You Can Learn Good Things From Bad People
Take what works, leave the rest.
Whether or not someone is a good person has no bearing on whether or not their ideas are useful. There are bad people with brilliant ideas. There are good people with weak ideas. You can learn from either.
Many of the ideas I draw from in Children’s Justice come from French philosopher Michel Foucault. Michel Foucault was a bad person. He was completely amoral. He was probably a pedophile. Yet, no one understood modern power better than him. Every modern social justice movement that has achieved power is in some way influenced by his work. Regardless of his character, I’ve been able to use his ideas in a philosophy that is deeply antipedophile.
At the same time, being a good person does not mean someone has good ideas. Growing up in the evangelical Christian world, some of the nicest people I met were Young Earth Creationists. That means they believed God created the world in exactly seven days less than ten thousand years ago. They were wonderful people, but I wouldn’t take a philosophy or science course from them. Likewise, the Flat Earthers shown in the documentary Behind the Curve seem like a blast to hang out with. Their ideas are not on the same level as their parties.
When someone dislikes another’s ideas, they will often attack their character, yet this has nothing to do with whether or not their ideas are good. There are evil people who were brilliant and good people who were not. The ideas and the character of the person who holds them are two separate discussions.
You can learn from anyone. Every person has a lesson if you’re willing to see it. Often the faults people have produced their best work. Foucault was likely driven to understand power because he wanted to behave in ways that power would not permit. At the same time, the Young Earth Creationists would likely tell you their good behavior comes from their faith, the same faith that rejects most modern science. Change one aspect and the other might not remain.
Flowers grow in dirt. What we dislike about people sometimes produces the things we appreciate. You can take what works and leave what doesn’t. Pluck the flower and step over the mud.