August 11, 2012
Are you, or is anyone you know, Politically Correct?
If so, you may want to consider the consequences.
Consequences, you say? What consequences?
Well, how about this one. Being politically correct runs the serious risk of you reducing yourself to a junk yard dog for the Thought Police. Are you the property of the Thought Police? Are they your masters?
No, you say. I am no one’s property but my own.
Oh, really? Well, here’s a test.
You hear someone saying, “I am against all of this illegal immigration. I absolutely believe when illegal immigrants are caught they should be deported back to where they came from”.
Or, “I can’t stand homosexuals. They make me sick. They are all going to go to hell”.
Upon hearing these things, how do you react? If you are a junk yard dog of the Thought Police, your reaction will be something like this:
“Woof!” “Woof, woof!” “There is somebody thinking incorrect thoughts! How revolting they are! I despise them! They must be corrected! I will go tell them how despicable they are and let them know they are not okay with me! I am entitled to do this because my masters told me so”.
If you are not a junk yard dog of the Thought Police, your reaction would be more along these lines:
“Whether I agree with them or not, everybody is entitled to their own opinion”.
Which of these reactions is closest to your own way of thinking?
This is no small thing. You may honestly believe that your politically correct opinions are your own, but they may not be. The more adamant you are about your popular politically correct opinion the more likely it is that your opinion is really not your own. The more intolerant you are of other people’s viewpoints and opinions, the more likely it is that you have been brainwashed into holding your politically correct opinion. To put it simply, you have been cultified. You have been Jim Jonesed. You are no longer you. You are the property of the Thought Police and will spend years of your life barking at, snarling at, attacking and reporting on anyone you run across who is thinking unauthorized thoughts. Is that really something you set out to be? An intolerant attack dog of the Thought Police?
Do you believe that what other people think needs to be policed? Do you believe that people with viewpoints other than your own are automatically bad? Do differing viewpoints offend you and make you angry? If so, why?
If I like yellow and you like blue, does it take anything away from you? No, it does not. The same is true even if I am a racial separatist. A militia member. A neo-Nazi. A felon. Even if I question the holocaust. Even if I am a Muslim, or an atheist, or a Christian or a Jew. Even if I’m a liberal or a conservative. The nature of the difference is irrelevant. I can feel 100% different about a barrel full of things than you do and it will not affect you in any way. It does not take anything from you. It does not prevent you from having your own thoughts and feelings and viewpoints. You will retain everything that is rightfully yours. It is not a threat to you in any way when I see things differently than you do.
My thoughts and opinions, viewpoints and beliefs have nothing to do with you. These are a part of my identity and I have every right to them, as much right as you have to yours. My beliefs coexist in this world with your beliefs, there is no problem here. So why then should you feel offended and angry at my rightful opinion? You could only feel offense and anger if you are intolerant of other people’s rightful opinions. Your intolerance is a form of aggression against me. You want to use force to try to take away what is rightfully mine. Now which of us is wrong? Who is harming who?
The simple reality is that everyone has their own thoughts and feelings and these are not up to anyone else to determine. I feel and think what I feel and think, and so do you. There is nothing wrong with this, it is normal and healthy and necessary. The one thing any of us have to offer is our own unique way of seeing things. It behooves us to listen to each other. If we don’t agree it doesn’t mean anything. It is not a reason to become enemies or to fight.
If we try to understand each other’s position we will probably be able to understand why we feel the way we do. Once we understand why certain feelings and beliefs are held, we can see that there are reasons behind them, that it’s not just senseless or hateful thinking. It may be misguided or mistaken, but we can understand that if we saw what they saw, we would feel the way they feel. This is not a crime. If we honestly care about justice and peace, then we are obligated to make the effort to understand other people’s positions.
Once we understand each other, we can see the bigger picture. We don’t have to agree or embrace each other’s beliefs. We can retain our individuality totally, but we can at least understand why we feel the way we do. We can see it is not a threat to us. We can simply agree to disagree. We can still be on courteous terms, we could even go out to lunch with each other. This is a good outcome. If we are civilized people we want a good outcome. We want to be able to get along with everyone we can. All it takes is some tolerance, some respect, and to make the effort to understand why other people see things the way they do. If we do this, the odds of experiencing good outcomes and improved relationships are much improved. We can still respect the person but disagree with their opinion. We must make room for one another because the alternative is destruction. Will we kill our way to happiness? It doesn’t work that way. It never has and it never will.
If we don’t even try to understand someone else, then how can we judge them? If we don’t understand why someone else sees things so very differently than we do, then we do not know the whole story. We only know our own side of the story. It is always a terrible mistake to tell ourselves that only our side of the story is the whole story. It is not. As long as there is someone else involved then they have a side of the story too. To ignore it or dismiss it without listening and apply our judgment to them is evil. That’s right. It is sheer evil.
It is evil because we don’t care about knowing the truth. When we don’t care about what the truth is, then we are lost in dishonesty. We are dishonest with our own selves. Who can we be without truth? What will we become when we don’t care what the whole truth is? Can we become wise and just when we don’t care about truth? No. We can only become ignorant and unfair when we care more about protecting our own position than we care about understanding the positions of everyone involved. This is the only way we can get to the whole truth.
But what do we do when somebody is saying something that we strongly disagree with?
Until you develop skills like tact and humor, there is only one acceptable way to respond, and that is to shut up. If you are incapable of letting someone have their opinion then the problem is with you, not with them. They are not doing anything wrong. They are not doing anything “to you”. If however you attack them for their thoughts and feelings then you are definitely out of line. You have no right to batter anyone with your fists or your words. After all, who the hell are you and what makes you better or right or anything else? You have no right to dictate what others must think or feel. You wouldn’t appreciate someone doing that to you, would you? Then don’t do it to anyone else. If you truly can’t tolerate what someone else is saying then leave. Be polite, but walk away. It’s really that simple.
