Arrogance as a Social Norm

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.

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  • Scalia

    Hi, DJ. Please reproduce your rebuttal here. I’d like to read it. Thanks, in advance.

    • DJD60_TX

      Given the nature of the topic, I think it would stand better as its own article. I plan to post it tonight, and unlike this one I think I will use logic and some critical thought.

  • jim_m

    How you respect the opinions someone else expresses, however, has everything to do with the validity of your own opinion.

    No. It has nothing to do with the validity of your opinion. Your opinion, if based on rational interpretation of the facts, stands on its own merits. If you choose to be a jerk that is a separate issue. You may argue that people may choose to take your opinion less seriously since you do not engage in discussion, but it still does not mean that your opinion is wrong, which is what you imply.

    For instance: A person can have great respect for people who believe that man landed on the moon, that does not mean that their opinion that the moon landings were faked has greater validity than if they did not have that respect. Your statement is demonstrably false.

    • DJD60_TX

      You are wrong. Disrespecting a person invalidates the opinion of the troll. Always has, always will.

      • jim_m

        You mistake people taking someone’s opinions seriously for those opinions being valid. There is a difference.

        Are you really claiming that the moon landing was faked and/or that the belief that it was faked is a valid one? Seriously?

      • Scalia

        First, I went over to McLaughlin’s blog and asked him why he deleted your post.

        Second, I’ll have to agree with Jim here. The validity of a person’s opinion stands or falls on its own merit. It has nothing to do with that person’s respect for the opinions of others.

        Disrespecting a person invalidates the opinion of the troll.

        DJ, that’s a very obvious logical fallacy.

        • jim_m

          Actually, after further consideration I like this idea. s long as I am respectful of other people’s opinions they have to accept my opinion as valid.

          So therefore:
          The Civil War was fought over the right to make tapioca
          Native Americans are actually zombies and that is why they were moved to reservations
          Abraham Lincoln really was a vampire hunter
          Michael Jackson’s death was faked and he had miraculous plastic surgery to restore his original looks

          This could be a lot of fun, and DJ will be right there supporting every bat shit crazy idea someone posts.

          • DJD60_TX

            I changed my mind. Maybe jim m can manage an effort at courtesy now?

          • jim_m

            Where warranted, yes. And my last sentence is not an insult to you. It is an insult to the opinions. Your support is pledged to them without critical thought and is theirs for the taking.

            I would still like to see your justification for claiming that good argument is rendered false based on your perception of insult and that bad argument is rendered true based on respect for the audience. While receptivity is certainly affected, truth is a constant that remains irrespective of how it is delivered.

            Jesus delivered truth when He spoke the beatitudes as well as when He drove the money changers from the temple. One audience liked it a great deal, the other not so much.

          • DJD60_TX

            Your notions are certain valid within the context you presented, jim. Accurate they are not, and amusing only to a certain extent, but they are indeed valid.

            Oh wait, you threw in a personal insult at the end. That of course invalidates your ideas. Too bad, you had something going for a while … sort of.

        • DJD60_TX

          I stand corrected. Should have known better than to post after only a brief consideration of the notion.

          • Scalia

            Thanks, DJ. Mr. McLaughlin replied thusly:

            I didn’t delete it. I’m not an admin or moderator, and as far as I can tell I don’t even have the ability to delete a response.

            Please see my reply to him. Also, if you would be so kind as to disabuse readers on the other blog, I would be much obliged.

            So, it would seem that an explanation should be sought from one of their admins on their moderation standards.

          • Scalia

            Another update from McLaughlin:

            Thanks Scalia.

            I touched base with an admin. Apparently some older posts were deleted during a recent update of the site. But that shouldn’t have affected comments from yesterday and today. (I posted a response twice today. Both times it disappeared. I broke it into shorter chunks and it seems to be holding now). At any rate, the tech rep. wasn’t sure why this would happen. At this point, I’m wondering if the length of the posts were somehow causing an issue (both DJ’s post and mine were quite lengthy).

  • pennywit

    Are there examples of arrogance on your side of the political aisle?

    • DJD60_TX

      Of course, but there is no constructive purpose to opening that broad avenue, since there are so many on every side who fit that bill.

      • pennywit

        I ask because, aside from the United CEO, you mostly cite liberal activists for arrogance.

        • Scalia

          Skimming the various popular conservative blogs will yield many examples of conservative arrogance. A rabid Trump supporter over at Newsmax “blocked” me because I had the temerity of pointing out that Trump’s admission to his wife on election night that the race was probably lost could not be reconciled with his post-election statements that he knew he would win. I was too liberal for her taste.

          For anybody higher up, do you have anybody in mind?

          • pennywit

            Not off the top of my head, no. I’ve simply found (on both sides of the aisle) a distressing tendency to assign as many negative traits as possible (arrogant, narcissist, smelly, used-car salesman, PIttsburgh PIrates fan) to the other side.


    “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.”

    See Graves, Rodney G.

    • DJD60_TX

      Thanks Rodney, I saw it. What’s funny is the number of comments dropped by forty between the time I made my comment and the time I went back, so the good doctor took a lawnmower to the comments section. Oddly enough, some dissents he left, probably because they were only opinion or he though they could be rebutted.

    • FO&D

  • pennywit

    No. Liberals are the bestest bestest people in the world. And anybody who says differently is a big meanie!!

  • jim_m

    As flawed as your premise may be in this instance(and this article is by far the exception and not the rule), your posting of an article is most welcome and we all hope to see more of them.

    • Scalia

      I’ll second that!

      • jim_m

        Well, it’s only my opinion, and since I am frequently rude to others my opinions are all false as DJ has argued. So the reality is that no one wants to see another article from him.

        …Or is it that this opinion is false and people do want him ? It’s so hard to tell truth from falsity now that DJ has dispensed with any rational method for determining them. I’m so confused. 😉

        • DJD60_TX

          With enough coffee, all becomes clear.


          • jim_m

            Yep. That’s what the guys down in the urinalysis lab tell me.