Quasi-Indefatigable Xenolith


Mistaking Advocacy for Agreement

I'm a seemingly interesting fellow, often hard to pin down. That's because I spend more time advocating for the desires of others and far less effort explaining how I might personally feel and modeling that. I don't spend much time trying to defend myself either and usually just say I am a bad person in order to redirect further talk to where it's more useful to go.

To be helpful, I will let you know that I am a "live and let live" Jeffersonian liberal with a pretty weak spine. For instance, you can be a drug-runner or human trafficker and I will likely just ignore that. In fact, I may suspect your evil work and still help you fix a flat tire or give you directions to your nefarious destination. God will figure out evil, so I don't need to get involved.

I know that society would collapse if everyone adopted my ways, so I am glad other people behave far more honorably to their beliefs. I am so glad for this that I will help them behave more authentically, no matter how inauthentic I might seem.

As another example, I want my wife's election votes to matter, so I vote the same way she does. I do this even though I have usually have other political ideas. I might try to influence her vote, but I will match her ultimate decision. I don't want to cancel out her vote - I want to double it. Bizzare, huh?

Here is a recent example.

I just told some folks that they needed to turn a bad parent into the authorities. Given what I said above, that's pretty inconsistent with my manner. To sound better, I am going to say that I was in my "advocate" mode, telling them quite forcefully that, given the attitude they seemed to have about what they had seen in someone's home previously, they should turn in the offender and that it should have happened months ago.

Do I think that is what I would do myself when faced with families in squalor? Gosh no. I have dealt with hundreds of questionable families as a missionary and a civil servant in the far past and I adopted an attitude of indifference that helped me survive what most likely would have proven to be horror stories. I've seen plenty of decent adults that come from bad families and homes, if I am searching for some lazy rationalization.

In relation to all of this, a defining moment for me came in college when I shadowed a social worker on a law enforcement welfare check and pulled kids out of a home with drugged parents. After that experience, I decided that social work wasn't for me and changed my coursework to go in another direction. I simply didn't care enough. I never became a do-gooder or some social justice warrior - I'm just not the type.

I think it is great that other people make great social workers and I encourage such people to enter that field. I just found out that I was not one of them. Also, there was no point in trying to become such a person - there are other things for which I am likely better suited.

That doesn't mean that I don't understand the driving attitude of those sorts of people or that I can't put myself in their shoes and actually help them do their work. I'm not there to get that obnoxious social justice warrior to change and become someone I would find more pleasant. Instead, I might help them be a more effective version of what they seem to want to become. It is a strange thing to do and I freely admit it - I advocate and help others to do things that I would never do myself and often find personally repugnant. I don't feel it is my mission to convert others to my attitudes about anything.

I told you I was a bad person.