Hope is a very dangerous thing--it leads, say the conflict researchers, to action. Kriesberg and Dayton (2012, p. 49) note that for conflict to emerge, one of the normally necessary elements is that "members of the aggrieved party must believe that they can indeed bring about the desired change in the antagonist." Until some leader, some event, some campaign, some crack in the wall of oppression opens, people will remain long-suffering. Give them that inch of hope and they will try for a mile of results.
This is related to some of the issues surrounding any emerging discipline, which is certainly what Conflict Resolution is. As more research informs our most academic, peer-reviewed writings by our experts, we will slowly be understood to be a science, not a mere intuitive art. Students struggle with this, understandably, and yet they will be the seed crop that helps society gain a new 'common sense' as they gradually learn and share the basics of conflict forensics we teach in our colleges and universities. It's a process with a few bumps in the scholarly road, but it is underway.
And when my students confront me about my tests, I know that they "believe that they can indeed bring about the desired change in the antagonist" (me), and sometimes they do--and sometimes I can help them see that we need to change what we 'know' in our culture.
Kriesberg, Louis, & Dayton, Bruce W. (2012). Constructive conflicts: From escalation to resolution. (4th ed.) Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.