Would you rather be right or be effective?

A few days, I read an interesting article over at Dalrock. Following through to The American Catholic, I read the thread that originated it all. I pointed out that it seemed to me that Dalrock and Elaine K. were talking past each other, not actually communicating. Unsurprisingly, this resulted in a short conversation wherein I was accused of much the same thing as she was – to wit; excusing feminist rebellion by way of admitting that maybe women need a break. I’m not going to dissect the entire comment thread – frankly, I respect Dalrock’s opinions a great deal, and I think that he has a good point, and that many of his commenters are generally right-thinking people who have a handle on some stuff that the larger culture is missing in a big way. This post is not an attack on him, or them.

I just want to ask one question – which is more important, being factually correct, or making a positive difference in the world?

Don’t think that I suggest for a moment that the two are mutually exclusive. I do not. In fact, the second generally requires the first. The important thing to remember, however, is that the first does not imply that the second will happen. Dalrock sacrificed a potential rapport with another individual, for the sake of, let’s be honest, scoring some cheerleading from a group of people who already agree with him. He was absolutely correct about what the two anecdotes implied about rebellion and sin, and I think that, in general, he was right about Elaine K. making an apologia for feminist rebellion. That doesn’t mean that he made a positive difference. In fact, he alienated a potential ally. Elaine K.¬†probably thinks of herself as fairly traditional, and would normally be an ideal philosophical ally. A gentler, less strident approach might have been exactly the right thing to bring her around to agreement, and to bring another ally into the androspherian fold. (Yes, I’m aware of his opinions on tradcons. It’s one of the few areas where I think he’s simply flat out incorrect.)

So, my exhortation to everyone who considers themselves Christian, traditionally conservative, men’s activist, whatever; ask yourself if you would rather be right, or make a difference. The time for deliberately alienating people is quickly coming to an end. That kind of absolute hard-line approach is fantastic at the beginnings and the ends of a social movement, but in the middle, it is death. Opponents of feminism, Epicureanism, and postmodernism are at a schwerpunkt. This is the time when everything might change. Are we going to accept a few sops thrown to us, in order to get the majority (not the most vocal, but the most VOTES – in other words, the ones who tend to be the most moderate of any social movement) to shut up, or are we going to moderate our rhetoric, in order to have a continual, long term effect on society and culture?

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