One of the worst blights on any community is those individuals with agendas to push. Generally these are about the person themselves, how they want the world to see things, i.e. their way. And of course about how they would like people to perceive them.
But all of that is ultimately about people wanting power in one way or another. To be seen as a ‘leader’ or some kind of font of wisdom. An ‘authority’ on some subject. Someone that others look up to.
You see the worst examples of this again and again. Generally in subjects where they would like to be seen as experts.
Sometimes you see people who are really into a subject, when people disagree with those genuinely interested in the subject for itself rather than as a means to their own end they will debate when challenged. They may realise a mistake or have found a better knowledge. They may take new input with enthusiasm because… they are genuinely interested in the subject and learning more and better information about it is what they’re about. The person using any subject as part of their agenda to promote themselves is likely to react in a very different way.
I have seen those with agendas try all kind of things when challenged on what they see as their area of expertise. Trying to belittle or ignore the source of conflicting information is the mildest. Trying to discredit the source as a person is probably the worst.
Why this behaviour? Because to the person with an agenda to push the subject is not something they actually care about in and of itself, it’s just a tool. Something they can use to make themselves look knowledgeable. Something for them to be ‘an authority’ on. It’s a move in a game of social chess where their objective is to ‘win’ not to play well and enjoyably with everyone.
People can defend themselves and their communities from this kind of person getting into a position of control in their community by closely observing the actions of a person who presents themselves as an authority. How do they act when challenged? Is their knowledge truly deep? Do they accept new information or do they attack the person that disagrees with them?
It is worth caring about this kind of thing. Remember that this is someone using something that you care about not for joy, not for love but as a tool to put them in a position of trust and respect in a way that should preclude them from having either.