The power of the individual in mass modern society mostly consists in the ability to say NO — and perhaps in being prepared to accept consequences.
Consequences may include lowered standard of living, curtailment of advancement, physical relocation, social ostracism, overt state repression, abandonment of citizenship, and torture and death.
People who say NO often discover the joy of exercising freedom, and the sometimes surprising lack of immediate direct proportional consequence for standing out and speaking up. This is especially true if resistance has foundation in genuine social relationships. [See The Power of Habit for an enthralling account of how and why Rosa Parks managed to spark a revolution.]
States tolerate dissent only to the extent that the recalcitrance is seen as no real threat to state agenda. A standard ploy, especially in sophisticated “democracies,” is to regard dissent as ephemeral steam blowoff and to make sure that it gets mimimal reporting. Especially in the state’s own “statistics.”
Assemblies of the powerless may fragment as some subset of the powerless attempt to exercise unwarranted power within the assembly itself, in the absence of any other suitable social venue. Often these would-be power-mongers discover that their fallback power reduces to exit from the assembly. Unless an alternative faction can be established, the exiting individual thus opts for self-isolation. Standards of honesty and consistency would suggest that showboaters not continue to lurk after doing their best to foster schism with noisy exit.
A handful of individuals have left Brock on emotional grounds. Their chief indicators seem to be disgusting and nauseating. These words do not derive from the sphere of reason and argument. I’m all for emotion, and intensely scrutinize professions of love for civility and rationality for those all-too-inevitable tentacles of repression.
The only thing that pains me is to see some larger set of Brockers start to think that a minor rupture over a smidgen of Brock content says anything about Brock. Or to doubt the competence of information seekers to assess for themselves the data they sift through. Or to wonder whether Brock could or should be anything other than a voluntary assembly of autonomous free individuals. Or to suppose that most untoward postings or comments should be met with anything but silence. Unless something is really awry, the best counteraction is absolute nonreaction — let detritus quickly be enveloped in the ever-accreting verbal silt.
In the interests of balance — which is what pursuit of dialectic is all about — I am far more concerned about hearing from Joe Smith who has paused into silence than about looking in the rearview mirror at two or three who chose to blast off with fireworks.