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!
In light of our current crazy political environment I find this quote incredibly insightful:
“The effort to state an absolute fact is simply an attempt to achieve what is humanly impossible; all I can do is give you my interpretation of the facts.” — Ivy Lee, one of the first to practice the new field of public relations in the 1920s. (From These Truths, by Jill LePore, p. 412)
I hate to say it, but that guy got it right 100 years ago. It’s the environment in which we now exist.
David French has a similar journey to mine in his geography. I find this the more I read him. He lived for decades in the Northeast as a conservative Republican. I lived in Minnesota in a very liberal metro area as a conservative white pastor. He moved to TN. I moved to Alabama. He found he was still “homeless” in a way. I have discovered that as well.
In 2008, I will easily confess I did not vote for Barack Obama. Yet, when he was elected, there was something that settled well in my spirit. Not about policy, but about symbols. It didn’t solve anything deep… but WOW! We had finally elected a black man to be president. In that moment, I truly felt gratitude.
The longer I live, the more I realize that we simply don’t know who we truly are until we’re tested. We can vocalize our beliefs all day long, but when living those beliefs is hard—when upholding our principles carries a cost—that’s when we learn what we truly value. — David French
More and more, thoughtful (mainly young) Christians say to me, “I’m pro-life, I believe in religious freedom and free speech, I think we should welcome immigrants and refugees, and I desperately want racial reconciliation. Where do I fit in?” The answer is clear. Nowhere.
David French wrote this in his longer piece found HERE.