva Ettinger, “The Pro-Life Movement Weaponizes Kids. I Should Know — They Did It to Me.”

My sense of myself as a participant in “pro-life” vigils and the March for Life was that I was engaged in a civil rights movement, following in the footsteps of Christian activists like Martin Luther King Jr., William Wilberforce, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This perspective was necessary to keep me and the other protesters believing that we were on the side of good, on the side of the vulnerable, on the side of God.

There’s a level of cultivated ignorance required for this belief. I had to be kept from understanding the history of racism, the history of capitalism disenfranchising the medically vulnerable, the history of sexual violence and patriarchal coercion of economically vulnerable people with uteruses. In order to believe that I was participating in a crusade for good, I had to not understand the actual history of Christian empire imposing itself on those it conquered.

Mark Silk, “Let’s treat religious liberty like conscientious objection”

The Army’s regulations for gaining CO status, for example, specify a careful and extensive process of scrutiny. This would weed out COVID-19 vaccine-objecting health workers who never go to church, who wear a MAGA hat to work and who have no problem with the rubella vaccine (also developed with a remote abortion-derived cell line). The presumption would be that their objection is more political or expedient, and they would be denied an exemption.

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