Compassion in Conflict
In response to yesterday’s post, a friend wrote to me: “I have been thinking about this a lot and I have been coming closer to the side of offering compassion to people with views I don't agree with. It's definitely a luxury to do this as I am largely unaffected by the views they have, but it is my understanding that these views are often inherited and come from a place of ignorance and fear. Does defeating someone not just leave them with a resentment which they will want to avenge?”
I think these are good points, and I should have made it clear that to defeat someone does not mean acting as their enemy. But compassion necessitates making judgments of care and concern. I think it is a dangerous mistake to assume that everyone is equally well-intentioned, or well-intentioned at all. And, if a person is not well-intentioned, that does not mean we should not have compassion for them, but it is important to prioritise; when someone is being abused, we can have equal compassion for the abuser and the abused, while prioritising stopping the abuse and helping those who are being harmed.
While realising that some people need to be defeated, compassion means we can be an opponent rather than an enemy. Of course, some people when defeated (by which I mean stopped or thwarted from abusing or exploiting people) will be resentful and will seek revenge. I have no solution to offer. This is why class struggle has no end.