Popularity often requires agreement. It’s easy to like people who hold the same opinions and values. It’s not really surprising, therefore, that many of us, in an effort to be liked, try to find a way to come to agreement with the people around us. And that’s where the trouble usually starts. There are two ways to form agreement:
1. Influence others toward our position, or
2. Simply embrace the positions of others
We can try to move them toward us, or we can simply move toward them. One of these strategies will ensure our likability but the other is the path to respect.
[…]We want our kids to influence others rather than allow their friends to influence them, don’t we? While it may be easy to embrace the beliefs of others to gain approval, we know the courageous path requires us to point others to the truth, even when it’s inconvenient or unpopular. It’s time for the Church to take this second path. We’ve spent far too much time trying to become like the world in order to win its acceptance, rather than having the moral courage to make the case for what we believe. Only this second way will win the respect of those around us. I want to hear people say, “Jim, I don’t agree with you at all, but I respect the fact that you’ve tried to be thoughtful about your position and you were kind to me along the way.” That’s the kind of reaction I’m looking for.
Recently, I had to make a hard choice about whether to agree with someone else, or tell her the truth. I found myself discussing education, career and finances with a young lady. I was telling her about the likely consequences of some of the choices that she was making that were related to one of the two areas that I actually know something about. (The other area is apologetics, and she already knows lots about that)
I gave her some advice based on my understanding of these things – from my experience. There was no doubt that when it came to these areas, I had more experience than she did, and more results to show for my past decisions in those areas. But I could feel her slipping away the more evidence I showed her. She preferred to listen to people who agreed with what her feelings were telling her. Eventually, I lost her. But there was nothing else I could do. I spoke the truth based on what I knew and experienced myself in those areas. I wouldn’t have given her advice in many other areas where she knew much more than I did – just in this one, where I actually knew what I was talking about.
Fortunately other young people do take my advice in those areas, and it does work out well for them. But for me to tell them what they don’t want to hear does take courage. And sometimes, you end up losing someone close who just doesn’t believe that you know what you are talking about. So I would say that telling the truth and pointing to evidence does not always get you respect for what you know about. It gives you a chance of being respected.
By the way, I could still be proven wrong with that lady I was advising. It’s happened before. I think I told her the truth, and I hope one day she will see that.
After a Friday-Saturday meeting with more than 150 leaders and representatives of evangelical, pro-family and pro-life groups, the organizations have declared consensus support for Rick Santorum’s Republican presidential campaign.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council and a participant in last night’s private meeting, addressed a press conference call today to provide additional information about the decision and expected endorsements from some of those attending.
Perkins said the leaders of the evangelical groups came to the meeting each supporting the various different GOP candidates seeking to replace pro-abortion President Barack Obama. Participants engaged in a question and answer session with representatives of each of the campaigns, except for former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who did not send a spokesman to the event.
After the session, the leaders discussed the presidential race amongst themselves and then undertook a three-round ballot process. Perkins said the discussion culminated in an agreement that the groups and leaders each have “an overriding passion and desire to defeat Barack Obama” this November. Although the leaders of the various organizations strongly support various candidates, they eventually decided to support Santorum.
“I think it was vigorous discussion of who they felt best represented the conservative movement and who they think had the best chance of succeeding,” he said, but adding that there would not be a “coordinated effort” amongst the groups and leaders to endorse Santorum.
“There is a hope and expectation that those represented by the constituency will make a difference in South Carolina,” he said, adding that some in attendance threw their support behind Santorum to avoid having a repeat of 2008 where conservative candidates split the vote.
Perkins indicated Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry but only Gingrich and Santorum made the final ballot. There were 114 votes on the final ballot, as some leaders had to catch returning flights home, and Santorum emerged with a majority (85) of those voting, the FRC president said.
[…]The names and groups participating were not released, but Perkins mentioned former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer as another organizer of the private meeting. He said the names of organizations and leaders participating will become public as they begin making endorsements.
Bauer has already endorsed Santorum. I agree that Gingrich is definitely the runner-up, and would be a fine choice for conservatives, but Santorum really is the best overall. My biggest concern about this is how younger evangelicals are so apathetic when it comes to politics and have no idea how to think carefully about things like free market capitalism, abortion, marriage and peace through strength. The young evangelicals are largely illiterate, making their decisions based on emotions and intuitions, because they think that Christianity is about being “nice” so that more people like them. Oh well.
What I find interesting is when even moderate conservative bloggers – ones who are not evangelical – are beginning to notice that there is an integrity argument for Rick Santorum.
Look at this comment from Jeff Goldstein – he’s replying to some Ron Paul person, I guess:
We’ve talked at length about this here, so if you haven’t already done so, I’d say go back and look at the various riffs on how Santorum’s ideas of family as the unit of individual autonomy is tied to his Catholicism / Thomism. Also, how family communitarianism is not at all like collectivism.
