Discussion Points: Allan of AngryBlackLady; classic piece on incrementalism

30 May

Incrementalism: The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, But It Bends Toward Justice

By Allan on March 27th, 2011

Actual Progressives celebrate Progress.

You’re probably familiar with the title quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., who was paraphrasing the words of Unitarian minister and abolitionist Theodore Parker from 1853.  And you may also be familiar with a quote attributed to Albert Einstein (though no evidence exists that he said it): when asked to name the greatest invention by man, he replied, “Compound interest.”

Let me show you how little changes add up over time, how incremental steps function like compound interest to deliver huge pay-offs. But it takes time, which is something the Poutrage Princes and Princesses of the Professional Left don’t understand. Change, real change, is not about you and your pet cause or your need for immediate gratification or your need to see your enemies smitten.

I’ll focus on the topic I know best, the gay rights movement. There has been, and continues to be, a push-pull between progress and regress, with gay people often on opposing sides in every battle. But when you step back and look at the bigger picture, you cannot deny that progress happens, albeit incrementally and fitfully. It is maddening and frustrating to live your life on the front lines of a movement for social change, as I have. And yet I have seen things in my lifetime that I truly never expected to happen.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Let’s start in the mid-70s, the era in which I attained adulthood, with the first battle for gay rights I joined.

[please read the remainder of this outstanding piece at angryblacklady.com]

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