In a utopian society of any political flavor I wouldn’t have to write something like this, but I feel the need to. Stop pretending to be open minded. This isn’t a hit piece of me making fun of progressives, although they are some of the worst offenders, this is some tough love for all of us. Many today claim to be tolerant and open minded and can handle a discussion with someone of a dissenting view. I call B.S. The truth is we don’t like hearing opinions that differ from our own, not even in the slightest. It’s why you see progressives turn nasty over healthcare in a matter of minutes, or tweets, or Facebook posts. Why conservatives dig their heals in over guns and the constitution, why libertarians throw their hands up in a rage when both sides fail to understand basic economic principles.
Echo chambers can be hazardous to ones intellectual growth, but I am no longer certain that they are a bad thing per say. Some of us simply cannot handle political discourse. Some are not interested in hearing alternative solutions, because they have already been sold on another. Sad? Sure, but only from a certain point of view. Even those of us brave enough to venture out of our own camps and go behind enemy lines have our breaking point. For example, I refuse to watch anything that has to do with Rachel Maddow, I can’t do it her opinions are dumb. Even among libertarian circles I walk away. It’s no secret how I feel about political parties, it’s no secret how I feel about the national LP and it’s chairman. So when some partisan bonehead tells me I must not love liberty and that I hate freedom because I don’t always vote LP and I won’t join the LP. Yet, I still rally behind the idea of tolerance.
Being tolerant doesn’t mean you accept or recognize someone’s beliefs, it means that you recognize their right to think the way they do even if you don’t understand why they think the way they do. So stay in your echo chamber if you want to, go toe to toe with your socialist college professor. Have a conversation about religion with a conservative, if you can handle that fine, but don’t pretend that you don’t have limits or that you can handle every conceivable view. Being tolerant and being open minded are two different things in my mind. Many of us may be tolerant, but virtually none of us are open minded.
We all have an area that we don’t want to have challenged. For progressives it’s the notion that maybe that more government spending and control is a bad thing. Many progressives refuse to entertain a discussion about social security or healthcare. For conservatives it’s the notion that shooting rockets at terrorists might have negative consequences. For libertarians we don’t like to hear that we truly don’t know if limited government policies will actually have the affect that we think they will. We all have flaws, that’s part of what makes us individuals. All ideologies have weaknesses. Stop pretending to be open minded, none of us really are. We don’t like different opinions, and that’s ok. You don’t have to be open minded.