Friday, October 24, 2008

On Selling Out

Everyone sells out. Me, you, and the grocery store clerk down the street. We all compromise our principles, deciding to live for the promise of the moment rather than "sticking to our guns". Such is the story of humanity. Often our selling out is concerned with trivial matters, a sort of "white-lie" selling out, if you will. You know, like a NOFX fan listening to the Ataris. And then, sometimes it's a lot more serious.

American politics seems to be all about selling out, under the surface. No matter where you fall in the political chain, chances are you've sold out in some way. Maybe you've had to change your "views" on an issue due to your party's platform. Maybe you're voting for the major candidate you feel is the lesser of two evils. And then there's the voter who jumps on a bandwagon because he or she is sick of thinking critically and having to sort through jumbled media biases.

Ultimately, what's selling out really about? Complacence. Fatigue. The familiarity of platitudes. The ability to overlook shortcomings in your own beliefs simply because the opposition's shortcomings must be greater. Being satisfied to never ask certain questions. Being satisfied to never confront certain facts. The ability to write off criticism from the opposition without considering it. The peacefulness of not having to wade through every bit of data that assaults your senses. In business, selling out is being able to take the money and run, and not needing to look back.

Selling out provides a pseudo-position from which you can judge and mock others' views when they differ from your own, and allows you to write off an argument at will without truly considering it. You have sold out at the point that logic goes out the door, to be replaced with rote statements repeated verbatim from media, propagandists, and of course, friends.

Faith is sometimes mistaken for selling out, or vice versa. After all, isn't "selling out" simply the exchange of one set of values for another? Aren't all ideas equal? Or, isn't someone who believes in something he or she cannot prove really just a sell-out? The difference, however, is that people who sell out may pretend to be concerned with truth, but aren't; instead they're concerned with what they gain from selling out, and that may come in many forms. Faith is concerned with truth at all costs, and will be content to make no profit.

Have you sold out? I know I have.