Conroe, June 3 – Analysis and compassion should win over extremism and hatred. In our modern society where life moves quickly, communication is instantaneous, and millions of opinions change at the drop of a Tweet, we don’t have time any longer to talk with people. Your house may have a porch but you don’t take the time to sit on it with your neighbors and just talk.
We pay a dear price for the fundamental shift in American society that began with television in the 1960s, progressed to the personal computers and the Information Super Highway (an early name for the Internet) in the 1990s, and is now the world of iPhones and text messages in the 2010s. Our children don’t know how to communicate with other humans. Our adults don’t know how to do that either and certainly don’t have the time for it.
Most importantly, we’ve lost the method called analysis. Analysis is epistemological. We observe facts and deduce relationships from them in order to draw conclusions based upon the interaction of those relationships with each other. It’s a third-order mental process.
As post-World War II philosopher Ayn Rand predicted, however, western society would adopt a process she called the “jump.” The “jump” is taking intellectual shortcuts without having to follow the steps of analysis. Here are some examples of the “jump”:
- Republicans are conservative.
- Democrats are liberal.
- Winners of Republican primaries are conservative.
- A 5-member Republican Commissioners Court must be conservative.
- Being pro-environment is liberal.
- Being pro-law enforcement is Democrat.
- Being for Trump means you’re a conservative and a Republican.
- Anyone who opposes Trump is a liberal and a Democrat.
- Republicans should never speak with Democrats, and vice versa.
- If you speak with your political enemies, you are siding with them.
- Walking into a room with one of my political enemies or merely someone I don’t like means you are one of the “haters.”
We are a society of the “jump.” Look at the examples of the Davenports. The Golden Hammer has written four articles critical of the Davenports. That criticism is valid. The Davenports follow the “jump” entirely as outlined above. In the Davenports’ world, City Councilman Duane Ham walking into a room with someone the Davenports don’t like means that Ham “rolls with…the haters.” Publishing the threatening text message of Wayne Mack – ““You need to give your heart to Jesus. Because the rest of you belongs to Marc [Davenport] and he wants his reputation back” – to County employee Marie Moore whom Mack, the Davenports, and some of the Davenports’ other clients genuinely hate means that Moore and whoever re-published Mack’s disgusting text message to Moore must be “rolling with the haters.”
There’s no analysis. It’s just a “jump.” You hang with my enemy. You’re a “hater.” You only say nice things about me and never criticize me; you’re my “friend.”
It’s a lot more complex than that. Let’s take some examples.
Marc Davenport. There’s a lot to criticize with Davenport. He’s hateful and obsessive. He has no appreciation for the concept that elected officials work as public servants for the citizens. Davenport’s behavior shows that he’s not conservative or liberal. He’s pro-Davenport. He’s anti-competitor. Davenport demands fealty from the Sheriff, constables, justices of the peace, and police chiefs. If he tells you a lie, and you don’t believe him, you’re a hater. If you ask a mere question to one of his clients whether Davenport is posing as someone else, you lose all of your rights and privileges as a citizen who may communicate with his or her elected officials in a free society. But sorry, everybody, Marc Davenport is not all bad. He’s witty and intelligent. He’s often interesting. He’s had many interesting experiences during his 60 years on this planet. He can be thoughtful and considerate. He can be a lot of fun. Should that mean that the only proper biography about Davenport is hagiographic? Of course not. Marc Davenport makes a lot of mistakes. His public relations work is somewhat rough. He’s very self-centered. Gosh, he’s not perfect. Is he someone whom you shouldn’t shake hands with, treat with courtesy and respect, or show compassion, kindness, and love? No!
Wayne Mack. Wayne Mack moves like a pendulum between love and hate. Obviously, he’s got a lot of hatred towards Marie Moore and anyone who does not treat his small group of friends with complete adulation. Some people seem to want to criticize Mack because he wants to pray in his courtroom. Mack’s courtroom prayer, however, is harmless. It makes him feel better. It palpably makes him act as a good judge who shows comfort in his justice of the peace courtroom. It pulls him towards treating people with thoughtfulness, respect, and love. Whether you respect or like Mack as a politician, he’s usually a pretty thoughtful person when he wears a black robe as a justice of the peace. Where Mack loses his bearings is when he acts as a politician under Davenport’s direction. Showing up in other parts of the county to engage in threatening political parades during a County employee lunch meeting directed at an elected official who doesn’t “roll” with the Davenports, sending threatening text messages to his and Davenport’s enemies, appearing at lunch meetings to discourage and then threaten candidates running for office who have not hired Davenport are all bizarre behavior for a man who claims a deep reverence. When Mack acts that way, he’s not showing compassion, kindness, and love. He’s not showing the behavior which Christ described in the Sermon on the Mount. He’s acting like a political thug.
Craig Doyal. As readers of this newspaper know, The Golden Hammer views County Judge Doyal as someone who’s a deep disappointment. The Publisher of this newspaper supported Doyal for County Judge in 2014, both financially and with a vote. Doyal assured voters that he would cut County government spending. In fact, one of the videos made the subject of the “Video-Gate” scandal even contains Doyal’s assurance in that regard. Doyal has broken that promise repeatedly and in dramatic manners. Does that mean he’s absolutely without redeeming value? Oh come now. He’s got a remarkable public temperament even when his private one isn’t the same. He’s intelligent. He’s often circumspect. He can be a very nice person and show personal kindness.
Mirror. When the Publisher of The Golden Hammer looks in the mirror (if he can even find a fat enough mirror at the time), he sees a deeply-flawed individual on a personal mission to reduce government spending. This newspaper doesn’t contain enough gigabytes to list the Publisher’s flaws.
Regardless of an individual’s disagreement with one or past criticisms, there’s one almost guaranteed cure to every discord between two individuals: communication. Sitting down and talking with someone. That’s one of the greatly disturbing aspects of the Davenports and their group of toadies. The way they “roll,” to use the Davenports’ word, is that they don’t communicate with their critics intentionally. In other words, a large portion of the world is off-limits to them. They don’t benefit from conflicting ideas, challenging philosophies, or new concepts. They avoid them. That behavior is a major reason that the “inside the Beltway” crowd in Washington, D.C., does not function the way it did even during the 1980s and 1990s.
We should analyze people’s behavior. No one is always perfect or always evil. Duane Ham can do good even though 4 years ago he was the Texas Conservative Tea Party Coalition. Ham was instrumental in getting a lot of good done on the water issue. Has he made a lot of mistakes? Sure, he has. But, really, who hasn’t?
While it’s fair to criticize people who act in government, don’t vilify them forever just because they’ve made some mistakes. But don’t give them a pass on their mistakes just because they’ve done some good as well. Analyze their behavior and come to fair conclusions. Don’t resort to anti-epistemological “jumps.” Everyone has good qualities. Everyone makes mistakes.