Factors that Influence Resistance to Social Change

One of the most common techniques of the film or television detective is to “follow the money!” This means that motive, means and opportunity in a crime usually relate, in one way or another, to money. Someone had the money; someone wanted the money; someone got the money; someone has the money.

Money is often the driving force behind both social change and resistance to social change. There is not just the desire by some to keep what it is that they have, but there is the desire to get more and more. This often requires maintaining interference and influence in many social, labor, regulatory and legislative arenas. Any social improvement, tax, regulation or law that reduces income, lowers net profit, or costs money to carry out is heavily resisted.

Labor unions are finding that out. But the whole of American society is finding out the hard way that resistance to regulation, taxes, and laws that protect the environment and jobs, for example has cost them dearly, in fact, is costing many of them their dreams, careers and homes.

There is clearly anger toward the results of banking deregulation, exporting of jobs and lack of enforcement in industries of all types, especially oil and gas industries. But this occurred during an era of social change that went on against the will of the people and that has had destructive effects that will take decades of social change in order to reverse the effects, if possible.

The net results of all of this social change was the most vast redistribution of America’s national treasury and commercial wealth in history. Money was the driving force behind the social change. The goals were met and the money will never be returned to the treasury or to the people.

Religion is a driving force behind social change. Whenever religious groups decide that they need to impose their religious dogma on the society as a whole, only great battles can ensue because America is more religiously diverse than any country in history. There is no majority religion that has the support of the majority of the population.

Thus, different religious groups are forced to resort to threats of violence, violence, oppression, lying, meddling in government affairs and voter’s perceptions and a host of commercial and corporate conspiracies in order to impose their beliefs and demand on society as a whole. This only results in either totalitarian government that combines the influence of the most powerful religion with the coercive force of government, or it results in resistance to the point where martial law must be imposed by the government. 

Beliefs and perceptions about civil rights are a driving force behind social change. The basic rights of so-called “minorities” must never be abrogated in favor of the majority. Yet new “rights” are being defined every day. Gay and Lesbian, disability,gender, national origin, race, creed, color, religion are all well established civil rights arenas.

But the rights to marriage is considered by many to be a religious and not a civil institution. Thus rights are being denied because the governments and people are resistant to social change that would have government enforcing rights to a religious institution. Many see this as a matter of separation of church and state and would gladly support civil unions, instead.

Others see being gay and lesbian at all as something that should be prohibited and even eradicated before it becomes a part of mainstream life, including the education of children. This has never happened and will never happen as there have always been gays and lesbians and there will always be gays and lesbians.

Instead, the only social change in a negative direction will be how far the government and society is allowed to go in eradicating any rights before society becomes seriously destabilized by resistance from the growing number of people who support gay and lesbian rights. 

Social networking, combined with the new corporate and political techniques of perception management is the newest force of social change and there is the seed of growing resistance. Perception management is simply the publishing and seeding of propaganda, lies and other manipulative content that is actually believed by enough people to drive profits, votes or popularity of charismatic leaders and pseudo grassroots movements.

Resistance to social change through perception management rises when the truth is exposed, when there is fatigue with ideas that attack but do not offer suitable alternatives, or when there is anger and resentment that builds from having been manipulated.

In summary, there are many ways that people develop resistance to social change. But money and safety, perceptions and beliefs, and management of those perceptions and beliefs are the most powerful forces both for creating social change and in building resistance to social change.