Opposing social innovation

Resisting social reform
1. The conscience and innate decency of people form a better shield against abuses than legislation.

2. Proposing a 10-hour working day is a gross interference with the right of the working man to work as long as he likes.

Counter Claim:
1. It is a salutary thing to look back at some of the reforms which have long been an accepted part of our life, and to examine the opposition, usually bitter and often bizarre, sometime dishonest but all to often honest. Misguided and preposterous though some of this past opposition to social reform now appears, it is doubtful whether it will seem any more peculiar, one hundred years hence, than some of the reasons we produce today for perpetuating hardship and injustice. Our ancestors thought it absurd that wives should wish to keep their own earnings; our descendants may be astonished at our system which forces a man to maintain a woman, sometimes for life, after a hopeless marriage has been disrupted.

2. The reformer must not count on receiving any help from the victims of injustice. Victims of great abused have a way of being apathetic, defeatist, terrorized or demoralized. They may even clamour to retain their chains. When the reformer has risen above all the other manifold obstacles, when he has moved inertia, exposed self-interest, pricked apathy, dispelled ignorance, stimulated imagination, refused to be blinded with technicalities, shaken off undesirable supporters (ready to add their own enemies to his), and even moved those who are prejudiced against him because of his political colour, he must recognize that he is less than halfway to success. The government may prefer to pass some popular measure of its own benefiting the virtuous rather than make way for a minor measure benefiting criminals or the dispossessed.

Facilitated by:
Applying principles
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal