One has to be, on some level, a pacifist, in order to justify to oneself the idea that mass pathological study is itself sufficient. Christian martyrs might go to the lions, apparently losing the day, but their arguments were, at least, internally consistent:
"This is all a test, demonstrating how you are bound for Hell, while I will win forever in Heaven."
...ergo it didn't matter how many Christians were thrown to lions, or how many provinces went under Legion boots, because the triumph of evil in the real world was a proof to the supernatural aspects of the theory itself.
So, if you are all possessed of a belief in some kind of transcendent justice based upon faith, kudos!
If you're not--if you're atheists who tell people aloud that you're agnostic, weighted by a heavy awareness of the exploitative nature of a thousand years of organized human religion--then what do you have left? You can write another screed on the wrongness of throwing religious dissidents to lions. You can organize a mob to protest outside the Coliseum. You can spend decades raising awareness in the most influential residential neighborhoods of the imperial seat...and yet, the Legions will triumph in spite of all of our living-room discussions. Rotting crosses will continue to line the roads, and Senators will continue to rape Aquarii. Even if lusty, courageous barbarian heroes should someday pillage the provinces, it will not be because of any of our chatting; any of our theories; any of our indignation.
But seriously, we're losing, and none of our talking is saving any lives. It's not getting the prisoners released or stopping the bombing of children. And we know it.
Rebels With Too Many Causes
That's why we must apply a grain of salt to any of these intellectuals (ourselves included) who offer cool new analyses of the latest tyrannical act. No matter how much we like them; no matter how "right" they are: there exists a gigantic unspoken truth behind everything they say, namely, "How worthwhile is it to talk about all this?" And most of them don't answer that question. They leave it open to interpretation, and yet, even as they do all their talking and article-writing, for which they are often being paid by the very forces they condemn, they adopt the mantle of "rebel."
Here are the dissidents:
(1) The Evangelical. The Evangelical Dissident promises the eventual victory of goodness at the hands of a supernatural force. E.g., "God will make things right. Therefore, it is sufficient for us to merely hang out, discuss how stinky our rulers are, and not offer effective resistance to atrocity happening here, because this isn't the real game." The Evangelical may be wrong, but at least she is not a hypocrite. The Evangelical's genuine belief in the supernatural force means that it is consistent for the Evangelical to do her best inside an evil system, draw a paycheck from Imperial Suboffice #17-B, and resist only by posting blog articles discussing how evil the Empire is. However erroneous the supernatural claim, the claim would, if correct, vindicate the Evangelical's inaction. The Evangelical may be completely, flagrantly wrong, but at least her equations balance out.
The Evangelical Dissident's downfall is the requirement of proof: the Evangelical's promises can never, by their nature, be proven in the natural world, so her arguments are not taken seriously until people have time to contemplate being near the end and see something new. The Evangelical is highly vulnerable to a hypocrisy only she knows: if she doesn't actually believe herself, she isn't really an Evangelical, but a lying Bourgeois.
(2) The Bourgeois. The Bourgeois Dissident admits up front that the dissident's theories have no hope of stopping another thousand years of war. E.g., "It is hopeless. We are powerless to stop these people, but at least we're among the lucky few that can obtain intellectual stimulation from discussing how horrified we are at their actions, before we die." The Bourgeois Dissident is not a hypocrite because he has admitted that his theories are discussion fodder only, and that they will never better the world. While the Bourgeois talks, whole peoples will continue to be tortured and murdered. Genocide will run rampant. All these things are regrettable, to the Bourgeois, but in a catch-as-catch-can world, the Bourgeois Dissident sees no alternative but to propagate his disgust among those who share his views.
The Bourgeois Dissident's downfall is his association with Empire. Because the Bourgeois admits that he will never change the system, he is a part of the system...but at least he's not a hypocrite, nor a Fool. He knows his arguments are verbal masturbation, which he finds far more pleasurable than standing in front of an imperial tank.
(3) The Fool. The Fool Dissident genuinely believes that more detailed discussions of elite wrongs will eventually sway the people to make changes. The Fool thinks that elites are merely ignorant of the badness of killing people, and that, if confronted with visceral descriptions of warfare, or detailed charts proving corruption, elites will be shocked to their senses and start behaving well.
The Fool may also cherish this belief about ordinary people. Perhaps she thinks that, if presented with corruption charts, ordinary people will suddenly demand change. The Fool can wile away decades of being mocked and marginalized, never losing her belief that, if she just gets another thirty seconds on a local radio program, she can make people "wake up" and take back "their" government.
Although the Fool Dissident is lamentably in error, she is not a hypocrite. Her staggering historical ignorance and blazingly wishful thinking make her more naive than even the most delusional Evangelical, yet because of that delusion, she is able to be internally consistent. She is wrong, but she is not a liar--provided that, like the Evangelical, she actually believes in her heart of hearts that people will be able to process her knowledge and effect change if only she has educated them.
