The limits of celebrity activism

Daniel Drenzer explains why celebrities have acquired the power to help set the political agenda and what they have done with it.

The goal of most social activism is to bring greater attention to a problem. The assumption is that once people become aware of the problem, there will be a groundswell of support for direct action. This is not how politics necessarily works, particularly in the global realm. Any solution to a problem like global warming, for example, involves significant costs. As people become more aware of the policy problem, it is far from guaranteed that a consensus will emerge about the best way to solve it. It is therefore not surprising that celebs have had their greatest successes in touting humanitarian causes and almost no effect on ending militarized conflicts.

The article is critical, but, to his credit, Drenzer doesn’t succumb to too-easy celebrity-bashing. Read it all.

Hat tip: Arts and Letters Daily.

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