My own belief — and James Pethokoukis took this up, as well (I believe I did a post on it), is that Santorum is reacting in the excerpt on individualism you cite, to the Objectivists — those whose ideological foundation is Rand. That is, the libertarians. You may disagree with Santorum — and there’s plenty of room to do so — but it does no good to caricature the belief. Santorum is not a collectivist. And his ideas about the family — and government’s role in nurturing that unit — amount to things like increased tax credits for producing new citizens, or increased credit for charitable giving, so that charity is taken away from the state.
And he tries to balance his own views with the constraints placed on elected officials by the Constitution, which for Santorum includes the 9th and 10th Amendments.
These are often difficult waters to traverse. But with Santorum, he tells you what he thinks and believes. For me, that’s a net positive.
Romney mouths platitudes about limited government, and yet it’s clear he doesn’t believe a word of it. Santorum believes in a social safety net for the truly disadvantaged and indigent, but he tempers that with an animus toward those who would game the system — and toward programs that have the net impact of institutionalizing dependence on government.
What I liked about Cain — he didn’t have all the answers, because he hasn’t studied every question — I like about Santorum. You can see his thinking. He shows his work.
Also, BMoe, I think it pretty obvious by now I’m not a social conservative. I’m just far less bothered by them then I used to be back when I was given to accepting the caricature of such creatures.
Nowadays I see that it is the “liberal” secularists who are far more dangerous, because their God is the State, and they therefore serve their God by granting that ever more power comes from the State.
The religious folk simply want the state to leave them the f**k alone, often times. And me and my spaghetti bulbs tend to commiserate.
I think that’s right. I am not thrilled with Santorum’s blue-collar worker economic plan. I’m an investor and a white collar software engineer. I’m chaste and have no children and no plans to marry, so Santorum’s tripling of the tax deduction for children won’t help me. But what is appealing about the man is his vision: he wants more working families and he wants them to face less financial pressure if they have more children, and more choice in education. I get that. It’s not applicable to me, but I get it. I get what his vision is.
Rick Santorum at the Values Voters Summit
Here’s a 3-part speech by Rick Santorum at the Family Research Council:
The Family Research Council is my third favorite think tank, behind the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
Telecom executive Donald H. Gips raised a big bundle of cash to help finance his friend Barack Obama’s run for the presidency.
Gips, a vice president of Colorado-based Level 3 Communications, delivered more than $500,000 in contributions for the Obama war chest, while two other company executives collected at least $150,000 more.
After the election, Gips was put in charge of hiring in the Obama White House, helping to place loyalists and fundraisers in many key positions. Then, in mid-2009, Obama named him ambassador to South Africa. Meanwhile, Level 3 Communications, in which Gips retained stock, received millions of dollars of government stimulus contracts for broadband projects in six states — though Gips said he had been “completely unaware” that the company had received the contracts.
More than two years after Obama took office vowing to banish “special interests” from his administration, nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events, an investigation by iWatch News has found.
These “bundlers” raised at least $50,000 — and sometimes more than $500,000 — in campaign donations for Obama’s campaign. Many of those in the “Class of 2008” are now being asked to bundle contributions for Obama’s reelection, an effort that could cost $1 billion.
As a candidate, Obama spoke passionately about diminishing the clout of moneyed interests. Kicking off his presidential run on Feb. 10, 2007, he blasted “the cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests,” who had “turned our government into a game only they can afford to play.”
“We’re here today to take it back,” he said.
Say one thing in public, and do the opposite in private. Don’t believe the words of a candidate in their stump speeches. Look at their voting record, and their legislative initiatives, and their ratings from non-partisan organizations, such as the Club For Growth, Citizens Against Government Waste, and the National Taxpayer’s Union. Don’t vote based on pleasant sounding words and pleasant appearances, do the research.
This article is from the ultra-left-wing Salon.com. (H/T Mary)
Basically, it’s written by a crazy left-wing liberal Democrat woman, and she explains what she thinks about her conservative Republican friend, and why. I think that conservatives (and Christians) can learn a lot from this article. Aside from the obvious point about how conservatives should make friends with liberals, here are four points I want to emphasize. Point one: liberals respect study, intelligence and academic credentials. Point two: Liberals remember when conservatives treat them nicely. Point three: liberals think that you don’t believe what you say you believe unless they see you professing what you believe openly and confidently in front of liberals. Point four: talking to liberals intelligently and explaining why you believe what you believe with the authority of public square knowledge creates tolerance and respect for conservative ideas.
In the beginning, it didn’t matter. We were more concerned with our own mutual war on body fat. And we soon found on the periphery of weight loss the other things we had in common: a love of books and science, a hatred of hysterics.