The Fool's downfall is experience. An experienced Fool knows that the masses have ever either loved their rulers' corruption, or hated it yet been too cowardly to change it, both for a number of psychological, sociological, and political reasons that will forever stymie her attempts at elucidation until control systems are broken through violence. An educated fool knows that the masses, and the elites, have already seen all the "bomb victim" photos, already know that the government is on the take, and simply don't give a shit. Maybe the Fool is right--if children were birthed well, raised well, and taught well, they would respond to her knowledge. In the face of the Empire's control at each level, however, one has to be a true Fool to think that the system will be changed by "spreading awareness."
(4) The Lily. The Lily Dissident genuinely believes in pacifism. He would never raise a fist to defend himself, and believes that no one else should, either--ergo, even though he does not suffer from the Fool's delusions, or the Bourgeois' hideous honesty, the Lily Dissident cannot advocate effective action. The Lily truly believes that inert civil disobedience is what makes empires fall and redresses grievances. He ignores the violent crushing of the Black Panther Party and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., while celebrating the American Democratic Party's stillborn Civil Rights movement as a triumph for shifting so many millions of black people into integrated urban poverty, street starvation, and federal detention facilities. The Lily celebrates what little he knows of India's history, and attributes the withdrawal of the British Empire to Gandhi's activism, rather than to budgetary issues and geopolitics. Hundreds of years of civil disobedience to the United Kingdom, bringing only a violent response against the natives, are ignored because, in one country, Britain happened to be pulling out around the time one particular movement got started: proof positive, to the Lily, that his method changes the world.
The Lily's downfall, like that of the Fool and the Evangelical, is the question of whether he really thinks it's true--if he thinks that, by lying down in front of Dick Cheney's Bentley, he could convince Cheney to stop and not run him over. Or, he could acknowledge that Dick Cheney would run him over, but cling to pacifism anyway, believing that it is morally right regardless of its real-world failures. True Lily Dissidents are exceedingly rare, because Lilies must believe that it would be wrong for police to use violence to stop a man from raping a woman: as soon as a "Lily" claims violence is okay in certain circumstances, he becomes a hypocrite for disavowing violence as a tool to stop the rape and murder of tens of thousands of Arab women.
(5) The Hypocrite. The Hypocrite Dissident is the most common by far. The Hypocrite enjoys the comforts of empire, yet laments the price necessary to maintain them (but laments not enough to change them). The Hypocrite is aware of the police state nationalism, educational boundaries, and chemical pollution that affect each new citizen's ability to analyze dissidence, and the Hypocrite is often intimately familiar with the impossible nuances and power-plays of making policy changes, small to large--yet, the Hypocrite manifests a firm belief in peaceful activist changes. This dissident can discuss a hundred years of media message control, political stifling, and open corruption, while simultaneously claiming that making inspiring Youtube videos or writing articles filled with archaic revolutionary jargon might effect large-scale change.
What differentiates the Hypocrite from the Fool is the question of belief: the Fool, through ignorance or fantasy, believes that education will prompt the common masses to vote or revolt, while the Hypocrite knows the details of how thoroughly the common masses are controlled, and knows, often word-for-word, how his message will be dismissed by the pre-loaded corporate dismissals provided the masses via popular culture.
The Hypocrite knows that the power of old capital and entrenched MIC interests would be sufficient to cleanly remove even a radical president who was suddenly elected, and to correspondingly soothe the masses afterward--so even if an impossibly fantastical, 0.00001% chance, viral internet campaign swept in some Green Senators and a Green President, the Hypocrite knows that the deep government could remove them as easily as JFK and Wellington, and nothing would change.
Flirting with pacifism, wishful thinking, and bitter fantasy, the Hypocrite realizes that he is only another talking head on late night cable, reaching only those who already understand and utterly powerless to change anything by talking. His downfall is complete before it can begin, for he knows the failure of his non-quest, yet pretends to be questing anyway.
Room For Argument
There's room for argument in all those. Is the Lily correct? Does lying down in front of Dick Cheney's Bentley really make his heart grow three sizes in one day? Will explaining things in clear terms to Bill Gates make him stop destroying childhood education? Those are ridiculous arguments, but they're not hypocritical, so they can be rationally made.
Is the Fool correct? If we all saved up and took out a week straight of full-page New York Times ads, would people suddenly realize that the past twenty presidents have been corporate puppets, and demand a rewrite of the Constitution and the jailing of every living politician? Ridiculous, of course; people would immediately identify it as stupid leftist propaganda, and skip to the next page. (Ted Kaczynski tried to get a message out, anyway, got one out, got a lot of readers, and thereby already proved that argument partly wrong, but maybe Fools think they could make a better case than he did, and they're probably right.)
The Bourgeois isn't going to lose any political arguments, either. His rallying cry is "Nature, red in tooth and claw," and if he's honest, an argument with him goes to the level of spirituality. The Bourgeois is completely internally consistent, and even though he's only a Hypocrite in disguise, he's really intelligent and fun to read.