The Power of Assumption

Picture a late night staff meeting spilling out into the parking lot on a gorgeous, clear night.  Three freshly minted software engineers, straight out of college, find themselves picking out Orion in the southern sky.  Their project manager, the guy they need to please, listens to their celestial chatter, opens the door to his car, and takes in the sky along with them.  “I see,” he says, cryptically, “a little Hebrews 11 in all that glory up there.”  When none of the young cadets understand the reference, the boss settles into his car seat, rolls down the window and observes: “Sarah thought she was barren, but she had star loads of great great grandchildren. Beyond measure.  I mean, just look at those lights up there.  You read the story, but you have to look at the sky to sense the immensity of the promise.”

When the manager drives off, what has he done there? He’s preemptively established the ground rules: the boss sees the same grand poetry in the Bible we all see in the night sky.  He’s declaring that literate, thinking people ponder scripture.  He’s brought a sacred cow out of the corral for serious consideration, and he’s staked out some reverent territory: any insufferable, under-baked atheist on the team will be careful ridiculing faith in his presence.

There’s enormous power in announcing your set of serious assumptions before anyone else can in the group.  It’s difficult to demand 58 gender pronoun preferences if the very idea has been preemptively ridiculed, and it’s difficult to worry, publicly, about climate change around someone who jokes about the lack of ice-chunk-stranded polar bears on his recent Alaskan cruise.

Enjoy and take great pleasure in the awkward.  Assume that gay guy has a wife and encourage him to bring her to the dinner party as well. Make sure to ask the shrill feminist whether her father approves of her most recent life decision. Celebrate a Trump economic victory, by observing how hard it is to get new hires in the booming Donald economy.

If you think any of this is radical, consider why: you’ve been played this way in reverse non-stop, more or less your whole life.  You’ve been fed so many “approved assumptions,” you apologize for your own.  The left makes their assumptions and establishes the rules before you get to open your mouth.  The teacher put a “winter festival” banner up in the classroom, when you were hoping for a Christmas celebration. The big pharma ads depict every doctor as female. Gillette, in its toxic masculinity campaign, allowed a few noble male characters, but they, of course, had to be African American.  Your cafeteria manager simply assumed you wouldn’t object to removing ham from the menu, because of those very self-assured ladies, dressed head to toe in black, who just assumed everyone agrees with their holy dude’s dietary edicts.

Conservative Christians are polite, attentive, and tolerant.  It’s the real thing, unlike the practiced, identity-driven weirdness of the left, but if you really believe what you say you believe, you might consider the enormous value in just assuming everyone else does as well.