Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An essay on moderation

Do you think that progress will be made at the current rate?
I do not.

Is moderation (as in moderateness) morally justifiable?


Here are three quotes from distinguished citizens of the
country that performs the most research on diseases. The
topic is moderation.

The first is famous:

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the
Negro's great stumbling block in his stride towards
freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku
Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted
to "order" than to justice, who prefers a negative peace
which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which
is the presence of justice, who constantly says, "I agree
with you in the goal you seek but I cannot agree with your
methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes
he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who
lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly
advises the Negro to wait for a more "convenient season".

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more
frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of
ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than
outright rejection."

-- Martin Luther King (attributed to "Why We can't Wait,"
Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Harper & Row 1963)

The next is less famous:

"I am aware that many object to the severity of my
language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be
as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On
this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or
write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is
on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately
rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the
mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into
which it has fallen;-but urge me not to use moderation in
a cause like the present. I am in earnest--I will not
equivocate--I will not excuse--I will not retreat a single
inch--AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is
enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to
hasten the resurrection of the dead."

-- William Lloyd Garrison, inaugural editorial in the
anti-slavery journal The Liberator, 1 January 1831

Finally a sentence with insight:

"Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages,
are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them
general favour; a long habit of not thinking a thing
WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT,
and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of

-- Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

Their respective movements succeeded.


Did ACT-UP increase or decrease meaningful HIV / AIDS

Would more or fewer people be alive if ACT-UP had used their
"inside voices"? Did they "drive the good researchers
away"? Did they "hurt their own cause"? Should ACT-UP have
endorsed an association's "blotchy skin primer" that
promotes exercise and claims that opportunistic infections
play no role?

Does throwing meat to a lion make it go away? Does placing
a late-stage sufferer in front of its jaws save an
early-stage one from becoming late-stage?


Every day, each of us needs to ask, "What can I do for
advocacy today?"

What is the magic spell that makes informed political action
everybody's highest priority? What resources are needed to
make that happen for millions of people?

I believe that most of us (INCLUDING MILLIONS OF EARLY-STAGE
SUFFERERS) will die early from the disease before any
meaningful treatment ever becomes meaningfully available, unless
we step up action by orders of magnitude. ACT-UP had
serious manpower and we might need more than they had. So
please speak up. Please say something. Please get
strategically loud. One person can make the difference.


P.S. More on manpower (I posted this before):


Permission to copy this document verbatim in any medium is
GRANTED. Please do.

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