As we enter the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, there is a wave of dogmatic thinking, ideas and actions that disallows anyone to dissent. This is very troubling. A society which is intolerant to dissent is decadent, backwards and filled with fear.
To dissent is an a priori gift of reason. Ratiocination will always bring dissenters along, for to reason is to think for one’s self and surmise independently. To expect everyone in society to think the same way is a recipe for dissension That’s how illogical dogmatic prerequisites are.
Two simple examples will demonstrate this issue. The safety and efficacy of vaccines and the causes of climate change. Let me begin by saying I am pro vaccine, I believe the idea of immunizing our bodies against disease is a very logical and beneficial path toward health. I also believe the climate is changing. To think it is not is unreasonable. The climate changes every day and every season and every generation. Climate change is a poor name if it involves anything else. It used to be called global warming, but that did not suffice because it is not wholly clear the planet is actually warming in the long term. Some say we are entering an ice age. And it would be unreasonable to deny that human actions alter the climate. But to question and consider that perhaps the climate is also changing on its own accord, in spite of our actions, seems reasonable.
Aside from these admittances, I have way too many questions to get in line, I must dissent. Until evidence proves otherwise and my questions are answered with reasonableness, I will keep digging into and investigating these issues.
But my point here isn’t to argue for or against either specific issue, or any of the other contentious issues we face today. My point is that we have arrived at a place of intolerance of opposing views and that damages our society and culture, cracking the foundation of reason and sovereign living. This is a dangerous trend that leads to totalitarian thought police.
An easy deep look into the plethora of university cancellations of speakers, violent protests which are protected by the universities, and the curricula of dogmatic thinking which has omitted free speech in various fields such as gender, race, sexual assault, etc., show that we are on a slippery slope toward totalitarianism. Ironically, this slope is enabled by “left” thinking which used to be considered liberal. Even though we have a conservative leader who often spews vitriol to the masses, the “liberal” leaders spew the same kind of venom, but worse, have created an ideology of authoritative superiority that has eliminated real debate. This reciprocation of hatred and faulty thinking, of spurious acting and illogical foundations from both sides of the political aisle, caused me to rethink our political system and to opt out decades ago.
One can say, and many do, that dissenters of climate change or of the safety of vaccines, are ignorant of the evidence. That the “evidence is overwhelming”. The “science is settled”. Etc… Anyone who states that the science is settled regarding any issue is a small thinker. Science, if it does anything well, overturns itself. History is replete with these stories, so we won’t interject them here. Science is open-ended. Science is a continuous process of discovery.
Just consider please, really consider, how history would have unfolded if the science was settled that the Earth is flat. Just consider all the scientists who dissented the various earlier understandings of the way our world works and discovered a more accurate but opposing view. And then consider those who were persecuted and murdered for their dissenting points of view. Christians base their beliefs on one of the mightiest dissenters of all time. Yet, how many Christians hold dissenters in tolerance? Not just tolerance of different religious beliefs but dissension in general, of these two issues above, and the multitude of issues folks disagree on.
Dissent, I say. Keep dissension as a fundamental key to a reasoning society. Fear not the judgements and repercussions. Live in trust and love. Be willing to stand for what you believe. And if you don’t know what you believe, investigate it. Question. Search. Be an active participant of the community you live in. Know that a community that does not think is an unsafe and unsound community. Question the intention and ramifications of all the hyper entertainment and fictional screen time being thrown at us today. Question the intolerance of the main stream views.
Remember that watching movies, TV, or much of social media hardly requires much thinking. The thinking is done for you and the statements are made. Little is left to the imagination. Worldviews are changing, materialism is being challenged at every turn, and the scientific method is morphing as the limitations of current scientific practices are being called into question. In this environment, it is highly important that we remain an open society to all views. Lest we fall into a sink hole we cannot recover from without extreme pain and suffering. Tolerance and compassion are necessary for good living and good community. And, most importantly, as the American founding fathers stated and warned, democracy only works in a literate and informed society. But society doesn’t educate itself, individuals do. When enough individuals educate themselves, society will achieve “informed” status.