“Arrogance vs Intelligence”
Our Show Opener on our most recent episode of Gun Freedom Radio!
Is something true because you believe it, or do you believe something because it’s true?
I think both things are valid, but for different reasons. On one hand, we as a society agree on certain things – that is to say that we believe in them - and it is through our belief that these things become true. Like money – a $1 bill and a $100 bill are made with the exact same material. So, what makes one worth more than the other is simply our belief. We believe and agree that more ink – more zeros (ironically) - cause the $100 bill to be more valuable than the single. Other kinds of beliefs are based in faulty logic – Snake Oil Salesmen and con-men have made fortunes by capitalizing on emotion to convince unwise people to purchase – and consume their poison. ….These are subjective beliefs.
On the other hand, we objectively recognize the truth of other things, and therefore believe them – self-evident truths fall into this category. Fact-based things like, humans are born, we live, and we die.
I bring all of this up, because there seems to be a tremendous amount of confusion going on these days about the difference between these kinds of beliefs – and the difference is all mucked up in emotional reactions, self-assured, and self-righteous arrogance, which are somehow taking precedence over critical-thinking, logic, and intelligence.
I will give you an example. I recently have had a number of conversations with people who have very little personal knowledge and experience with firearms, but who are arrogant in their sureness that we need more laws, less guns, and without a doubt that “ONE GUN” needs to be banned entirely.
To a person, these people were aware of what I do for a living. They know that I have a certain level of expertise in these matters, and yet it never occurred to any of them to ask me what “I” thought about any of what they were saying. They weren’t engaging me in an exchange of ideas, they were talking at me, “telling me,” like a parent who ends every command with “because I said so”.
These people have confused subjective, fear-based, beliefs with objective truth. They have become the unwitting handmaidens of the Snake Oil Salesman. They spew piles of foolish words and phrases, made up of bits and pieces of things they “heard somewhere”, and without an invitation to interrupt their reverie I am put in an awkward quandary. Do I interrupt their presumptions and risk being presumptuous myself by correcting
each point? Or do I become complicit in their lack of understanding by silently cringing?
They speak “with authority” and poison the air with nonsense without caring about how insulting their behavior is, but I feel the social pressure to be polite and not come off like a “know it all”. I can only guess how many thousands of times this scenario plays out across the nation and over dinner tables every minute of every day. And each time the arrogance goes unchallenged with intelligence we slip farther and farther away from what so many people have fought, bled, and died for. Freedom. Freedom to be arrogant. And Freedom to be intelligent.
After much careful thought and prayer, I have decided that Freedom is worth the risk of speaking up. Liberty is more important than a mildly uncomfortable conversation here and there. And, in the end, truly we are doing no favors to our friends and family when we allow them to believe lies and speak nonsense. In the end, wouldn’t they be thankful that we care enough about them to offer them the truth? We must ourselves be careful, though, to not become as self-righteous as our counterparts. We must exercise the better and wiser angels of our nature as we engage in and hopefully begin to shift the tides to intelligent conversations in the battle of arrogance vs intelligence.