This article resulted from an online suggestion that nonviolence was unlikely to be successful when those in power lack the capacity to feel shame and empathy. A fair case could be made that there are plenty of dictators and far too many executives incapable of shame and empathy. Here’s what Hyperion1144 said, in a discussion about Martin Luther King Jrs views on rioting and in the context of the riots in the UK:
The problem with non-violent resistance is that your opponents must be capable of both shame and empathy.
The financial elite of this world have neither.
So, without rioting or non-violence, what is left?
In my view, this is quite an interesting point when it comes to how we fix the corruption that has infected the highest levels, from greedy CEOs to the crooked politicians they buy. If the people at the top truly have a different morality – perhaps due to their inability or unwillingness to feel certain human emotions – then how do we defend ourselves and restore civil society?
Because they don’t care if you die. They are indifferent to it, as long as their position is maintained. Given this, nonviolence could still work but would require most of us working together and still a lot of people would die. I say it would work because I believe there are not enough sociopathic individuals to run any sort of economy (i.e., they need us or no food, never mind yachts or butlers), and they would constantly be trying to steal each other’s stuff. They’re sociopaths.
At the same time, to defeat them nonviolently we would have to shut down the means of production. It’s a reverse John Galt: Let the Job Creators flip their own burgers, make their own cars, pick their own fruit, put out their own house fires. Clearly it would never work; they need people to willingly or otherwise do all these things for them.
If we’re no longer willing, then conscienceless people must force us by any means necessary – they’re not concerned about the morality of their means. So nonviolent protests of any sort – mass demonstrations, strikes, rallies – would be put down. Lots of people would be killed, unless they could hide.
At what point would these sociopaths stop? I’m sure many in Syria and Egypt are wondering the same thing. You might as well ask the greedy man, How much is enough?
Given this, how do we right the ship? Because sociopaths can’t stop themselves.