Countering Orthodoxy: Top Ten Tips

People sometimes ask me what I am trying to achieve with this blog. Clearly I am not just posting material that fits my view of the world. I sometimes post material that I disagree with, or more often, think is only a partial take on reality, one way of looking at things. And I hope that what I post provokes dialogue, thought and counters orthodoxy. In recent years there has been a lot of orthodoxy around and so here are my top ten destructive orthodoxies to be going on with. And in posting them, I am not suggesting the opposite of the orthodoxies is true either; that would just be another orthodoxy. I am posting to challenge the orthodoxy in our collective discourse.

  1. There is such a thing as a free market and the economy is best left to its unfettered operation. All markets have structures, can be rigged and indeed our free market economy has been extensively rigged in the interests of the 1%.
  2. High inequality of income is unavoidable and helps wealth generation. The historical record suggests this is simply out of line with the data. As income inequality has increased, the economy has become less manageable, and real wealth generation has fallen away. Casino wealth generation thrives.
  3. Global warming is a uniform one way rise in average temperatures globally. I prefer the term climate change as what is happening is complex, overlain with short term variation and generating highly hard to predict feedback mechanisms, unfortunately for us, so far most positive feedback mechanisms that make things worse
  4. We can fix our unequal society just by changing tax rates and other re- distribution measures. I doubt this and think that we have to restructure the economy to make it more sustainable and to generate more real value add from activity and maybe decentralize/localize wealth creation and address income inequality that way as well.
  5. Religious faith requires unwavering belief in central tenets of the religion without doubt. Doubt to me is essential for any form of coming to terms with the world as we experience it
  6. The most important enemy is the internal one: liberals to conservatives and conservatives to liberals. Yeh right.
  7. The free market will take care of mineral and carbon fuel depletion. Yep and overturn the second law of thermodynamics in the process. Walk on water too.
  8. The checks and balances of the US constitution do not inevitably generate grid lock. No comment. 🙂
  9. Nuclear power is inherently dangerous and we must avoid using it. It has its risks but coal is already killing 70,000 people a year in the US and maybe a million a year world wide via lung disease.
  10. We can carry on with our existing means of handling conflict and all will be well. It will only cost us another 150 million war deaths after all….


About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict History, Conflict Humor, Conflict Processes, Environmental Conflict, Top Ten Conflict Tips from Great Thinkers, US Political Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Countering Orthodoxy: Top Ten Tips

  1. Kyrie Eleison says:

    In an effort to play devil’s advocate, so to speak, in regards to your cartoon and point #5:

    Becoming active with your religious principles to further a political goal is in and of itself contrary to the Christian mandate that we are supposed to keep ourselves separate from the world. This does not mean that we are supposed to live like hermits and not share our ideas with the rest of society. How you share your ideas makes a big difference, though.

    Instead of meeting directly with people, helping them and showing them how doing things a certain way will benefit them, some of us feel that forcing our ideas on others through legislation is the most effective strategy. In fact, it’s a very lazy thing to do and puts way too much trust in someone else to not mess things up. It also avoids the whole concept of leading by example. Without realizing it, they are allowing a corrupt system to co-opt their religious message on issues that are best dealt with separately from the state.

    Things like murder are harshly punished during times of peace (with the punishment a reflection of the crime in many cases), but are openly encouraged during times of war. Another point of contention is the use of drugs (including alcohol and tobacco). If a person is using them for pleasure’s sake only, then they are looked down upon or thrown in jail. Yet, if they are used to treat someone with an illness, or are a part of a religious ceremony, then it is perfectly acceptable to look the other way or even celebrate them. The practice of amassing more wealth than we will ever need to survive is another example. The scriptures are very clear about this topic, yet in our society people are admired for their wealth and are encouraged to struggle against one another to get even more.

    I could go on about the hypocrisy of our democracy.

    My point is, whenever I see some political leader citing their religious beliefs to support their stance on any particular topic, they immediately lose any credibility in my eyes. Any religious figure, group, or institution that endorses these politicians also lose any and all credibility with me as well. The very LAST thing I want to hear from any elected official is “God bless you.” Perhaps they should clarify which god they are referring to? Politicians are elected to handle the affairs of the state, not to speak for God. He can speak for himself just fine, thank you.

    Where are all the righteous people of this world: conservative, liberal, or otherwise, to rebuke them? Don’t be afraid of opposition or ridicule – speak the truth and allow them to mock their own alleged “faith”. By doing so they will expose themselves and what they really believe.

    Jesus made it a point to stay out of political theater (though he spared no vitriol and actively rebuked those in power at the time) and if a person believes in his message, it would be wise to follow his example. In this regard, I’d say many religious conservatives are being very unorthodox indeed whenever it suits them.

    “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” – Luke 16:13, Matthew 6:24 KJV

    • Kyrie. Thanks, very interesting and insightful response. I personally believe in line with your approach that the separation of Church and State is very sensible and is intended to protect the Church/religion as much as the state. Interestingly, in Iran the unification of State and Islam has massively discredited Islam and led to a significant crisis of faith on the part of many people. They see the corruption and inefficiency that is to some extent an inevitable part of any state and they now associate it with a very hard line, interfering Islam. Religion should be all means have moral views on issues, but avoid becoming the state. Interestingly, some very religious Jews in Israel don’t accept the state of Israel and think it blasphemous to think a state on earth can be fully religious. Your Luke and Matthew quotes are very pertinent. Thanks.

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