[…]She believes what she’s telling me, and she’s studied the issues. That might be what is so difficult: She has the same education as I have, and yet she has made different decisions, decisions that are so counter to what I believe. Decisions I find abhorrent.
[…]Janet’s willingness to associate with so many liberal friends — though I know she seeks refuge in chat rooms and magazines that share her beliefs — makes her a better and more interesting person. She has her beliefs challenged constantly. She is more well-read and educated in her politics than most of the liberals I know. Too many liberals I know are lazy, they have a belief system that consists of making fun of Glenn Beck and watching “The Daily Show.”
Then I remember the things that don’t get discussed in our debates — how she held my hand through a recent surgical procedure, rubbing it and distracting me the way a mother would, how she calms my fears about parenting, how she has been a family to me in a town where I have none. How that right-wing, gun-loving, flag-wearing, union-busting Republican still thinks, after all this time, and with so much information to the contrary, that I can lose and keep off weight.
Her daughters’ names are Liberty, Honor and Victory, the latter named at the time we invaded Iraq. (Her son’s name, inexplicably, is Bernard.) She owns a bust of Ronald Reagan and cried when he died, proving that she, perhaps alone with Nancy, had remembered that he was still alive. There is a bumper sticker on her very, very large SUV that says “REPEAL,” and I believe it refers to the healthcare bill.
…I think having a Republican friend is making me a better liberal. We need friends who differ from us. It’s easy to watch Republican extremism and think, “Wow, they’re crazy.” But when someone is sitting face to face with us, when someone we admire and respect is telling us they believe differently, it is at this fine point that we find nuance, and we begin to understand exactly how we got to this point in history. We lose something critical when we surround ourselves with people who agree with us all the time. We lose out on the wisdom of seeing the other side.
I recommend you read the whole thing. It’s really encouraging to hear the liberal valuing the differences of her conservative friend, and recognizing how having sincere, intelligent people on the other side makes her more articulate and informed about the liberal views that she believes.
And when I tell you all to emphasize raising children who will be intelligent, effective and influential, this is why. Leftists respect intelligence and conviction. The reason why they try to suppress us is because they think we are stupid, that we don’t really have reasons for what we believe – but just inherited it from our parents. It’s up to us to study these issues and debate with skill when the opportunity arises.
Gateway Pundit found this statement by House Majority Leader John Boehner. He’s telling Obama that he can’t have the credit card until he starts paying his bills.
Washington (Jan 6) House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the debt limit:
“I’ve been notified that the Obama Administration intends to formally request an increase in the debt limit. The American people will not stand for such an increase unless it is accompanied by meaningful action by the President and Congress to cut spending and end the job-killing spending binge in Washington. While America cannot default on its debt, we also cannot continue to borrow recklessly, dig ourselves deeper into this hole, and mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren. Spending cuts – and reforming a broken budget process – are top priorities for the American people and for the new majority in the House this year, and it is essential that the President and Democrats in Congress work with us in that effort.”
So he’s serious about cutting the spending. I saw him taking questions from reporters and he certainly seemed determined to keep his promises. That’s all he was telling the reporters – about how he was going to keep his promises that got the Republicans elected.
A group of House Republicans introduced a bill on Wednesday to rein in the various “czars” in the Obama administration.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and 28 other House Republicans introduced legislation to do away with the informal, paid advisers President Obama has employed over the past two years.
The legislation, which was introduced in the last Congress but was not allowed to advance under Democratic control, would do away with the 39 czars Obama has employed during his administration.
The bill defines a czar as “a head of any task force, council, policy office within the Executive Office of the President, or similar office established by or at the direction of the President” who is appointed to a position that would otherwise require Senate confirmation.
Today marked the swearing in of what some, including pro-life Representative Chris Smith, have labeled the “most pro-life” congress in living memory, and possibly even in history.
Ninety-four new House members were sworn in, as well as 13 new senators. Republicans now hold a 242-193 majority in the House, while Democrats hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate.
Besides the overall shift from Democrat to Republican majority in the House, one of the more dramatic changes is the replacement of Nancy Pelosi, a radical abortion supporter, with the staunch pro-life advocate Rep. John Boehner as Speaker of the House.
Boehner has a long pro-life history, enjoying a 0% pro-choice voting record from the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) and a 100% pro-life voting record from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).
Americans United for Life President and CEO Charmaine Yoest today welcomed the new Congress, saying in a statement: “I predict that we will see changes in President Obama’s pro-abortion health care plan and in other pro-life measures as a result of pro-life leadership taking their places in Washington, D.C. today.”
In his opening speech to the House Boehner promised that that the Republican majority would honor their “Pledge to America,” a document outlining the GOP’s agenda that included a section pledging to eliminate federal funding of abortion. The preamble of the “Pledge” states, “We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.”