On Being A Jerk

This was a trying weekend.

I have come to the conclusion that focusing so much on the negative, even when I’m “in the right,” is going to wear me down to a nub in short order. It’s not fun, it puts me in fight-or-flight mode, and it’s not really helping anyone.

Here’s an article that’s quite relevant to my situation even though it’s about something else entirely:

I thought all anti-vaxxers were idiots. Then I married one.

Reading that, I realized you could substitute almost any group for “anti-vaxxers” so long as they are intelligent, rational people who:

1. Have beliefs which are not supported by facts.

2. Have a tight network of like-minded believers who reinforce each other’s beliefs.

3. Believe themselves to be an oppressed minority (or secretly a majority.)

The takeaway, in case you don’t read the article, is that mockery is not helpful and will tend to reinforce their beliefs (see #3 above.) Telling people that they’re dumb for believing what they believe doesn’t make them change their mind; it makes them think you’re an asshole.

Ok, fair enough, I won’t deny that particular charge. But, it’s no fun for me or for anyone else to interact on that level, and if this isn’t fun or educational, then why do it? A friend of mine likes to make the distinction between “arguing to be right” versus “arguing to persuade.” That’s a pretty good distinction, and I’ve been arguing to be right, not to engage in any kind of persuasion or understanding. That sucks.

So, my, um, “three-quarter year resolution” is this: Stop that shit. Mocking people for their beliefs, even beliefs which are, by reasonably objective standards “wrong,” is not helpful, not healthy, and not worth anyone’s time. Certainly not mine, and probably not the time of anyone reading this.

But…

I’m making one exception: Politicians are fair game. I will mock the daylights out of them and I will not be ashamed. It’s simply not reasonable to discontinue all mockery when Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton are on stage. To expect otherwise would be silly. I mean, c’mon…

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