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).