For The Atlantic, I write:
These questions often float, unanswered, beneath the temporal moralism of people who think it’s effective advocacy of human rights to shut down a fashion show. Asking a very basic question — will this advocacy change things or even hurt things? — might have led them in a different direction. Looking at the long-term consequences of one’s advocacy is vitally important to actually achieving the goals one sets out to achieve. That’s why the Tashkent embassy worries that blind advocacy for a nebulous human rights agenda might actually make the lives of normal Uzbeks worse off.
It’s also why the fashionistas suddenly developing a sense of morals about the source of their fabrics can grate a bit. Of all the many horrible things the government of Uzbekistan has done to its people, it was fashion that raised their ire? Could that be any more condescending to the Uzbeks everyone says they care so much about?
More, obviously, at the link.