The Right To Debate



There is something to be said for rage. There is something to be counted for in that unadulterated anger and lack of tolerance that we all possess. I find that we are a weaker people, a far more worried and far less riled people in this new modern era. It is not a brave new world that we have forged but a timid and bland one where we constantly worry about the chance of offence. Offence is good, it is necessary and it is needed if we are to grow. While we sit here and ponder every word for fear of offending we have ceased to really and truly think.

What do we get from offensive thought or offensive behaviour? We get a world of argument, a world of criticism and growth through that criticism. Think about all the great minds, the revolutionary minds of history. None of these people accepted convention, none of them tip toes through the morass of normal thought. They stood like giants, like titans amongst mankind and because of them a future was created.

The great scientists screamed and railed against common beliefs and common perceptions. They fought, they argued, they were humiliated and jailed all for daring to think truly outside of the box. We have an entire period in our history devoted to the acts of those few who raised us to our modern level. The Enlightenment. This was the time that all things were up for question, when all things were food for debate. Mankind had finally discarded the shackles of superstition and took their first brave peek into the world beyond. And what a world it was.

But they did not get this for free, it did not come easily and it did not come cheaply. Galileo understood something that we all take for granted, that the earth revolves around the sun. For his brilliance, his insight and his deductive powers he was branded a heretic and jailed. Again the minds of the mediocre imprison the mind of a giant. We look back in history at all the examples where thought has been stifled and we shudder. We look at the ignorance, the slavish devotion to idiot ideals and we say a silent prayer that it is not like that now.

But it is. And in some ways it is worse than ever.

Now we mask censorship and control under such nebulous terms as multiculturalism and tolerance. We end debate or worse, attack people for even wanting debate under the sinister and malevolent stare of political correctness. There are so many topics that you just cannot discuss, there are so many things that you dare not breach for fear of being ruined financially, treated as an outcast and a criminal and expelled from whatever position you hold.

This is a power that we have not seen since the inquisition. It is an affront to all the things that a democracy holds dear and that free men and women died to defend. The right to debate anything!

If I say that ‘A’ is better than ‘B’ then I must defend my position. I must be able to support my views with facts, with arguments and with reasons. If I cannot support it then I am subject to a most deserving criticism. But where are we now? If I say ‘A’ is better than ‘B’ then there is no debate. I am a racist, a sexist, a malcontent, an enemy of peace and good order. It is not the answer that is forbidden, it is the very question that cannot be raised.

And this is where we should be enraged. This is where we should as men and women of good conscience raise our voices in a collective scream. If there is any reason to form protests and marches, to light the torches and to hoist the banners it is this one. It is this removal of our most intrinsic right to argue and to disagree. We have been censured, we have been quieted and controlled before the act even occurs by the laws of political correctness. We have abandoned our ability to reason, to think and to fight and instead passed that authority over to mindless lawmakers whose only concern is to be re-elected.

We should be enraged and allowed to be enraged instead of told to be quiet, be compassionate and be tolerant of everyone and everything regardless of how evil, pointless or stupid they may be. I have had enough; I refuse to subjugate my mind and my authority over my mind to those I do not think up to the task. I will have contrary opinions, I will disagree and if you ask me then God help you, I will tell you them. I will rage and fume and scream and rant. I will argue and debate and think for myself. I will not accept pre-canned rationalizations and arguments for the sake of any government sponsored thought process.

I have a right to dislike you. I have a right to think that you are an idiot and you have the right to return the favour. We must, we absolutely must hold these things dear to us if we are to survive and grow. We must return to a mindset of not accepting, of not agreeing and of not always seeking the easiest and most comfortable way out.

Life is hard for a reason. It is hard so that we may grow. If it was always seventy two degrees and the trees filled with plentiful and ready food then we would still be sitting naked under them today. It is because of the snow and the heat, the rains and the dangers that we have accomplished and built the world we live in. We were forced to move, forced to learn and strive and that is what makes us great. Not the easy acceptance, not the generic mentality but the ideals and ideas of the individual.

Disagree with me, disagree with everything I have to say but do so of your own free will, of your own free reasons. Hate me, love me, idolize me or ridicule me but do so with a mind that works. The great Voltaire said of his nemesis “I disagree with everything he has to say, but I would fight to the death for his right to say it”. This is what we need to remember, this is what we have lost slowly over time.

So many died, so many suffered for the ideals of freedom. So many have gone through hardships unimaginable to give us the basic freedoms to disagree with one another. And yet we ignore their pleas, we forget their struggles and we consign them to little more than a footnote in a ‘modified’ history book. Their ideals are out of place. Their arguments are dated and no longer fashionable. They speak of intolerance and politically unsavoury subjects. Thank the stars they existed at all. You would not be able to destroy them, to trample on their accomplishments and discard the glories they created, if it was not for the world they made.

And that alone is enough to be enraged about.
©2002

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