Pride The Great Stumbling Block

In the world of politics today we rarely see solid Bi-partisan measures that demonstrate collaboration and compromise. The interesting thing is that when we do they are generally the best measures that we enact.

Too often Politicians, pundits, and voters take an “all or nothing” approach to political positions and solutions.  It seems it is more acceptable to totally lose and complain about the other side, than to yield somethings we want and cooperate for the good of all, and accept some things that are less enticing to us.

Why do we have such a hard time coming together to work on solutions that incorporate the best that each side has to offer and examines what truly are multi-faceted issues, from the perspective that the first solution is going to have some bugs and kinks to work out, and that just because we are enacting legislation today doesn’t mean that as we work and collect data that legislation can’t change.

Why can’t our law making follow real world problem solving. I come from the Culinary world, and as a chef, I know that when rolling out a new menu, or even a menu item, there are going to be hiccups, and unforeseen obstacles that are going to arise in the roll out process.  I plan for it, and I expect that the ideal we worked on before going live isn’t going to remain a hard fast rule, and come hell or high water we are sticking to it, and customer experience be damned.

So why do we do this with Laws and Legislation.  Are we simply this dumb?  No I don’t think so, the same thing that blocks our collaborative efforts is the same thing that stops us from having a legislative process that is willing to acknowledge that error will occur along the way.

We can call this a lot of things: Arrogance, Hunger for Power, Stubbornness, Authoritarianism whatever, but what it really is is PRIDE

Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.

The central feature of pride is enmity- Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.

Pride is essentially competitive in nature.

This is what blocks our willingness to compromise and collaborate.

For example nobody wants to perpetuate poverty.  We simply have differing ideas about how to solve that.  One side currently espouses a model that requires work and effort from those in need and a contribution on their part, and has designs to eventually get them to be self sufficient.  The other side has designs to increase taxes and funnel those tax dollars into expanded government programs deigned to make it possible for people to eventually have enough: money, education, skills, and employment that they no longer need the assistance.  (I know these are simplifications bear with me)

And each side bickers back and forth and puts forth bills and the other side votes it down or simply has the power to ram it through, and force the other side to submit to their design. The problem with this is…

…The proud cannot accept the authority of someone else giving direction to their lives. The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others. In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.”

Pride is ugly. It says, “If you succeed, I am a failure.” Pride is a damning sin in the true sense of that word. It limits or stops progression.

The ugliness of Pride doesn’t allow collaboration because it would mean that the other side, whom we view as the opponent, gets to put some of their ideas in, Pride makes us view this as a victory for them or more likely as a loss for us.  “IF you succeed, I am a failure”

So instead of combining the plans and we have a moderate increase in taxes and funnel that into better self sufficiency and graduated assistance programs designed to lift and improve and extinguish themselves, essentially teaching men to fish rather than simply giving fish, we end up stuck with the same failing system that is insufficient to meet the desires of either side and worse meet the needs of the people, all because of the silliness of Pride

Why do we have this struggle? Well I propose that it is because of this: A proud person hates the fact that someone is above him. He thinks this lowers his position.

If we allow someone else a victory and their idea then succeeds, our pride says that that person is now better than us and is above us, because for some stupid reason we have decided we are in competition. 

Remember Pride is ugly. It says, “If you succeed, I am a failure.” Pride is a damning sin in the true sense of that word. It limits or stops progression.

But beating the opposition has become the goal in many things in our society and political system.

How much better would it be if we were slow to anger, forgiving, kind, and willing to concede and cooperate in the interest of the common good. And out of expediency?

How many people have you won over to your side of the aisle and argument through viewing them as the enemy? Probably ZERO

The key to lasting change in this world isn’t legislation it is in the conversion of hearts and minds to principles and ideals, and helping them to transform those principles into matters of conscience and character.

In the end we all tend to want the same basic things and want to see the same basic problems solved.  Our biggest differences are in how we think they should be solved.

But right now we aren’t solving anything, because of this Pride. Pride is the great stumbling block, and it also blocks us because we in implementing legislative solutions are to proud to build into the process the assumption that we could be wrong and our solution won’t fix the problem or that it will create others that we just didn’t see.

So we fix that by being willing to work together and give some ground for the sake of common good, and with the understanding that we reevaluate these solutions constantly, not once every 2,4,6 years when there is an election, not when we think we have to votes needed to repeal something we disagree with.  And if the solution needs adjustment we happily do it.

Now I know some of this does happen and solutions are reevaluated from time to time and amended; however, it is like pulling teeth it seems to do this, and it generally seems to happen when someone else has enough power to change it.

Let’s check our Pride and be willing to work together and collaborate more and think of others and stop being in competition with each other, because your neighbor isn’t your enemy.

** Most of the statements on Pride either appear in or are modified from an address given by Former Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson which can be found here


2 thoughts on “Pride The Great Stumbling Block

  1. “I shall one day stand before Him to give an accounting of my mortal probation, I will know the reality of these things no better then than I do know them now.”

    Excelsior! (nice paraphrase of Elder McConkie’s last testimony)!


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