247. Who Succeeds and Are They Right?

The most suc­cess­ful peo­ple of each gen­er­a­tion are usu­ally those most per­sis­tent at act­ing out and defend­ing the ortho­dox­ies of their cul­ture and sub­cul­ture. If they are busi­ness­men it will be the favoured way of doing busi­ness; if they are moth­ers it will be the favoured way of rais­ing chil­dren; if they are priests it will be the favoured way of sell­ing a reli­gion; if they are aca­d­e­mics they will have the most com­pli­cated argu­ments for defend­ing beliefs; if they are politi­cians they will have the loud­est argu­ments for the ide­ol­ogy of the age; if they are gang­sters they will be experts at the most fash­ion­able way of steal­ing money. This pat­tern of pro­mot­ing and defend­ing ortho­doxy to achieve suc­cess is the same in every human cul­ture and at every time in his­tory. Some­times an ortho­doxy is indeed the best avail­able answer avail­able at that time. Quite often it is not. That is why social change almost always involves a strug­gle, and almost always needs peo­ple with the courage not to be “suc­cess­ful” in the same way that the peo­ple around them hope to be.

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