Most progress comes from people who have some measure of optimism and positive thinking. However, that sometimes backfires.
When dealing with chronic abusers of women and children, and on a greater scale, terrorists and dictators, the assumption of sweet goodwill can be deadly.
For sure, most people are sweet, sometimes under a rough exterior and coarse words. Most people mean well and have the best of intentions.
Yet, some people don’t.
When you smile at such people, their hearts are not softened. They rather conclude that you’re an idiot, someone ready to be fooled and taken advantage of.
No, not all people are as sweet as you. Most people but not all.
The power-hungry, the con artist, the greedy and chronically abusive, the mass murderer, the tyrant, the fanatic, the serial rapist — you don’t want to meet them in a dark alley.
So, you’re not helpful when you project your good heart onto people who are so steeped in evil that you can’t reach them.
We can still be optimistic on most individual people but not on the exceptions. Not yet.
Some may redeem themselves but never from being smiled at. They first need to be cornered. As long as they have power, why would they change? They won’t. In their positions, they only understand the language of power.
It’s not sweet to become their victims. It’s not sweet to let others be their victims. Be allies to those who suffer under the ruthless. Don’t ally yourself with the heartless. Of course, they have empathy too but must have decided deeply decades ago to ignore that. Unless they are cornered, they won’t care. (If you “corner” them but not decisively, they may even kill. Don’t try this at home.)
NB: It doesn’t seem that there are evil Peoples but there are evil people and especially evil leaders. They may even incite not-so-evil followers, who as a group can also be dangerous. Even if most people are nice.
So, stand by the victims of rape and genocide, by Israelis and Jews, by anyone oppressed or endangered and don’t “reason away” real threats.