An Opinion Piece.

Posted: 01/10/2010 in General

It seems to me to be an odd irony that the left-leaning in our midst (possibly more particularly those toward the younger end of the nonetheless socio-politically aware spectrum, but let’s not get too focussed on age) are major proponents of personal freedoms, rights, etc, and as a broad statement have what is traditionally considered to be the more touchy-feely type of manifesto, and yet, when it comes to people speaking their minds in good faith and expressing honest, considered opinions in line with their own conscience,  these same freedom-spreaders are the ones shouting them down for saying things that are not in line with the prevailing please-all-of-the-people-all-of-the-time societal climate we live in.

It’s a ridiculous contradiction that these people would like a world where everybody’s rights are assured and in which everyone gets a fair go, and yet, then in order to achieve that, via their firey cum sanctimonious wrath, they implicitly limit the freedoms of anyone who seeks to dissent from the left-wing line1, even if said dissent was an honest analysis and/or  (as it so often is) an agent for positive change.

The other common cry is that someone’s opinion is “offensive” on the basis that it might prick the sensibilities of some special-interest group. I am afraid that I cannot conceive of a world where we are obligated to avoid offending people. Anyone who thinks this way needs to sit down and have a good hard look at the implications.
And besides, we are instilled from childhood with the old sticks-and-stones adage. Should we then abandon its lesson when we grow up? Surely we cannot grow up to think that people have an inalienable right to go through life never being offended?? And yet there are those who think exactly that. The classic recent example is, not that I want to flog an already long-dead-horse into unrecognizable carrion (but what a carry-on it was, ahahaha…) was Stephanie Rice being publicly flogged to within an inch of her public career over a single misplaced word. We may take the view that she should not have uttered the phrase that she did, but who is so toweringly conceited that they see fit to pariah her for it?? And yet plenty of people were.

Well, this is unacceptable. We cannot accept a situation where people are castigated for holding honest opinions and expressing them, or for merely saying things that “people don’t like”. Yes, some people have opinions we would rather not hear, yes, we can argue with them, yes, we can ask them to look at the facts again and reconsider. But to tell them they’re lesser people for holding those opinions or making those utterances is an outrage. People need to live and let live in this regard. It is the height of arrogance to expect people to kow-tow to what you consider to be Correct Thinking just because you do so, irrespective of what numerical authority you may think you have at your back.

We should all reserve the right to dissent from those that tell us what to think, and to think whatever we like. We should all reserve the right to make up our own minds in our own good time. And at no point should we ever concede that we should go along with the crowd because of the simple fact the crowd exists.

Consider, analyse, decide. And for the sake of society in general, say Bugger You to the Thought Police, because we really, really need to be rid of them.

Of course, that’s just my opinion.

1 I should at this point say that I am not using the term “left-wing” in a pejorative sense. Merely as a description in line with how most people perceive this kind of perspective. I have no problem with people adopting certain opinions about how the way the world should be, especially if those people are of good conscience and earnest intent. And I’ll not tell them what they can and cannot think or say. I take to heart no particular political leanings myself, preferring to clinically and objectively analyse each issue on its merits and from first principles, because I believe in arriving at the *right* answer, whatever that may be, and in no way am I in love with my own opinion (and I love it when people dissent from same – I enjoy the process of argument).

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Comments
  1. Mark Newton says:

    Agreed about the general thrust, but I don’t think it’s right to cast this as a left-vs-right thing.

    I’m not even sure that left-vs-right has any meaning anymore in Australia. I see more of a spectrum made out of degrees of authoritarianism, with most of the political parties and almost all of the mainstream media clustered up near one end. 🙂

    The right is every bit as capable of condemning “offensiveness” as the left, as the right wing of the coalition so amply demonstrated during the “OMG they showed a nipple on Big Brother” faux-controversy back in the day.

    – mark

    • sjb351 says:

      I agree with what you say. The left-right thing is vague at best. The main reason I brought it up at all was that part of the inspiration for the (admitted) rant was the way champions of minority & special interest groups are particularly prone to this sort of social censorship, and I think these sorts of people are somewhat if only nominally left. But I didn’t want to make this point explicitly because I wanted even less to make it about minority groups or bashing same, because then that would have just painted me as a redneck. Which is another unfortunate piece of the modern vernacular that has no real application in Australia, in my view.

      And your point about authoritarianism is well made. May have to think about that for a future post.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Steve.

  2. Steve,

    To be on the fence and thinking about the rights of everyone to be comfortable at all times shows a lack of conviction in ones self and what one believes in.

    If you do not have the wherewithal to stand up for what you believe, then maybe those who want to shout down those of us who do should learn the manners of which they speak – but do not possess.

    As far as Stephanie Rice is concerned – she was the victim here. The DICKHEAD who made it a media beat-up simply because he was gay (and not just your average homosexual – but a narcissist who thought that he deserved special rights in society simply because he chose to be the way he is) was completely at fault.

    Why?

    Because he was one of the usual morons in this world who overhears something and chooses to feign insult based on what he *wants* the statement to be rather than what it actually was. He then proceeds to actively destroy the life and/or career of that person simply because he thinks he is entitled to do so – regardless of whether he was right or wrong.

    Simply put: anyone who draws insult from something I say *without* first clarifying the statement and the context in which I meant what I said – and then chooses to run to the media without fronting me about it (as would a mature person in a world that supports an open conversation of ideas), then he/she/it had better be prepared for genuine insult headed their way.

    In short: the so-called “man” of opportunistic ideals and malformed ideas gained in puberty deserves to be insulted – not because he is gay – but because he is a fool. An utter, brainless, dickless, dim-witted, political-playing moron. His sexuality means nothing in this debate other than him using it as a tool to attack someone who said something in a context to which he pretended to be insulted.

    • sjb351 says:

      I don’t know if you saw something in my blog post that you took issue with but I think we are broadly in agreement here. I probably wasn’t so severe, but you have largely echoed my sentiments.

    • sjb351 says:

      Matt,
      Have continued to think about your comment and basically just thought I should clarify that the post was me railing against the the politically correct out there shoving their opinions down our throats. I did make the point that I wasn’t out to tell them what to think, just that they needed to stop doing it to the rest of us.
      SB.

      • Matt? Sorry, you have me confused with someone else (whom I might guess to be a right-minded thinker, perhaps? 🙂

        Looking at the reply I posted, it does have the tendency to appear that it is directed at you as being the one with no conviction but that was not my intention.

        My comments are directed more at the, as you say, left-leaning types.

        My experience has shown them to have less knowledge of the real world and tend to believe that we must lead by example and that peace is the only option. In other words- give in to those who want special rights and privileges in society because that is what their sense of ‘freedom’ is about – appeasing everybody.

        How many times in history has this been proved wrong and how many times does it continue to be proved wrong to this very day?

        One thing is certain: If you bow to the demands of everyone all the time, they become accustomed to that and begin to demand it – and quite often, this course of action is neither smart nor productive – especially if the outcome is a new generation of peoples taking what was given as a grace to the previous generation, as a right in theirs. I would guess that I don’t need to explain to you about the early-pubescent dirtbags that think they have the right in this world to speak to adults as their inferiors. More than one unknown has been slapped up the side of the head for their troubles when doing this to me.

        I agree with the opinion piece wholeheartedly and encourage to stay true and firm to your convictions 🙂

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