We have no single politician, news outlet, public figure, or institution to blame for the contentious spirit that currently grips our nation. Ultimately, we have lost a single necessary ingredient of free society that allows people of different beliefs and viewpoints to be able to function and live alongside each other: respectful disagreement.
These days disagreement is seen as a personal attack and a fundamental assault as opposed to simply a differing perspective. Instead of viewing someone’s disagreement as an opportunity to broaden horizons and more fully comprehend the full spectrum of conclusions and rational thought, which different people are inevitably going to maintain on any given question, we have come to view disagreement as the way to spot the enemy.
That’s why people shout down those they disagree with and why so many people become so offended when confronted with opposing thought. It’s viewed as a challenge to their own beliefs and conclusions and an existential threat to their ideology and identity. With this response, it’s natural to seek to silence and suppress those with dissenting viewpoints and it’s natural to believe that those who voice disagreement do not deserve to be heard out and maintain no legitimacy.
Is it any surprise that in this atmosphere it is the bombastic, the crude, the aggressive, and even the violent who rise to power and influence?
This article is taken from a segment of the June 9th issue of From the Hawk’s Nest, a bi-weekly newsletter written by Justin Stapley.