Saturday, June 27, 2015

Are Do-Gooders Truly Arrogant?

The do-gooders have a reputation for being arrogant; and I think that this reputation is ill-merited. The reason is that I know one of the most famous do-gooders in all of history: Patch Adams. In his interactions with me, he was not arrogant at all. Although he is wealthy and famous, he was willing to reach out to me and answer the questions that I had in a way that in no way made me feel inferior.

I've known any number of other do-gooders; and they likewise did not come across to me as being arrogant. Rather these were the people who were good at helping people and were willing to put these abilities to use. Whether it was in finding jobs, figuring themselves out or standing up to the people who were bullying them, these do-gooders were able to meaningfully help other people, including people from whom they had nothing to expect in return.

Who are do-gooders? Mostly people who have figured out something that other people haven't figured out and believe that they can help others get to a better place. Whether through thinking things through, working through personal issues, having religious or spiritual revelations, or attaining one or another kind of success, these are people who have meaningful things to offer.

If you have been given a gift, why not share it with others? If you have an ability, why not put it to good use? Is it arrogant to want to make things better for other people? Or is it arrogant instead to force people to stay in bad situations or bad thinking, shorn of the attentions of those who can help them come to a better place?

Really, we see arrogance all around us, and much of it is among people who are against do-gooders. Wife-beaters, child molesters, and right-wing and Muslim fundamentalists who think it their job to subjugate others, are more arrogant than the do-gooders, and they are not doing anybody a whit of good. Some measure of pride is healthy. It protects people's rights and liberties from the abusers and bullies who want to run roughshod over them or enslave them. By the standards of some Christians intelligence, creativity, beauty, science, technology, wealth and democracy can all be regarded as hubris; which means, logically, that it is to arrogance that the world owes what it has. And that includes the Christian's own big-screen TV, SUV, hot meals and representative democracy.

Even if some do-gooders are arrogant, they come nowhere close to owning arrogance. We see exceptional arrogance among conservatives who think that they have God on their side and that nobody else does, or that they are America and that nobody else is. It is time that things be put into perpsective. Some do-gooders may be arrogant; but they come nowhere close to owning arrogance, and most arrogance belongs to people who aren't do-gooders and are in many cases against them.


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