I’m on the mailing list for an email newsletter from a producer/food activist whose world view I largely detest because I feel it’s destructive to our industry and its long-term viability. So, the obvious question is why I bother to read it, perhaps even more faithfully than other publications I agree with?
The answer is threefold. I honestly hope to understand how anyone can be so passionate about a viewpoint that, from my perspective, is so obviously wrong. I also hope to learn how he ever reached such conclusions. And, finally, I’d like to learn how he shares his message so that I can more effectively shape a rebuttal.
Of course, that might raise a question about me – “Am I an ideologue and is that inherently wrong?”
Initially, I rationalized that the fundamental difference between us is that I’d never engage in the type of rhetoric or distortions of the facts that he employs in a bid to try to sway others. After all, his arguments have no basis in truth. It’s like he holds a certain set of beliefs so strongly that he’s willing to suspend logic and ignore any facts contrary to those beliefs.
One of his beliefs is that capitalism and big business have conspired against the normal citizen, and that the “establishment” is inherently evil. The greatest irony is perhaps that these people both see government as the problem and the solution.
That, of course, made me consider another hard question: Could I be so deluded by own core beliefs that I fail to see the forest for the trees or, worse yet, fail to even see the trees?
So I decided to sit down and reflect on what my core beliefs are. Here’s what I came up with:
- I believe in God. I can’t scientifically validate His existence but I see it in so many things and so many ways. I’ve experienced his love and forgiveness and have felt him move in my life and my heart.
- I believe in family. I may not be the perfect husband, the perfect father, or the perfect son or brother, but I know nothing is more important.
- I believe in the values that made America great – freedom, hard work, capitalism, free enterprise, opportunity and representative democracy. These values have enabled the U.S. – despite its shortcomings – to shape a better course for the world.
- I believe, as Zig Zilglar says, that you can achieve everything in life you want by helping enough other people get what they want in life.
- I believe that feeding God’s children is a noble and all-important calling.
I believe in the example set by my heroes: hard work, honesty, integrity. Though I’ve fallen short too many times to count, I’m committed to their example.
- I believe in both good and evil, but in the inherit goodness in most people.
- I believe in aiming high.
- I believe in unconditional love and forgiveness.
- I believe that everyone has a purpose and an obligation to fulfill it.