How Confident Are You in Your Convictions?
If you believe in something and hold onto that belief as one of your core principles, shouldn’t you be unafraid to defend it against contrary beliefs? If you can’t defend your belief, why do you have it in the first place?
We are now close to the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, and the news cycle has been full of good and bad (How much of each is up to your own opinions). One of the bad things, and one of the scariest things, is the reported rise in hate crimes against people like Hispanics, Muslims, Gays, etc. It seems like a rock has been turned over and all of the nasty, radical elements of political discourse have emerged. People who hold onto racist, homophobic, and xenophobic ideas appear to have been empowered by the rise of Trump. And they are now trying to bring their beliefs into the mainstream. As someone who believes in free speech for all, I have one opinion on this:
Let them come out in public bringing their outdated and broken ideologies with them, and let them face the full glare of the public light. Let them create proper accounts on Twitter instead of hiding behind throwaway accounts and harassing journalists. Let them come on national TV shows to take their views to as wide an audience as possible. Most importantly, let them be debated. If their views are out there for everyone to see and hear, people will begin to truly understand who these people are and what their beliefs truly are.
What Do You Have to Fear?
Why are you afraid of having ideas you think as abhorrent be discussed? If such ideas are truly bad, then people will see this and move away from them. Attempting to censor and silence those with opposing viewpoints only serves to empower them. No matter how deplorable you think they are, shutting down their speaking event or demanding they be banned from Twitter only gives them a moral high ground to fight you on.
If the rise of Donald Trump and subsequently the Alt-Right does empower people to spread intolerant views, I’d argue that this hurts them more than it helps. By them coming out in public to say and do things throws away the advantage they have in the war of free speech. They expose themselves. They are out in the open now, and if they can spew their beliefs, they should be prepared to defend them on the battlefield of open debate.
Everyone I know who believes in tolerant ideas and are against things like racism hold those beliefs closely. If we are all so confident in our beliefs and have the facts and reasoning to defend them, why do we refuse to debate them against people who hold contrary beliefs? Why do we play into their game by censoring them and labeling things that don’t faze them?
The best way to deal with people who you disagree with, whether they are a Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Liberal, Alt-Right, or a Regressive Leftist, is by giving them the full benefit of the public spotlight. You should have the confidence in your beliefs to believe that you can best them in an open debate of ideas. By suppressing their views, you only make your own positions seem like they could not stand through a debate. The only reason to suppress dissenting views is because you think they might be right. If you think people like the Alt-Right crowd are wrong, debate them and prove them wrong. After all, if you are so confident in your convictions, why don’t you defend them?