Ostensibly, you hold your strong politically correct opinion because you want the world to be a better place. But if you truly want the world to be a better place then you must instinctively know that we can’t get there through violence, abuse and anger. We have to learn to accept one another as is and never make the mistake of stepping on people by dictating to them what they must think and feel. They are capable of doing their own thinking and feeling. It is not our place to dictate anything to anyone else. Policing other people’s opinions is not our job.
What our job is, is to learn how to handle it. Gracefully. Fairly. Objectively. Respectfully. That is, if that is the kind of world you want to live in. If that is the way you would like to be treated. If it is, then you had better treat others that way, and not just when it’s easy but when it’s hard. That’s when it matters most. That’s how we make real changes in this world, changes for the better. When we are fair with people. When we show respect for people by making human life more important than being right. When we make sure to preserve other people’s dignity when interacting with them and don’t feel entitled to tear into anyone for what they believe. There is no such right, I don’t care what your cause is or how strongly you feel about it.
Understand, this is not about what other people think, this is about you. This is about who you are. This is about the kind of person you are. Are you a good and decent person? Then act like one. If you behave like a bully, like a junk yard dog of the Thought Police, then that is what you are. That is not being a good and decent person. That is being oppressive and controlling, judgmental and small-minded. Hello? Think about it.
Letting other people be who they are is the most powerful truth in the world. Let them be who they are. Let each of us decide for ourselves what we think. If we don’t do that, if we slam doors in people’s faces, if we treat them with disrespect because of their beliefs, we are bringing misery into this world. We are bringing resentment and injustice into the world. We are forcing the creation of separation between equal beings, making some “good” and others “bad”. This is wrongful and destructive. It does not make the world better, it makes things harder for everyone. These are the seeds of war. What do you help by planting them?
It is so important to show respect to everyone, it is absolutely necessary. That we disagree with them is irrelevant, that is never grounds to treat people with disrespect or cruelty. How could it be? What nonsense. We are not the end all and be all of the world, no one is. We are not special, no one is. We are all equal beings. We all count. Regardless of whether or not WE happen to agree or disagree with anyone else we are still equal beings and we still deserve to be treated with respect.
As long as we can agree to disagree, we can find a way to get along. It is only when somebody somewhere decides they must have their way and refuses to show a basic respect for others that everything comes apart. That is when violence begins. Injustice, cruelty, torture, imprisonment, intolerance, taking sides, name calling, nasty lies, manipulations … all of the things that tear relationships, friendships, and nations apart.
Everyone deserves to be heard.
Every side must be given equal time to tell its portion of the story.
All sides must be considered before we can draw conclusions about anything.
It is far better to assume that everyone is at least partially right, rather than to assume only you are right. When everyone has a valid viewpoint, when everyone is right, we are much more likely to work together to find answers than we are if we refuse to acknowledge that other people actually have reasons for feeling what they do.
Political correctness is a lie. It is exactly the opposite of what it pretends to be. Political correctness is a method of controlling the minds of others. It is oppressive and deceptive. It turns people into monsters. It broadcasts orders to attack others, to behave with incredible selfishness and intolerance, it makes people feel entitled to behave rudely. What is “correct” anyway? Correct is different depending on the people looking at the equation. To be so arrogant as to presume that you are automatically correct and no one else can be correct is dishonest at best, and fascistic at its core. If you believe in freedom then being politically correct is a total contradiction. It can only be one or the other. Either you believe in freedom or you believe that people must be controlled by force. Which is it?
If what someone else is saying makes you want to get in their face or hurl labels at them like racist, or denier, then you must stop yourself and ask yourself one question, “What’s it to me what somebody else thinks?” Is it your problem what they think? No. Is it within your control to make them think otherwise? No. Is it your right to dictate to them what they should believe? No. Are you responsible for what anyone else thinks? No. Then why are you carrying their luggage? Let them carry their own luggage while you relax. It’s not yours to worry about.
You must accept that you have no power to change anyone but yourself. You cannot make people see things differently, at least not by attacking or disrespecting them. They will definitely not consider your perspective if you show no respect for theirs. You get back what you put out and if you put out a brick in the face don’t expect hugs in return.
It is also worth questioning why you feel the need to be so controlling of others. If you’re losing friends over disagreements in matters of opinion, maybe you need to look at you for a change. Maybe you need to mind your own business instead of somebody else’s business for a change. Why do you expect anyone to embrace your position in lieu of their own when all you do is come at them with insults and disrespect? You are only throwing gasoline on the fire when you do that, and yet you expect them to forfeit their honest beliefs and step over to your way of thinking? Is that silly or what?
No matter who anyone is, or what they think, treat them with the same respect you want to be treated with. It is never about them, it is always about you. Your behavior is all you have control over, are you doing your best? Really? Is showing off your intolerance for others something to take pride in? Or is understanding that everyone has equal rights to their beliefs something to take pride in? I’d say it’s the latter.
Anyone can be intolerant in the name of some greater good. Just like the Spanish Inquisition. Be careful who your masters are. If you don’t you will soon find yourself steeped in hate and self-righteousness even as you claim to be against them.
Bottom line: don’t ever let anyone else tell you what to think. Think for yourself. And when you get to the point that you can defend someone else’s right to their opinion, even though you disagree with what they’re saying, then you’ll have done more to do good in this world than you’ll ever know.