Patterico's Pontifications

7/2/2020

A Few Thoughts On The Test Of Who We Really Are

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:48 pm



[guest post by Dana]

When we are young and full of vim and vigor, and ready to take on the world, we imagine how heroic we would be if faced with life or death situations. Or we imagine how we would voluntarily come along side those in need, even risking life and limb to do so because we are simply that noble in our own eyes. We imagine that we would sacrifice everything we have, everything we are, and everything we might become to answer the call for help. Nothing could stop us. But as we age, we realize more our limitations, and we can see the bigger picture and consequences, both short term and long term. We are so much better able to weigh out the potential cost of our risk-taking. And also as we age, we understand more fully and precisely exactly what we are made of. Often such honesty reflects a less noble picture than the one we were convinced of in our youth. We can more clearly see our strengths, certainly, but we can also see more clearly our fears, our frailties, and any number of shortcomings that have made themselves known over the years. Personally, I think of this in terms of faith. When I consider the price that Christ endured so that I might know Him, and have a measure of peace and hope in this life that can be so heartbreakingly sad, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. As a young believer, I read about a missionary group that would sneak Bibles and medicine into a third-world nightmare of a country where Christians were routinely killed (both locals and missionaries), and how the missionaries that were air-dropped in with their supplies, understood and acccepted that they would never be returning home. They knew that this would be the end of the line for them. There would be no return pick-up. It was a self-sacrificing mission that they believed was their calling. I have no such illusions about myself. I am fully aware of just how far from grace I have fallen, and how easily – and readily – I take my eye off the prize and indulge my not better angels. The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. Because of this unadorned understanding about who I am, and my refusal to shy away from it, I have patiently explained to God that it would be in both of our best interests that He never choose me to be a martyr for His name because we both know that I would betray and deny Him in a hot second, if it meant saving my own skin. St. Peter would have a run for his money in me… We are often not who we like to think we are, or who wish we were, or even who we have presented ourselves to be, but getting older allows us, not only the honesty to see ourselves as we truly are, but the understanding that ours is ultimately a simple task – humbly do the best we can do with where we’re at and who we are, while understanding that it’s God’s job to do the fine tuning.

So with that, I found this absolutely spot-on:

I sometimes ask students what their position on slavery would have been had they been white and living in the South before abolition. Guess what? They all would have been abolitionists! They all would have bravely spoken out against slavery, and worked tirelessly against it.

Of course, this is nonsense. Only the tiniest fraction of them, or of any of us, would have spoken up against slavery or lifted a finger to free the slaves. Most of them—and us—would have gone along. Many would have supported the slave system and happily benefited from it.

So I respond by saying that I will credit their claims if they can show evidence of the following: that in leading their lives today they have stood up for the rights of unpopular victims of injustice whose very humanity is denied, and where they have done so knowing:

(1) that it would make them unpopular with their peers,
(2) that they would be loathed and ridiculed by powerful, influential individuals and institutions in our society;
(3) that they would be abandoned by many of their friends,
(4) that they would be called nasty names, and
(5) that they would risk being denied valuable professional opportunities as a result of their moral witness. In short, my challenge is to show where they have at risk to themselves and their futures stood up for a cause that is unpopular in elite sectors of our culture today.

It’s easy to run to the rescue when nothing you value is at stake. It’s a whole different ballgame when everything you value is at stake.

–Dana

34 Responses to “A Few Thoughts On The Test Of Who We Really Are”

  1. Heh. Age brings its own gifts, unavailable in youth.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  2. Which of the teacher’s students deserves a statue?

    Leviticus (823118)

  3. I love this post, Dana.

    Dustin (739c8b)

  4. I sometimes ask students what their position on slavery would have been had they been white and living in the South before abolition. Guess what? They all would have been abolitionists! They all would have bravely spoken out against slavery, and worked tirelessly against it.

    Of course, this is nonsense.

    If born in a place without slavery, and well off, they would have kept quiet and left the south, perhaps sneaking their slaves out with them if they had any. I mean, after 1832.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  5. Thanks, Dustin, I really appreciate that.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  6. Nearest thing today is someone in Hollywood coming out as a Republican

    Rick Wahler (bec1ce)

  7. Shorter; who ‘we’ really are?

    Apollo 11.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  8. Rick Wahler (bec1ce) — 7/2/2020 @ 4:14 pm

    Nearest thing today is someone in Hollywood coming out as a Republican

    http://www.seraphicpress.com

    A Hollywood screenwriter.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  9. And if the teacher asked the same students if they, as a rookie cop, would’ve stopped Chauvin….

    beer ‘n pretzels (b27f61)

  10. If youth knew, if age could. Speaking personally, after a certain age, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” means something entirely different.

    nk (1d9030)

  11. Youth’s, the heroes of the story that are going to Covid parties, to get sick, the first one gets a prize.

    Of course, there’s quite a lot of people who somehow believe that putting on a face mask when they get out of the car is somehow taking away their freedom, something less troublesome than putting on socks. Do socks take away your freedom.

    Get rid of the lock down (that was working) to save the economy, but to keep from locking down again, wear a mask and we don’t have to. Nah.

    Signing up to fight for someone else’s freedom is way more hassle than wearing a mask, and many American’s can’t do that, some would, but most would just tweet meme’s at the meanies.

    Me, I’m a hero. I took 3 seconds to put on a mask when I picked up my burrito, washed my hands afterwards too.

    Everyone can be a hero, with as little as 1 minute of effort a day, you don’t even have to stop what you’re doing.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  12. R.I.P. Hugh Downs

    Broadcasting legend; spaceflight advocate.

    Ad Astra, Hugh; fade to black.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  13. Yes you knuckle under to the State, which uses bad science you appease radical terrorists who mean to erase every aspect about America who have vandalized churches and monuments we know who you are.

