The prevent defense, used as a response to an opponent, has always been around, from the start of human conflict all the way to today’s social media fueled fires.
The prevent defense is a tactic that relies on being a little ahead—winning either realistically, rhetorically, or in any other way you can think of that human beings think of “being ahead”—and then doing the bare minimum to stay ahead of your erstwhile opponent.
There are two main flaws in the prevent defense, and we see them both play out in sports situations, where the tactic is the most obvious to everybody in the crowd, or politics, where the tactic is the most muddied:
- Your erstwhile opponent has the option to not go along with your way of looking at the field of battle, and to be aggressive in pursuing their own outcome, their own “win” if you will.
- You have the opportunity to become lazy and apathetic; to coast on your past victory and dominance in a particular space, which breeds hubris, vanity, and ultimately, a loss at the hands of a more aggressive opponent with less to lose.
Why am I talking about the prevent defense?
One of the trends I have noticed increasingly, is the idea out there, that all of the major innovations, discoveries and progressions that would benefit humanity, spirituality and our material world, have already been discovered, plumbed and exploited. And all that’s left is for humanity to wallow in the detritus of exploitation that has been left behind.
The other trend that I’ve noticed is a nostalgia (even I have experienced it, heck, I was watching Firing Line videos on YouTube last night) for a past that seemed more monolithic, more streamlined, and less complicated. This is, of course, a misnomer. The past was as complicated to the people living in it then, as the present is complicated to people living in it now.
The final trend that I’ve noticed is the growing acceptance of mob justice solutions, intimidation tactics, “doxing” of opponents, and other negative “resolutions” that seem easy, but in reality create more complications. With allof these approaches, simplification is honored over understanding, and context is lost in favor of the crowd.
The inundation of noise, information, and knowledge, but not real wisdom, has served only to stratify and create false division, fake outrage, shortened attention spans, a lack of patience and an inability to balance current orthodoxy with long held principles.
Many people, unable to articulate these feelings in words are playing prevent defense, hoping that the inundation won’t come to their door, visit their family, or impact them too much.
But the prevent defense has never really worked, and I for one, am not going to rely on it.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: email@example.com