This piece by David French is something I’ve mulled over for awhile because I’ve read both of Jonathan Haidt’s books mentioned in the piece. I’ve also found it’s not just about trying to talk to conspiracy theorists. Ideologies are so entrenched currently, all the mantra is these days is to show someone else just how wrong they are, and BOOM… they’ll see it my way!
Not so fast.
True persuasion is much more challenging than winning a debate. Sweeping away a falsehood is of little use unless you can replace the lie with a meaningful and empowering truth. You cannot yank a person from their community and then leave them homeless. Do not pretend we can replace something—no matter how malignant—with nothing.
We are so bent on destroying the foolishness of someone else’s false thinking we just don’t care if they are pummeled to ashes in the process.
Also, we are not humble. We are proud of our “rightness.” This leaves us blind. Then… when someone comes along to point out some fallacies in our own thinking, we get furious.
Where does that leave us? Alone in our rightness.
Oh, we think, “Well, I have this community that is with me.” Yes. We do indeed. A bunch of people who think exactly like me.
And over the years I have noticed that if I slip into that mode… I am the narrow thinker. It becomes dangerous because as a believer, I will then only want to be around other believers who think exactly like me. When all is said and done, that might be a “community”… but it is a small one. And I have become a small person.
I invite you to not only to read the French article (HERE) but check out the video in the piece and work a little harder by reading both of Haidt’s books. They are true challenges to how we think. And we ALL need that.
French ends this way:
The longer I look at our bitter and divided culture, the more convinced I am that there are no shortcuts to cultural repair. Politics are important, but it’s relationships that will repair or destroy our land. Do we care enough about our angry relatives that we’re willing to love them back to spiritual health? The answer to that question will be more important than any media reform and any political contest. We simply cannot write off millions of Americans as beyond the reach of truth and hope.