The United States (now there’s an oxymoron) in 2018 is a very, very confusing place. Questioning and discussing ideas is the most basic social mechanism for moving society forward, and yet some topics appear to be off limits. I’m not talking about everyday life, I’m talking about academia and science. This is just madness, and I’m not sure how we got here. Censorship of ideas and demonizing those who would dare to question the status quo is never a good thing.
Because here’s the problem: the world and the humans who inhabit it are extremely complex. If it can be difficult to parse facts and interpret research for smart people who specialize in doing so, where does that leave the rest of us?
It leaves us with a responsibility to work hard in an effort to understand our world, that’s where. And in doing so it requires that we remain open and respectful of others, even when we don’t want to. It also mandates that we question our own beliefs, and be willing to change them as necessary.
I am not talking about core values here; xenophobia and racism are not up for discussion. But their effects on society are. And discussion of how to mitigate their influence and of their place in history most certainly are.
None of this is simple but if we have any hope of moving forward we must learn to listen and think very carefully about what we are saying.
All ideas are not equal – just don’t always assume yours is the better one.
Oh, and BTW – you’re probably not as smart as you think you are, so at least try to be thoughtful and respectful.
You might actually learn something.