    Narciso (7404b5)

  14. Yes you knuckle under to the State, which uses bad science you appease radical terrorists who mean to erase every aspect about America who have vandalized churches and monuments we know who you are.

    Who is this we you’re talking about, you gotta mouse in your pocket?

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  15. I didnt think id have to point this here of all places, but some have short memories, why is the real source of this contagion of lawlessness not pointed out.?

    Narciso (7404b5)

  16. Darren bailey is someone whose head is raised up,

    Narciso (7404b5)

  17. When you elect a moron who cannot raise a glass of water to his mouth to give the finger to half the country, “this contagion of lawlessness” is the least you should expect. Couldn’t you at least have elected a competent goon?

    nk (1d9030)

  18. Thats all I do is support unpopular causes. Try building an anti war peace park in arizona like I tried to do or when the city of mesa voted down the dr. king holliday and I was putting up signs at the mesa border welcoming people to racist mormon mesa with the cops trying to hunt me down to stop me putting up my signs. When most northern abolitionist including abraham lincoln and fredrick douglas were to afraid to end slavery Captain john brown of kansas said you won’t! I will! When capt. brown asked frederick douglass to join him in ending slavery and told him If not me who If not now when? Fredrick dougals answered who me? Now? I was always better at running then fighting. Later fredrick douglas said I could live to free the slave ;but a white man john brown could die to free the slaves. 150 years later on civil war stamps they had everybody john brown as they are still scared of him today! Harriet tubman wanted to ride with john brown but was forcibly restrained from going by her friends.

    asset (fc6f26)

  19. https://westernaloha.com
    Save the Hawaiian Shirt
    Great company, great owner – retired from being an attorney.
    I turned a 1950’s horse trailer into a pop-up show room for his merchandise on the Big Island.
    Save the Hawaiian Shirt, spend your clients dough.

    mg (8cbc69)

  20. Made in El Paso Texas with fabulous cloth.

    mg (8cbc69)

  21. The students’ response is the very definition of “virtue signaling,” an act which requires absolutely no real virtue at all, just a claim to virtue because of the opinions one holds. To be a virtue signaler, you don’t need to be a Mother Teresa, you don’t need to make any sacrifices, you don’t need to inconvenience yourself at all. All you need to do is to have “virtuous” opinions, and constantly remind everyone how virtuous your opinions are. Take a look, for instance, at the Hollywood celebrities with the enormous carbon footprints who are the most vocal advocates of measures to control climate change.

    Roger (092148)

  22. Ask a puerile question, get a puerile answer. The kids are alright, it’s the teacher who is low IQ, pseudo-intellectual, virtue-signalling bully.

    I sometimes ask students what their position on slavery would have been had they been white and living in the South before abolition.

    Slavery would not have existed where people did not want it in the first place. In fact, it did not exist where people had not wanted it in the first place or had decided that they no longer wanted it.

    nk (1d9030)

  23. Even the free states in 1789 were content to let it continue and agreed to enforce it nationwide with the fugitive slave clause in the Constitution, as long as their political power was protected by the 3/5ths of a person clause.

    nk (1d9030)

  24. There was a more recent test of who we really are:

    CNN
    @CNN
    ·
    A surprising new study found that the controversial antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine helped Covid-19 patients better survive in the hospital.

    https://cnn.it/3ik1CSy
    __ _

    harkin (5af287)

  25. we do remember why they called the triangular trade, it was the export of the ashanti and songhai chieftains, and they bought the rum for it, the brits got the cotton out of the deal, now jim crow seems an artificial imposition,

    narciso (7404b5)

  26. that is a striking level of scientific malpractice, perpetuated by the lancet, and the nejm, its like we’ve gone back to leaches and humors,

    narciso (7404b5)

  27. why is the real source of this contagion of lawlessness not pointed out

    Don’t leave me in suspense, name names already.

    Paul Montagu (164229)

  28. Another good question would be to ask how many of the students are involved in anti-slavery organizations today, even contributing money to abolitionist organizations like International Justice Mission. You don’t have to live before the Civil War in order to experience a world full of slavery.

    Another James (0912e8)

  29. Classes like those, at places like Princeton, are employment filters. This one, for instance, would look good on your transcripts if you were applying for a job with an NGO or political action group. It would probably take you out of consideration for a job at a white shoe law firm, where they want reality-based, practical people.

    nk (1d9030)

  30. remember they would ban baden powell, even though he was an antislavery crusader, and probably charles ‘chinese’ gordon’ you can alway be too stupid,

    narciso (7404b5)

  31. @19-
    Not at those prices.

    Rip Murdock (cbe514)

  32. Diamonds are not for everyone, Rip.
    One great thing about the Hawaiian shirt is it hides excess fat and it is useful in concealing you know what.

    mg (8cbc69)

  33. Entrepreneur Paul Graham had a thought-provoking 2004 essay on “What You Can’t Say“:

    Let’s start with a test: Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers?
    If the answer is no, you might want to stop and think about that. If everything you believe is something you’re supposed to believe, could that possibly be a coincidence? Odds are it isn’t. Odds are you just think what you’re told.

    To launch a taboo, a group has to be poised halfway between weakness and power. A confident group doesn’t need taboos to protect it. It’s not considered improper to make disparaging remarks about Americans, or the English. And yet a group has to be powerful enough to enforce a taboo. Coprophiles, as of this writing, don’t seem to be numerous or energetic enough to have had their interests promoted to a lifestyle.

    I suspect the biggest source of moral taboos will turn out to be power struggles in which one side only barely has the upper hand. That’s where you’ll find a group powerful enough to enforce taboos, but weak enough to need them.

    Criticas (4f9b0b)


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