Sunday, January 2, 2022

Bill Crawford: Arrogance of Certainty Dominates Politics

 You probably missed Pope Francis’s chiding Christmas message to his senior clerics where he urged them to cast off prideful armor and embrace humility.

“Our times seem either to have forgotten humility or to have relegated it to a form of moralism, emptying it of its explosive power,” he said. “The humble give life, attract others and push onwards towards the unknown that lies ahead. The proud, on the other hand, simply repeat, grow rigid, and enclose themselves in that repetition, feeling certain about what they know and fearful of anything new because they cannot control it.” He called pride and arrogance “the most precious of the devil’s potions.” (

In his book “Sailing True North,” retired Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Commander at NATO, addressed the same issue. “Learning to balance being right with being a leader is often a great challenge of character,” he said. “In today’s world … leaders must remember the fine line between the helpful characteristic of self-confidence and the toxic quality of arrogance.” He said a key to doing that is “to find our way to humility.” 

To make his point, Pope Francis used the example of Syrian general Naaman (2 Kings 5). Admiral Stavridis used the example of Greek admiral Themistocles. In the former case Naaman listened to Elisha, abandoned his pride and humbled himself to find redemption. “Adopt the humility of Naaman,” urged Francis. In the latter case, Themistocles failed to heed to others and his persistent arrogance led to his humiliation and exile. “So often the doppelganger of success is arrogance,” wrote Stavridis.

Their messages should hit home to many of us and our political leaders, those who have adopted an arrogance of certainty that they know what is right and best. That conceit in itself is not sufficient for many, though. With closed ears and no shred of humility, they try to force others to comply with their convictions.

Such behavior dominates our politics today. Consider this Associated Press story from Iowa headlined “For GOP, national party line trumps bringing home the bacon”:

“It struck some Iowans as strange when the district’s Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks voted against a bill that would pour more than $100 million in federal money to repair and replace bridges into southwest Iowa.” That bill was the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed Congress in November. 

The same thing occurred in Mississippi which is getting $4.4 billion for numerous projects. Calling it a “historic down payment on core priorities,” Sen. Roger Wicker was the only Republican to vote for the bill. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Reps. Trent Kelly, Michael Guest, and Steven Palazzo toed the party line and voted “no.” 

Notably, over $500 billion of the bill came from previously authorized infrastructure projects. These were included in an omnibus appropriations bill while Republicans still controlled Congress so Hyde-Smith, Guest, and Palazzo compliantly voted “yes” along with Wicker; only Kelly voted no. 

We can expect similar behavior in the Mississippi Legislature this year. Most Republicans will rigidly vote the party line on key issues with no ear to the critical needs of their constituents.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” – Proverbs 11:2.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.


Anonymous said...

So arrogance doesn't really dominate "politics"' just the politics of the other party eh Bill?

Anonymous said...

Getting re-elected isn't's everything.

Anonymous said...

You always have the right answer Bill. Except how to pay off the massive debt the United States has dug itself into over the last 30 years. You can’t print your way to prosperity Bill. Socialist countries still haven’t learned the lesson. Something’s going to give sooner than you think. And when it does it will have world wide consequences.

Anonymous said...

Name a politician or pope who was not or is not arrogant. It's just a matter of degree.

Kingfish said...

Discuss the subject of the post. Don't treat it as an excuse to air every grievance or gripe about the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

"Right fighters" can't admit being wrong ever...they are among the most insecure humans though they come across as egotistic.

Then, there are those who are in denial and believe only what they want to believe is true despite any obvious "clues".

Then, there are the scum. They loudly justify their beliefs and actions based solely on self-interest, no matter how vile those interests may be.

Now, those with personality disorders, mental illness, and the sociopaths and psychopaths have entered politics.

Some of you listened to two drug addicts and a certified psychotic every day.

Anonymous said...

Damn Bill, you are really having to stretch to find something to write a columb about today where you can condemn "republicans" in any way. Guess your action back in 1991 whereby you denounced your membership in the party was truly meant, despite your jumping back in while asking for a position on the IHL, and later as a leader of the Mississippi Development Authority (both of course, Republican appointments despite your denouncement earlier). Never made these type claims when you ran - as a Republican - for Congress back in 1996, did you?

Easy to critize back when you were being paid by the democratic MS Hospital Association in their attacks on the Republican front runner for Governor. But does it continue forever, or just until the next time you want to get on the gravy train to sell your spend/borrow theory as a way to increase your PERS dollars?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Let’s be honest here, Bill. “Arrogance permeates LIFE,” and most certainly “journalism.”

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS