A couple days ago, I read Ryan McLaughlin’s poorly-argued post against the existence of Hell on Intellectual Takeout,
and posted a detailed rebuttal. Within hours, Dr. McLaughlin deleted my rebuttal, as well as other comments pointing out errors in his argument. It seems Dr. McLaughlin was arrogant enough to think that censorship was an appropriate tactic in a group dedicated to reasoned discourse. I thought about reposting my rebuttal, but for this post I think it more intriguing to consider how arrogance has become a common social norm.
Consider the continuing fallout over United Flight 3411. The incident has already become a textbook on how not to handle a customer service issue, but the real surprise is just how the CEO of United Airlines could be that clueless about how to speak on the matter. Mr. Munoz’s first release on the incident cited a rule which did not actually apply to the real circumstances, and he blamed Dr. Dao for everything. Within hours Mr. Munoz made things even worse with his memo to United employees. Only after the company lost a quarter-billion dollars did Mr. Munoz show even the first hint of contrition.
Given that he runs a company which bases its brand on a service reputation, it’s very difficult to see how Mr. Munoz did not understand the need to respect his customers. Yet at every turn, Mr. Munoz has failed in his primary duties. Only a fundamentally arrogant character explains this paradox.
Move on to sports. During the NFL season last year, back-up Quarterback Colin Kaepernick deliberately refused to stand during the national anthem at games. This political gesture gained a lot of attention and league support, even though Mr. Kaepernick didn’t even bother to vote. The NFL, in the same season, refused to allow the Dallas Cowboys franchise to honor the police officers murdered by snipers in July. This level of hypocrisy angered million of paying fans, yet the NFL refused to reconsider either stance. Arrogance as a social norm certainly seems to be in effect here again.
I won’t waste the time to address arrogance by political leaders. Every major candidate for every major office from every political party is arrogant, and has been for generations. I only mention that obvious fact here, because these arrogant asses keep getting elected. That surely would not be possible, except that the public has become accustomed to arrogant leaders as normal.
Consider the academic environment. In dozens of universities, speakers can be harassed and prevented from presenting speeches, just because a few dozen thugs demand the speaker be denied. Such arrogance has become common across the nation. But it’s not limited to students; there is no such thing as balance in opinion among professors, either. Just consider the issue of Climate Change – certainly there is reason for a debate on the issue, but none has taken place because activists present opinion, demand it be accepted as fact, to the point that they claim their opinion counts as “settled science”. It’s one thing for students to act and speak immaturely, but professors behave no better. Again, arrogance as normal.
The Internet, no surprise, has only fed gasoline to the fire. Not only do trolls wreck conversations out of sheer spite, pretty much regardless of the topic or perspective, but as I mentioned at the start of this article, even authors of posts sometimes deny any opinion or observation they dislike. Some very popular authors shut down any remarks that don’t support their own opinion. They remain popular, in part, because the arrogance of such behavior has become normal.
There will always be statements made, opinions expressed, that you personally dislike. How you respect the opinions someone else expresses, however, has everything to do with the validity of your own opinion.