Jnyusa wrote:People who have better information have an obligation to disseminate it as best they can, imo. The alternative is to let those who are mired in quicksand drown in it.
Some information IS better than other information. Some information has been critically tested, is verifiable without reference to the tooth fairy, and has positive results that are demonstrable and desirable to most people. You can reject that information if that is your preference, but you should at least be given that choice. You should at least be allowed to know what the alternatives are. That's the difference between a substantive conversation and b.s.
All true, all misses the point. Any evangelist will follow that exact line of reasoning.
Aside from the fact that one needs to actually have better information in the first place, there's also a question of whether those other people disagreeing with you don't, by any chance, knows something that the enlightened savior doesn't. The enlightened saviors tend to have blind spots the size of a small continent in their "better information".
I don't know how familiar you are with the history of Jewish enlightenment, but back in the 1840-s, a learned German Jew named Max Lilienthal fancied himself an enlightened savior of the Jews of Russia. So he went to Russia to try and popularize a European Enlightenment-based school model that would replace the traditional "cheder". He came to cities within the Pale of Settlement and challenged local community leaders, those boorish people stuck in their old religious ways, to a debate he was sure to win. He had better information - having a good education is better than not having one. Hard to argue with that, right?
It so happened, however, that the people whom he sought to educate had their own brains, and told Lilienthal in no uncertain terms that his ideas were useless at best, dangerous at worst under the given circumstances. A population whose rights were severely restricted had little practical use for better education. In conditions where the Tzarist government enforced quotas on how many Jews were allowed into secondary education, with additional limits on particularly desired professions such as law, all of it on top of restrictions on where Jews could live and what civil rights they had, introducing European-style schools across the community would do little to advance the Jews' status but would very likely exacerbate the community's predicament by increasing the frustration among young Jews and hostility of surrounding population.
As Lilienthal didn't bother to understand the people he was preaching to and acted on assumption that his opponents simply didn't know what was good for them, he did what spurned saviors often do - he sought to force the truth upon them. He went to the Tzar's Minister of National Enlightenment, Count Sergey Uvarov - a hardcore anti-Semite like most Russian nationalists at the time. Uvarov quickly understood that the most likely effect of Lilienthal's plan would've been to further the Russian Tzar's plan for destruction of the Jews - "a third will die, a third will emigrate and the rest will convert and assimilate". Lilienthal soon returned to Brest as an emissary of the Russian imperial government, backed by the brand new law forcing an establishment of European-style Jewish schools, with lavish funding for the project and with imperial gendarmerie to suppress opposition. This time, the boorish Russian Jews had no choice but to listen... and silently pray for the uninvited savior and his goons to leave town so that they could try and clean up the mess he left behind. Collaboration with Uvarov eventually backfired on Lilienthal, who hastily fled to the USA, having achieved nothing. Enlightement ideas were spread among Russian Jews by people born and raised in the Pale of Settlement, people who actually knew what they were dealing with.
My point, should you choose to miss it once again, is that it never hurts to actually understand why your opponents think the way they do, and respect their intelligence and ability to observe the world around them. Even if - and it's an "if" in need of proof - you are right and they're wrong in broad terms, they might still be right and you may still be disastrously wrong.