Sometimes when I write something, I reflect back on it and I wind up hating it. Not because of the content so much (like yesterday's piece) it's because I hate preachy bastards. I have always hated preachy bastards. I too have been a preachy bastard- so I know the meme well. Preachers by my definition...
...are the people that express their opinion on how the world should operate- like it's some matter of fact that they themselves have decided long ago. There is no better place to view this serial ridiculousness than on a comment thread at Huffington Post. Preachy bastards really do think they are smarter and wiser than everyone else. They are sleepwalkers.
So I think there is a huge difference between preachy bastards and good stewards. It is fairly obvious. Good stewards rely on facts to support their views. Preachy bastards do not. That is the litmus test that I apply to something I read or something I write. Do the facts tend to support this? Has that been my experience? Or has somebody found an insight that I have missed?
This encapsulates the idea perfectly. “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informedopinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”
― Harlan Ellison
I have always tried to use facts to support my conclusions. Where facts are not readily available, I try to use my own personal experience and any insight that was made possible by my experiences. For example...
It is a fact that I stopped John McEnroe and Tatum O'Neill once for running a red light in Ketchum when I was a kid cop. I did not give him a ticket. He did not utter an un necessary word during the traffic stop. Those are facts. That is not some opinion I cooked up. What insight did I get? That Tatum O'Neill looked damn hot in that leopard leotard outfit that she had on and I didn't have a clue who she was at the time.
The point I am making is this. What I have stated is true. It happened. However, as you read this- you are trying to decide, either consciously or subconsciously, whether that really happened or not. Is the author credible? Good stewards are credible, preachers are not.
So we are not really required to buy in to some opinion or viewpoint simply because some preachy bastard rattles it off. You are not even required to believe facts. Yesterday, a preacher type with a hate agenda on Huffington Post, rattled off some lunacy about the Quran and how Mohammad supported the rape of women and other assorted atrocities over 200 times in the book. I tend to confront bullshit especially when it's malicious. I asked the guy to tell me which books in the Quran contained such references. Offer proof. Why? Because I have read the Quran and I knew he was full of shit. Of course, I got no reply.
I try to be a good steward here. Most of my pieces offer references and insight gleaned from true experiences. I have a bullshit detector that fires off continually based on my 24 or 25 years worth of listening to lies as a cop. Mostly I just let people get away with their little white lies, once in awhile I don't. Most of the blogs that I read are supported by facts and referenced. I use those insights to form opinions of my own or reach conclusions.
I have one preachy bastard on my blogroll and try as I might, I cannot figure out how to remove him.
Here is another fact. Obama and I are about the same age. While I was stating the Pledge of Allegiance each morning in the United States at age 8, Obama was studying Islam in Indonesia using the name of Barry Soetoro. When I was listening to my father broadcast our Vietnam war dead, the Indonesians had no body count. That is not an opinion.
Being a good steward means telling the truth. It means being personally responsible for what you say and write. I don't really care what people think about my efforts so long as it's the truth or reasonably close.
Yesterday, I ran afoul of my own personal standards. I lapsed into sleepwalking as I uttered my opinions on how the world should behave following the arrest of one 19 year old Chechen. I had no business doing that. I think we all make that same mistake from time to time, but I can only lay claim to my own preachiness. So I took the piece down. I shall leave you with one of those cutesy things that many of us see on Facebook. This one seems appropriate here.