I was in a forum earlier today and I made a comment about changing cultural norms to bring about greater public acceptance of nudism, getting the following response: “Trying to change cultural norms is what social engineering is all about. What gives a minority the right to try to manipulate the norms of the majority in that way?”
Does a minority have the right to try to manipulate the cultural norms of the majority? I don’t know but isn’t nearly all social change brought about by some minority attempting to change existing cultural norms? How about women’s suffrage, civil rights, gay rights, to name a few changed cultural norms? Have majorities throughout history had epiphanies and just decided that commoners should be able to own land, women should be able to vote, blacks should have equal rights, and gays should be accepted?
Social engineering occurs all the time. Sometimes it’s called public relations, sometimes advertising, sometimes entertainment, and sometimes it’s not quite so subtle. Whatever you call it, it boils down to social engineering. Governments, corporations, religions, and special interest groups all engage in it. Apparently this commenter feels it’s OK for the majority or those who represent (or claim to represent) the majority to use social engineering but forbid a minority from doing the same.
The majority generally has no vested interest in changing cultural norms. Their vested interest is in maintaining the status quo.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has!” — Margaret Meade