Rob Pincus on Teaching as Cultivating Humanity

The recent announcement of a collaboration between the United States Concealed Carry Association, the Personal Defense Network, and Rob Pincus of I.C.E. Training, reminded me of a blog post I began drafting two years ago(!!!) while listening to Paul Carlson’s Safety Solutions Academy podcast (March 20, 2015).

The following statement by Pincus to Carlson caught my attention:

“Evolution, critical thinking, self-evaluation. All of those things are part of being a good human being, whatever you’re doing. And certainly if you’re teaching other people, presumably to be better human beings, your curriculum should evolve [as well as] your perspective, your ethos.”

Rob Pincus on Twitter @PincusRob

Although at first blush it might seem odd for a gun trainer to be talking about teaching people to be “better human beings,” I long ago wrote about Massad Ayoob’s MAG-40 course as reflecting a “humanitarian approach to armed citizenship.”

Likewise, a central point of Jennifer Carlson’s book on gun carriers in Michigan — reflected in its very title, Citizen-Protectors — is that gun carrying for many people is not simply a practical action but is connected with a broader ethical perspective.

In hearing Pincus talk about his teaching as geared to helping people become “better human beings,” I was reminded of those who talk about “liberal education” as a way of “cultivating humanity.”

Of course, understandings of what it means to cultivate humanity will differ among people with different moral/ethical/religious/philosophical points of view. But the very fact that Pincus used the language of “evolution, critical thinking, self-evaluation,” and “ethos” is significant in a day and age when too many people barricade themselves in their existing positions and refuse to be self-reflective or consider that they may be wrong.


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