Free Speech, Excessive Political Correctness, And Being Open to Different Ideologies From Your Own

During a town hall meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, President Obama lamented the excessive “political correctness” that pervades the culture of our college campuses and universities.

I don’t agree that, you, when you become students at colleges, that you have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. Anybody who comes to speak to you that you disagree with, you should have an argument with them!
But, you shouldn’t silence them. By saying, ‘You can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say’…That’s not the way we learn.

Like him or dislike him. Republican or Democrat.

I don’t think there’s anyone who can disagree with President Obama on this one.

There is a great majority of people nowadays who are so deeply rooted in their fixed beliefs that they refuse to listen to the opinions of others.

They even go so far as to put their fingers in their ears like a two-year-old and tell the opposing person that they are “stupid” or “dumb.”

This is especially true online where people have an anonymous medium with which to share their hate.

Many have blogs or Twitter accounts where they pretend to care about all people, they say they’re accepting of everyone, or they claim to be “social justice warriors.”

But, the second someone brings up an interesting point that adds to the dialogue and constructively criticizes them, they shut them down.

They accuse the opposer of “attacking” them.

This commenter could be making a completely legitimate argument, but because it conflicts with their personal ideologies, they silence them.

They call them names. And sometimes they even go so far as to call the person out publicly and encourage others to send them hate.

The attacked becomes the attacker.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s “accepting” AT ALL.

People are unique. No two lives are alike.

Which means no one person can know another person’s experiences or what they’ve been through.

From background to class, gender to sexuality, race to nationality, we all have our differences.

So, is it that hard to imagine that someone’s opinions on a topic might be different than yours because the experiences they’ve had and the way they were raised has shaped their worldview?

It’s important that we learn how to discuss topics in a healthy way.

By getting everything out on the table and really trying to understand someone else’s ideology, we create an atmosphere that is more conducive to compromise. And as we all know, compromise is something that our government and world sorely need.

Moral of the Story:

Be open to others you disagree with.

Listen to different ideas.

Have a respectful debate.

Learn and grow.

You don’t have to agree with someone’s point of view, but you should at least respect that they have a right to say it.