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Distractivism is any form of activism that serves primarily as a distraction, either to raise morale or to prevent people from carrying out actions which the "distractivist" (i.e. the entity promoting the distractivism) perceives as destructive.

Used maliciously, distractivism can be a way of preventing or forestalling desired political change by organizing people around an activity that has little or no effect.


In World War II, the British government enacted a program to recover metal -- especially iron -- from gates and fences in public areas, to be melted down to help with "the war effort". It was later revealed that this was totally unnecessary, as the amount recovered was miniscule compared to the amount needed, and that it largely served as a morale-booster to help English citizens deal with the hardship of the war. (Note: this story comes from our family history -- are there any other sources? --Woozle 15:01, 9 May 2011 (EDT))

Prayer can also be seen as a form of distractivism, in that it accomplishes little externally while apparently providing many people with a feeling of having done something to help, thus (1) satisfying a psychological need which might otherwise drive people to take real-world action and (2) diverting time and energy which otherwise might have been invested in such action. (This is one of the many ways that religion is used as a manipulative tool.)