James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Our Arrogance

with one comment

I learned a lesson today (in a different context) about arrogance. I think I’ve known it all along, but now I have the words to describe it. As libertarians and Jews, we tend to be arrogant. We believe that we know the truth and that others who hold conflicting beliefs are wrong. (My arrogance goes beyond by politial and religious views, but that is a unique problem.) However, no matter how arrogant we actually are, that does not mean that we should always act consistent with such belief.

By acting according to the presumption that we might be wrong about even our most fundamental beliefs, we have much to gain. First, and perhaps most importantly, we do not alienate those with other views. Libertarians, Jews, and particularly libertarian Jews do not need enemies. Second, threats to our viewpoints should always be received as opportunities for encouraging others to examine our views and how their views might be compatable with ours. At the very least, they should be perceived as opportunies to explain why our views are not threatening to others.

Part of the beauty that libertarianism and Judaism share is that they are fundamentally tolerant. Libertarianism permits even the politically and morally incorrect to do with themselves as they wish. While Judaism maintains the choseness of the Jewish people, it recognizes an important moral role for non-Jews and recognizes that non-Jews have a share in the world to come. It is because of the fundamental liberalism and tolerance of these perspectives that libertarian Jews can be arrogant in believing we are uniquely gifted with the truth while behaving in a way that tolerates the errant views of others.

As an aside, if you do not share either my political and religious beliefs, I sincerely hope that you are similarly arrogant. You should hold your views because you believe they are true and that conflicting views are false. This is the arrogance any person should have if they believe in the objective truth, even if that person has not yet fully grasped such truth. We can be arrogant about our views, and still at some future point in time acknowledge that they are wrong. After all, we have all changed our views from time to time, all the while believing that the views we held at any particular moment were the correct ones.


Written by JamesEJ

Thursday, December 16, 2004 at 11:55 am

Posted in other

One Response

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  1. Your analysis is provide me a vey unique perspective….


    Sunday, January 2, 2005 at 5:07 pm

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