Why I’m not “Staunch”


I cannot intuitively understand why staunch adherence to ideology and partisanship should be considered virtues. “Staunch” to me equates to a tendency for stubbornly dogmatic, inflexible, and often dangerously reactionary thinking.

That’s the impression I get from people who defensively boast of just how staunch they are when they talk politics among those who already agree with them, trying to score tribal recognition points. It’s funny that more and more public political talk involves preaching to the choir, no real discourse at all, just sounding in an echo chamber.

I suppose that I could formulate reasons why staunchness might be considered virtuous, and comprehend those reasons intellectually, but it seems innately senseless to me, and any arguments I might use to justify it would be pretty poor given my understanding of our collective human experience with ideological extremism.

My own view is that, no, partisan loyalty and staunch devotion to ideology are not virtues, cannot remake reality, and are one of our most dangerous tendencies, one that may very well bring about our extinction as a species.

At the very least, to me, extreme devotion to any set of ideas is nothing to brag about. An attitude that demands inflexibility of mind in the face of new argument and evidence is not something to be particularly proud of.

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3 thoughts on “Why I’m not “Staunch”

  1. How about being staunchly open-minded and curious? How about being unwavering in one’s intellectual honesty and humility, being a fierce independent thinker, to persevere in one’s questions and doubts no matter what? How about being staunchly anti-dogmatic?

    Just playing around with the reversal of how the word is commonly used. But I think there is something meaningful in being strong-minded while also being open-minded. The main problem in the world is that the strong-minded too often aren’t open-minded and the open-minded too often aren’t strong-minded. Why not both? Are they really mutually exclusive?

    Like

    • Hmmm. You suggest a context for the word that I’ve not encountered before. Interesting. Why not? Too frequently the word has been used to denote inflexibility of thinking, at least the way I’ve most often heard it used. Perhaps it’s time to redefine it to mean something more than that.

      Liked by 1 person

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