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Having an opinion is normal. Voicing your opinion is normal. Your opinion will offend someone. No matter what big tech, politicians, teachers, or those in any other influential sphere tells you, offensive speech does not equate to hate speech and self-censorship is the true enemy. So-called “hate speech” when it does not incite harm to an individual, is a good thing for society and the individuals within it, a lesson my generation needs to learn.
Differing opinions challenge our intellect to grow, to develop, to explore different routes of reasoning and help us relate to others on a deeper level. Heck, they even help us challenge others within our own sphere of influence, which causes them to dig deeper, which causes them to challenge others in their own spheres, and so on and so forth.
Millennials have been taught that if a differing opinion is presented to them that it is justifiable for them to equate it to hate, or if your feelings tilt from positive to negative, or your utopian safe space is poked by someone’s personal opinion that happens to differ from yours (go figure), that you can attack their character, threaten their livelihood or try to have them discounted as a reputable member of our world. This would have once been incomprehensible but has now become the norm in this culture of rage.
As a millennial, I’ve seen how my generation has been weaponized through one avenue that absorbs a great deal of our youth’s time: the “education” system. Educators are teaching that that rage culture is somehow virtuous: to label, and be labelled, is the peak of personal achievement and if anyone challenges the label you choose to wear, we are allowed to explode into a fury of—you got it—rage. This has helped in the creation of a culture of selfishness, absurdity and childish tweens living in adult bodies … did that statement offend you? Good! Learn from it, reflect on it and ask questions of yourself and of others.
Here’s just a small example of how rage culture forms: In several middle schools across Canada the “buddy bench system” has been implemented on playgrounds. This “system” teaches our kids to sit on a bench when they are upset in order to tell everyone how they are feeling instead of them being taught how to work through their emotions in order to gain a more favourable result for themselves, they are projecting to the world that those around them need to know their negative feelings and their friends need to change their actions to correct the situation.
Now let’s take a look at Boris Kizenko, Founder of High Schoolers for Freedom, he was attacked by pro-choice protestors for just trying to have a conversation in a public space. “It’s no surprise I was attacked because our schools push such radicalism. When students are trained to hate conservatives, they attack them,” said Kizenko. I will add that it’s not just conservatives being attacked, but those possessing any viewpoints opposite those who openly display their rage.
This is a disturbing trend that is becoming far too common in our society because of the seeds sown through our education system where feelings are the foundation that form our children’s “curriculum” instead of scientific facts firmly established in biology. Children come out of their classrooms without the knowledge to lead them further into life but indoctrinated by a code of feelings that leaves them confused, with the need to lash out and traumatized. As this way of teaching has progressed in our society, that your feelings are the compass to which your life is to be lived and others are to be perceived, you end up with what we are seeing on college campuses. It is becoming the norm for students to disinvite or violently protest speakers whose viewpoints do not match their own.
Let’s use Dr. Jordan Peterson as an example; he is a clinical psychologist, best selling author and a professor at the University of Toronto. When Peterson sought to discuss with students the idea that free speech is a good thing for all people and that Bill C-16 (a piece of legislation that would force the public to use specific language) would be detrimental to civil society, students screamed derogatory names, knocked over his speaker and openly condemned him for his conduct in taking part in what they call “hate speech.”
Another example is that of political commentator, Ben Shapiro who was disinvited to the University of California Berkeley (and then invited back after Shapiro threatened legal action). “Disinvitations” have become a steady trend within the college and university world over the last 15 years according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. They are a way for students and faculty to channel their immense disdain for those who do not hold fast to their ideals in order to block others from hearing the point of view they see as outrageous or dangerous to their worldviews.
We have abandoned moral absolutes and have started to look at life and the situations that impact us on a personal level through the lens of our feelings. Through the lens of our feelings, we funnel the truth, instead of considering the truth and figuring out why our feelings are counter to that of what absolute truth tells us. Did my stating “objective truth” instead of “your truth” offend you? Good! If it did offend you, that should be proof that you have been affected by our culture’s blueprint of “appease everyone and if that fails don’t speak at all.” Don’t take this all upon yourself, however, because there is an immense problem within our educational systems; they have prioritized touchy-feely agendas over the growth and enablement of minds through solid truths.
So, I ask you, if we truly value people and the ideas that have contributed to solving issues within our society for generations, then we need to start respecting others opinions and seeing them as possessing equal value as our own. While treating individuals who hold those opposing views with the same amount of respect as we would desire others to treat us with can be challenging, but it is an absolute necessity.
But, young people are waking up! As they are exposed to the truths that their educators sorely neglected to present to them, they are finding value in dialogue over rage. As I continue to see people choose to explore differing viewpoints than those force-fed to them throughout their time in institutions, they are like pockets of light that will help lead the way forward.