Chances are that you’ve heard about a television show being canceled, a book being removed from stores and libraries or someone getting fired after having an opinion or making some sort of statement that “offended” someone in some way. While this used to be a relatively unusual practice in society, over the last few years it has gained steam. This is a big problem.
In the past, mature adults and well-adjusted young people would take a simple and reasonable approach to ideas and statements they didn’t like. If something came on television that they didn’t like or didn’t agree with, they would simply use that magical device called a remote to change the channel to more suitable content. But now, for some people, that’s not good enough. Not only do we have to have the option to avoid and not purchase things we don’t support but we have to attack them and force them out of existence in some ways.
This is a direct assault on the single most basic freedom afforded in the United States Constitution - the First Amendment and freedom of speech.
A healthy and productive society allows for diversity. Sure, we are all about diversity when it comes to race, gender and sexual orientation. However, when it comes to diversity of thought, it is an entirely different situation. Now more than ever the diversity of ideas, one of the most fundamental elements of learning and understanding, is under attack. It is becoming more and more common that people feel like they have to walk on eggshells to avoid anything that could even have the slightest appearance of objectionable views or ideas.
Do you know what kind of societies force this reaction? The kind that imprison citizens for speaking unflattering statements against governments. The kind that cut off limbs or even behead people for engaging in something they feel to be an insult to a particular religion. The kind that control every aspect of what you see in the media and are allowed to search on the Internet. Those are the kinds of societies we are talking about and the kinds that we are sadly moving toward.
Sometimes, the objection to something isn’t even based in fact at all. It is about assumption. When that is the case, it often tends to be someone trying to start trouble and inject a problem where none is actually there at all. For example, I was at an event in which a supposedly educated woman with a PhD who was the featured speaker made an outlandish statement about “The Lion King” animated movie. She states that if one observes the colors of the lions, they will find that the darker lions are the bad ones and the lighter lions are the good ones basically alluding to a built-in racist agenda at Disney. Crazy right?
This also has the negative tendency to hurt businesses which in turn hurts jobs and families. When whining shuts down a television show, it costs everyone on that show their livelihood. When people want a restaurant closed down, it impacts the workers and those who relied on that place for food. By now you should get the idea.
What has always been one of the first things leaders do to try to control people? The answer to that question is the burning or banning of books. This was something conducted through the China's Qin Dynasty in China around 210 BCE, the destruction of the Library of Baghdad in 1258, the Burning of Jaffna Public Library in Sri Lanka in 1981 and of course actions taken in dictatorships like Nazi Germany. We are basically seeing a modern version of the same practice.
This needs to end now!
While opinions and ideas can be controversial, having an opinion or idea should not be. It is as simple as that.