Motives Behind Advocacy

Chris Rutledge

When considering positions on economic, security and social policies, reason and rationality should prevail.  Basing our beliefs purely on the strength of the arguments and data pro and con would certainly appeal to the logic centers of our mind.  How receptive we are to these arguments can sometimes be based on how well we identify with the presenter and the credibility we afford.  To determine credibility, we need to weigh the strength of the argument against the motives behind the presenter’s advocacy.

When faced with issues of border security, those who once favored curbing illegal immigration (Pelosi, Schumer, Obama and the Clintons) now support sanctuary cities and condemn deportation efforts and border security improvements.  Are these shifts in advocacy truly based on some moral imperative or new-found data?  Or are they motivated by a desire to deny the President a win on (arguably) one of his greatest campaign promises and policy positions?

To fill openings on various committees in Enfield, the Town Council reviews each application and makes decisions on policy protocols and the applicant’s qualifications.  Qualifications need not always be specific to the opening, but the applicant should show some common-sense knowledge and present an attitude conducive to the well-being of our town. When applications are denied, some claim it’s because of “personalities”.  Is this claim valid or just a distraction from the whole truth?  Perhaps the rejections have rational justifications.  Could it be because some applicants claim to be in favor of positive change while engaging in actions toxic to the well-being of our town and our schools?

At the State and National level, we see elected officials calling for higher taxes and more regulations, especially on businesses and the wealthy.  The most credible information clearly shows the wealthiest already paying the majority of income taxes.  Further, at a certain threshold, greater taxation and regulation becomes counter-productive.  Is this advocacy truly based on what’s best for our economy?  Or is it just designed to solidify support from the far left who subscribe to the “more important to be morally right then factually accurate” rallying cry of Social Justice Warriors and those favoring socialist wealth redistribution.

In his Pulitzer Prize winning analysis of the political power wielded by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert Caro often characterized Johnson as a brilliant, genius-level politician who knew exactly what needed to be said and just what someone needed to hear.  But he was President before Facebook.  In this digital age, such comments by a President (or any other politician) would likely be reviewed, scrutinized and critiqued to not only understand the argument but also the motives behind the argument.

As informed citizens, it is incumbent upon us all to not only rationally evaluate arguments but to also critically examine the motives behind said arguments.  When one’s advocacy shifts, is it truly because they’ve been persuaded by the other side or are there ulterior motives?  Shouldn’t we expect and demand honesty and transparency?  Examining the motives behind advocacy in concert with analyzing arguments presented may take effort but doing so may help us find an implement the best solutions to improve our society and our economy.

Chris Rutledge
Previously published in the Enfield Press
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