Monday, February 13, 2017

Freedom without Tolerance Leads to Cultural Fossilization

No society can call itself truly free unless it listens to unpopular viewpoints and allows such viewpoints without fear of retaliation. In other words, for freedom to mean something other than anarchy or majority control, tolerance is a necessary component. If unpopular speech is chilled through inaction or action, tolerance is impossible.

Worst of all, people with unpopular but correct views will be unable--in practical terms--to contribute them into the mainstream for examination, denying society the benefit of intellectual diversity and progress.

Bonus: "After all, a minority exists to convince the majority to its way of thinking and often identifies flaws in a proposal that a majority doesn't see in its rush to adopt.  This is the fruit of deliberation and the essence of deliberative assemblies." - - U.S. Representative Tom McClintock, on why debate is essential to the legislative process.

Bonus: Spoke to a law professor today who said that "sucking up" to people is required everywhere in the world to succeed. I don't know if she understands if people in power--whether in politics, academics, or corporations--use such a value in determining relationships and hiring practices, not only will the main result be an army of "yes men and women" rather than merit-based culture, but genuine interactions will be stifled in the name of alleged societal hierarchy.

She genuinely believes that all countries require "sucking up" to succeed, even when I told her I've been to about 30 countries, and that's just not true. I wanted to say she believes her statement because she's a professor in a law school charging 55,000 USD a year, so her experience with human interaction on a level playing field is limited, but I don't think I would have convinced her. Unfortunately, people in bubbles cannot typically be convinced by logic or experience not within the realm of their own personal knowledge. Perhaps one way to help Americans broaden their horizons is simple: increase travel outside North America early and often.

Dedicated to Kathleen Ridolfi... a great professor at SCU Law. 

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