Monday, October 20, 2014

Hero Homework #6


I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
- Evelyn Beatrice Hall, (writing about Voltaire.)

Many people seem to have no moral compass.
They seem to have become infantilized They don’t know what’s right or wrong, they only know what they “like” or dislike. They equate what they like with “right” and what they dislike with “wrong.”  

For example, if someone “likes” Republicans (probably because he and his family ARE Republicans!) then no matter what a Republican says or does, that person will  believe the Republican is “right,” and anyone opposing that “right,” no matter how valid their arguments might be, must be wrong. 
Everything that benefits them must be “right” everything that costs them must be “wrong.”  Regardless of the merits of the case, if they win “justice was served” and if they lose it’s a gross and incomprehensible miscarriage of justice.

These are people who believe in “freedom of speech” only for those they like -- those with whom they agree -- but are perfectly happy to curtail freedom of speech for those whom they don’t like or with whom they disagree.
At a sports event every call that favors the team they “like” is a good call and every call favoring the opposing team is a “bad call” --- no matter how accurate or inaccurate the call actually is. The rules don’t really matter. What matters is whether the team you “like” wins.

And so we call those people who engage in violence against us “terrorists,” while those who commit the same atrocities on our behalf are “freedom fighters.”
When OUR soldiers kill innocent women and children, it’s unavoidable “collateral damage” arising from “liberating” the country we’ve invaded. When people in that invaded country fight back against such “liberation,” they are the “insurgents,” and every one of our invading soldiers whom they kill is portrayed as if he were an innocent child cravenly murdered while sleeping peacefully in his own bed.
We wind up with two sets of rules – one for ourselves and our friends, another quite different set for everyone else.

A fighter learns to assess himself and to assess his opponent in an objective manner, noting both strengths and weaknesses. It is disastrous to under-estimate an opponent’s abilities  -- and can be equally disastrous to over-estimate them. The fighter’s success in choosing appropriate and adequate strategy and tactics, depends on an unbiased, unemotional, objective assessment of the combat situation, including all aspects of the opponent, and all aspects of himself.

The heroic individual cultivates a capacity for critical thinking and objective honesty, and repudiates all double-standards.  He/she is able to critically evaluate an idea, or position on it own merits, and determine its validity regardless of whether the person offering that idea is “liked” or “disliked.”  He/she is ready, willing and able to identify flaws in his friends as well virtues in his enemies. He/she is as vehemently protective of the rights of those he/she “dislikes” or disagrees with, as he is of those he/she “likes” or agrees with.

And so to next our hero workout:

Find something that you can honestly compliment, respect and/or admire about at least one person whom you don't like. For extra credit, tell that person what it is you respect or admire about them. For EXTRA extra credit, tell others who dislike this person what it is  that you respect or admire about him or her.

This is a tough one.
Do it anyway.

- aac 

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