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People Who Are The Most Deeply Committed To An Idea Or Policy Are Also The Most Critical Of It.



Prompt:

People who are the most deeply committed to an idea or policy are also the most critical of it.



Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.



At first sight, the claim that people who are deeply committed to an idea or policy are also the most critical of it sounds paradoxical. Why some people criticize an idea or a policy which they bolster or believe? However, after some ponderings, I notice that although such statement might not apply to those policymakers, politicians, social activists or religious leaders, it does hold true in two circumstances.



The first circumstance which could rationalize the paradox of the claim is that people who are in pursuit of the pure truth, in many cases, are the most critical of an idea which they support. Those people hope that a theory which they bolster could hold true in all circumstances. If it is not the case, they equally hope to delineate the boundary within which an idea could be true. In order to achieve those objectives, people have to keep doubting their beliefs, to constantly question those ideas in all circumstances, and to welcome all kinds of criticism. In our contemporary society, many modest and open mind scientists are this kind of people. They welcome all kinds of questions and criticisms toward their works. They believe that from those criticisms, they might find out what they missed in their original researches. They also believe that those critics are in fact contributing to their pursuit of truths.



Another way to explain the paradox is that people, who are most committed to an idea, in many cases, are also ones who have most knowledge in the domain. Since they are experts in their domains, it is easier for them to notice the pros and cons of an idea or a policy. For example, the Father of the Nuclear weapon, Edward Teller, was also a steadfast opponent of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Nobody doubts his passion on the development of this weapon in order to defeat Japanese in the Second World War. However, since he knew more than anyone else about the devastating results of the use of nuclear weapons as well as the potential colossal dangers of the proliferation of those weapons, his knowledge shaped his critical attitude toward the development and deployment of nuclear weapons.



However, such claim obviously does not apply to the policymakers while most people hope that they could be a little more self-critical about the policies they made. Due to the nature of the politics, they would blindly support their policies rather than to be a little more self-critical. Politics, in the nature, is about the power struggle. In order to gain power, one politician has to try his best to convince as many people as possible, including his or her electorates or allies. Being critical of his or her policies amounts to helping opponents and therefore any reasonable politician would not do that. Imagine that if one day President Obama suddenly reveals that his health bill might put heavy strains on the budget, one thing that republicans are fiercely attacking, he will just commit a political suicide. Therefore, a politician has no choice but to stand steadfast behind the policies advocated by his parties and tries to defend them in any cases.



Such claims could not apply to social movement activists as well as religious leaders either. These people are committed to an idea not because they hope to find in which cases their beliefs are true, but because they are convinced that their beliefs are true. They are not searching for an occasion to validate their belief. They are looking for all chances to promulgate their beliefs. If a church leader never has doubts on the existence of God, he needs to promulgate his beliefs to influence others. Martin Luther King had never doubt about his dream. He tried to convince most people to join in order to realize such dream. Lenin never questioned whether a communist society is just an illusion. He depicted it as something plausible. Due to their deep beliefs, they would not be critical toward their ideas.



To sum up, it would be too absolute to say that any people who are committed to an idea will also be the most critical of it. From our experiences, we could find many counter-examples. Only those who are willing to know the scope of applications of an idea as well as those who are aware of the pros and cons of such idea would turn to be more critical.


Submitted by: qcao
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Comments
Qcao
+1

Sorry, When I submitted this essay, I didn't know that I should only submit one essay every day. You can flag this essay if you will. Then I send it one per day.

Thx a lot for your help. Your advice is very helpful and inspiring
August,16 2012

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