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The Relationship Between People & Ideas

This starts out as one more comment on James Gunn but it’s not about him. He’s just the starting point. I’ve said before that I feel it’s up to Disney to fire him. I’ve said that I do understand why they would. I’ve also said that what we make of all this is really a matter of who we believe. What I haven’t said is how I would feel if Disney hired him back. Before I get to that I will say that I’m sure there will be those who don’t agree with me. Some may even feel I’m doing something wrong. How would I feel if they hired him back? Just fine and even a little glad. I’ve never been one to shun someone because of their politics or past. I understand why some would but I just don’t. For example I know people who won’t listen to a song by Elton John because he’s gay and they believe that is a sin and by listening to him they are somehow complicit in his sin. It’s very similar to the thought process of the bakers who won’t bake a cake.

Hear no Oscar, See no Oscar, Speak no Oscar

There are limits to my tolerance but generally speaking I divorce the art from the artist.

I honestly feel that if I didn’t I would never watch a movie or listen to a song or read a book. These are three of my great loves and I am not willing to give them up because I don’t agree with the politics or behaviors of the artist. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that James Gunn really is a pedophile. I don’t believe that I condone that, permit it, or promote it, by watching a movie he directed. If I pay money to see one of his movies I’m saying I want more of that kind of movie not more of the behavior he engages in that isn’t associated with the movie itself.

I think if we run around only doing business with those people we totally agree with we just create silly little islands of thought and business. The whole world can’t be an Amish community. Take a place like China Town in San Francisco, a place I love to visit. Chinese immigrants gathered with each other because of their shared language and culture but the neighborhood thrives because of the tourists and visitors. If the Chinese only did business with each other they simply limit their own potential. It’s up to you if you want to do that but I don’t see the wisdom in it.

I admit it seems odd to think something like – “Jill is a terrible human being, but man she makes great doughnuts!” Denying myself of her great custard filled perfection isn’t going to make Jill a better human being. However, if I do visit her shop there’s at least a chance that I can rub off on her, or somehow persuade her to change her ways.

Persuasion takes time and effort and I think that it’s much easier for people to shun or force another to behave than it is to take the initiative. In the end it is worth it. We are never going to make those we disagree with agreeable by casting them aside. In all of this we each have our own limits. Perhaps it could be a limit in how much time you spend with such a person, what kind of activities you do with them, or if you would ever introduce them to your family. Sometimes just saying “hi” is all you have to give. Giving something though is the only way to make inroads with those you don’t agree with.

I see a tendency to dismiss others without even trying to talk to them.

It often takes the form of “can’t you see?” Meaning, they don’t understand why what they believe isn’t so easily understood, why it isn’t self-evident. Not everything we think is self-evident, is. That’s because people have so many ways of shutting out the obvious or true and replacing it with the convenient untruth. They can’t see and they will not see on their own. You’re efforts are needed.

Sometimes I see the tendency to dismiss just based on emotion. There is an anger out there. I understand this and think it is justified. The people I think need persuaded have some very terrible ideas. That alone isn’t so bad but the conclusion of their ideas is to take away your liberty and force you to do things you don’t want to do. Of course that is enough to make a person angry. That is enough to make a person retaliate. You see, they aren’t trying to change your mind. They don’t care what you think only what you do. If you comply, that is enough. But what our side wants is to make converts, true believers in liberty.

I hope that people can see that this is the real war – the war of minds and hearts. It’s an ancient war. The war that involves the body, the war of jails and blood is always short-lived. Even the longest lasting empires and dictatorships vanish into history. Yet there always remains behind the ideologies that forged them. It is time we pay attention to this long game rather than the here and now. The way to win is to teach. Start with teaching yourself, then teach your friends, then teach your children, then teach your enemies – the enemies of liberty.

You may not feel that this is your responsibility.

Again, I do understand why you would feel that way. They are ones that believe wrong things. They are the ones forcing others and wanting take over the laws to bend you to their will. Why on earth is it your responsibility to change their mind? The answer to that is simple – because you’re right.

Right will endure and you can too.

Sometimes, as distasteful as it might seem, we must dine with the sinners.

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