Sunday, April 24, 2016
Is it possible to be too accepting?
It seems as if we are no longer entitled to hold up our own individual standards anymore. Instead, it seems like alternative lifestyles and cultures and beliefs are being forced on us from all fronts, but we aren't allowed to say a thing about it.
I find intolerance, discrimination, and rudeness distasteful and unacceptable, but let's grow up and realize that to dislike or disapprove of another's opinion or choice is not equal to hatred. The current circumstance we find ourselves in feels like some sort of meta-cultural peer-pressure where everyone is expected to accept every choice as being fully equal, and to be quiet about it all.
Rejecting a choice someone else makes, or not accepting their preference, doesn't equate to rejecting that person. Certainly common sense tells us we don't have to see everything all the same, and to disagree isn't one and the same as hatred or rejection.
In fact, we are being sold a lie -- if we reject the person's preferences, we reject the person. Similarly, if we reject another's lifestyle, we have supposedly committed evil acts of racism, bigotry, and discrimination. The false claim of some people is that rejecting the choices other people make is the full equivalent of breaking their civil rights for the people you disagree with. That's insanity!
For a free-market of ideas to thrive, there has to be an exchange of contrary and opposing ideas. For our own intellectual growth to flourish, we have to express ourselves when we disagree. But currently, to hold to certain morals and political stances results in being bullied into silence, or being labeled with a shame-laden derogatory "ism" meant to stifle your voice.
It is impossible for all of the contradictory views to all be right. Yet, no one is allowed to speak up and say someone else's ideas are wrong anymore. That's crazy. This cultural censorship is slowly choking out clear thinking.
The suppression of opinions that are different from the latest fad or the hippest marginalized group is the path to stifle the freedom of expression. To say any particular group or ideology is misguided or wrong will be hate-speech, punishable by fines or lawsuits. To ensure that no one is ever offended is to prevent the personal growth of any society, and, it will eliminate the ability to have a healthy exchange of ideas. This all sounds like the subplot of a dystopian narrative where the fascist leaders enact a totalitarian regime to suppress the masses... and their new uniform is fashioned from the "Emperor's new clothes," but who will speak up about the wardrobe?
Squelching dialogue is the least wise move our culture can make. Dialogue means we speak up, we share ideas that are dissimilar, and we all learn from the process. Instead, we remain enslaved by feeling embarrassed to speak up, because if we do speak up we are labeled as hatemongers or dogmatic anti-intellectuals who are just plain cruel. We are afraid to speak out against the things we once saw as embarrassing. We are devolving into invertebrates.
To claim all ideas are equally valid means that none of the ideas being presented are wrong, which means we've reached perfection in our understanding of reality. I personally see a lot of room for improvement from humanity. For diversity to exist and be profitable to our personal development, means we have to speak up, debate, disagree, and state our opinions.
We can include everyone and accept everyone based on the common-ground we share and through authentic tolerance and respect, but if we silence people through intimidation and coercion simply because they disagree with the lifestyle choices of the furthest fringes of our society, then our civilization is no longer civilized, it is just part of the animal kingdom and nothing is off limits...