Preaching at “Progressives” – Effective?
In working to communicate ideas and thinking related to the superior value of individual liberty and free-market economics — founding principles which have enabled America’s greatness — it is easy to become arrogant and self-righteous when we encounter resistance or competing ideologies.
We try hard to communicate logic, truth, common sense, and rational principles so that hopefully those who do not understand will change their views. Otherwise, we are simply “preaching to the choir”. And, trust me, I am one who can and does often fall into this trap… so this relates to my own thinking and action, as well. When we are passionate, we can get carried away.
Yet, is this effective? As I examine my own thinking I must from time-to-time ask myself, “To whom am I speaking? Why? What is my objective? And, am I effective? Am I being arrogant myself?” In thinking about this today, a few thoughts came to mind.
First, arrogant people, by definition, never/rarely see their own inadequacies (including ourselves when we become arrogant) and most often only see what they perceive, in their subjective thinking, to be inadequacies in others. This can just as easily be us, as it could be someone else. Being “right” does not preclude arrogance.
Second, arrogance produces subjective thinking. Subjective thinking produces flawed logic.
Third, when one is arrogant and subjective, the last thing that works in communicating to them is telling them what to think, that they are wrong, or that they “don’t get it”. Usually, this simply works to further entrench their thinking. This is why I often check my tone and work to share information vs. tell others they are wrong. My closest friends and family help to catch me when I fall into an arrogance trap, myself.
From my experience, I believe we can only appeal to arrogance in others — anywhere in life — through tolerance, patience, and long-suffering, and providing a good, confident but humble example.
Only through time and testing will an arrogant person change (one who lives in a predominantly arrogant state of mind)… if at all. Many never do. However, any flawed logic, therefore, will not be changed by showing the arrogant, in this case the “progressive” “left”… logical ideas and thinking.
To underline, arrogance is usually evolved into humility, only through disaster and testing. Disaster can be personal, organizational, or national, in scope. Disaster brings many to humility. Some, however, become even more arrogant and focus on blame and hatred of others for the disaster or tragedy that has befallen them.
When disaster does produce humility — in an individual, organization, or nation — a person is then able to think objectively… considering all facts, absent blame, hatred, or focus on others. In other words, humility produces objective thinking, which is able then to produce logical thought.
Yet, until one experiences disaster and advanced testing (failure, pain, loss, coming to a point of being “helpless and hopeless”), which produces pain greater than the perceived benefit or value of using the arrogant flawed logic, their thinking (and the “lefts” in this case) generally will not change.
So, what is the solution?
First, we want to be very careful that we do not become arrogant ourselves — often self-righteousness is the sneakiest arrogance — and thus make our message of logic, reason, and principled thinking, hard to hear or accept and ineffective. Or worse, hypocritical.
Second, we want to be sure we are authentically humble, with confidence in principles and that good prevails, but realizing we have what we have, and are who we are only by the Grace of God, and can lose whatever we have in a moment. As such, we really have no right to condemn others when we ourselves are imperfect. In other words, make sure we are confident in our principles, but not arrogant in applying or communicating them. Share truth, but don’t attack others.
Third, we want, I believe, to make sure we are patient and focus on our own actions — being producers of value, and helping others through our example and leadership.
Finally, in my view, when we are doing 1-3, we then can be confident in our future and the outcome.
The caveat. Clearly, sometimes in life and history, however, we are driven to fight when arrogance becomes systemic evil. Systems of arrogant ideology, such as collectivism, historically have driven free-peoples to defend themselves and their way of life. We hope and pray we never arrive there… however, if and when that time ever comes, by the Grace of God go we. Until then, it is best that we act in alignment with principles of individual liberty and respect for other’s views, like them or not. However, this does not mean we do not fight where and when appropriate.
As far as errant laws… and attempts to encroach on our natural rights and liberties (such as self defense and owning the tools necessary to this task — firearms, for one) we must fight in the courts and at the ballot-box, as well as in the battlefield of ideas — wherever possible.
However, the aforementioned still applies in terms of “where we are coming from”, and our “approach”. If we are authentic in sharing principles of truth and individual liberty, not from a position of blame, superiority, or arrogance ourselves, we can be effective. If we are patient with those who, in their arrogance, cannot see, we can make a difference.
In closing, many who are arrogant today have been educated to be. They have been indoctrinated to be. Many feel they are doing “the right thing”. We have (the State and through our own distraction and self-focus) — through many forces too detailed to discuss here — created an arrogant, self-centered, and biased generation — but most do not see this in themselves. This is the genius of “progressive” evil.
All said, let’s show the way by first being humble ourselves, and simply sharing truth.
D.M. Chaney (C) 2012 “Notes on Liberty”