“You’re either with us, or against us”
It would be a fallacy to say, that all isms believe this, as would it be a fallacy to say that just because someone does believe this, their messages and arguments are validated, or void. Still, while in some situations the statement may hold some value, the way I’ve seen it and its extensions used was less than exemplary.
The two things in particular I’d like to change or reinforce your opinion about are:
- The idea, that agreeing with one facet of something implies agreeing with it all.
- The idea, that a group is defined by the definition of its name.
For the first statement, let us assume we have two groups of people:
The Aparderatists, who believe a multitude of things, but in particular, that there exists a kettle, that is little and blue, and that there is five fingers on every person’s hand.
The Bleuristosians, who similarly are not one-dimensional characters, but in particular believe, that there exists a kettle, that is little and blue, and that not every person has five fingers on their hand.
Now, they share at least one belief, of there being a kettle, that is blue and little, but that does not mean, that they believe the same things. In this example, the belief, that every person has five fingers on their hands, is contradictory to the belief, that not every person has it so.
It would not be impossible for people to hold contradictory beliefs, but it is another of my assumptions, that at least one person of each of those groups has realized that those ideas are contradictory, and cannot be held at once.
Now, why I believe this argument was necessary is how it relates to the saying at the top of the page. The two groups hold contradicting beliefs, which would mean they are against each other, if the statement held true. Still, in matters concerning the kettle, they agree, which means that they can cooperate with regards to them. They can work together, towards one goal, such as convincing someone else that the kettle exists, but still be working against each other on the topic of the finger count of people’s hands.
People, and by extension organizations/communities, are complex constructs that are capable of temporary alliances with others, in spite of their general differences, because of their common sub-goals. One does not have to share someone’s end goal, for them to go in the same direction at the time.
An example of this could be the Woman’s Suffrage Movement and the Suffrage Movement of the Poor Whites and free African Americans. Many people of the first category fell under the second category and vice versa, and they worked together towards this, even if both movements had their separate end goals.
For the second statement, I provide a counter. Let us review the Bolsheviks of the Russian Empire. A Bolshevik literally means “One of the majority”, which would imply, that if the name of the group is to define its members, all members of some kind of majority would be Bolsheviks. Bolshevik ideology reaches further, more specific, and sometimes even entirely in a different direction than what it’s name means. It amuses me to say, that even at the time of the party’s activity, it wasn’t the majority over the one’s they called the minority, neither was it bigger that the opponents it faced.
In other words, the ideology of a community is independent of its name. Using the definition of a name as an argument, why one should be part of a group is inadequate. People, who do not believe the ideology of the group, are not necessarily not what the group calls itself, but they are not part of the group.
An example of this could be today’s feminism in the western world. A feminist, per definition, is a person, who believes in the equality of men and women. Feminism in itself, however, is not just the collection of those people, but is rather an aggregate of many ideologies, some only tangentially related to what the definition of the word feminism is. It is more related to its name, than it could be, for most feminists do have some beliefs concerning women, but not all feminists are the definition of feminism, and not all people, who conform to the definition of feminism, believe all that, which feminism says.
A more abstract example could be a group I just started, called “The Blues”. It is a group which believes, that frogs are interesting. Such a group’s name has nothing to do with the subject matter it concerns itself with, and yet it can call itself that. Not everyone, who is blue, metaphorically or literally, will have to be part of this group, and not everyone who is part of this group has to be such.
Now, as a side note about my previous theory, I understand this procession of words somewhat derails my arguments for changing a movement’s name, if it is irrelevant in the end. Still, I hold the belief, that equalitarianism is the less corruptible of those terms, for as I now generalise from my first example, people tend to pick movements which’s name’s definition contains something related to what they believe in. In other words, people tend to join movements, the names of which are at least tangentially related to it. Equalitarianism is a word that is related to equality, and I don’t see much more matter in the definition. It simply has too little substance to it, to be able to go on tangents off of it, but still defines exactly the same, as many movement with more substance to it define. It is so to speak, the essence of all sub-equalitarianisms, which is the reason why I call them that in the first place.