If there is one thing I hate it is preaching to the choir. I don’t care if I’m the preacher, in the choir or just an innocent bystander. It really bugs me. I find it so distasteful that I have a hard time seeing how anyone could like it. But, like it someone must since many people make a good living by doing it.
I should start out by saying that this doesn’t mean I have a problem any time two or more people agree with each other. There is value in like minded people discussing topics. No one agrees about everything, so when like minded people have a discussion, they can skip over the broad areas of agreement and focus on the areas that need work. What I am talking about is when two or more people agree with each other and all they are willing to discuss is the things that they agree about. And, not only that, they act very excited and threatened while having a discussion with people who agree with them about the things that they agree upon. I’m thinking of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore (If you never noticed that Limbaugh and Moore are the same, you probably don’t mind choir preaching as much as I do).
One of the main reasons why I hate it so much is that it is completely pointless. I know a lot of people on the left that think Rush and Bill O’Reilly are scary and that they are hurting this country. My response is that neither one has ever made a difference. No one has ever had an open mind about a topic (or a left leaning view) and heard one of them talk and said, “I see his point and it’s a good one!” It just doesn’t happen. The only people that like what they have to say are the people who start out with the same beliefs. If they find it entertaining, so be it. But, it isn’t anything to worry about because it doesn’t do anything.
Another reason I hate it so much is that it is so smug. Whether it’s Christopher Hitchens railing against Mother Theresa or Michael Moore railing against GM, there is an incredible self-satisfied arrogance. Since they are only talking to people who share their opinions, there is no need to reflect on those opinions. Why should Hitchens try to see things from a Catholic’s point of view when he’s talking to a room full of atheists? Why should Moore try to see things from management’s perspective when he is talking to a room full of union members? And since their audiences never disagree with them, they naturally start to feel pretty smart.
And another reason I hate it is because it leads to sloppy thinking. I’m not a biologist, but I have it on good authority that Richard Dawkins was one of the best once upon a time. Since he published “The God Delusion” and it became a best seller, he’s more crack pot than thoughtful. Charlton Heston was talented and engaging. But get him in front of an NRA meeting and he was a raving lunatic. People get a little success preaching to the choir and they squander their talents.
It is a free country, so if people enjoy feeling vindicated by ignoring opposing views, that is their business. I just wish I didn’t have to witness it.