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Are Our Opinions Original, or Is Society Dictating Our Beliefs?

Before we as humans advanced in how we treat others and ourselves, racism, sexism, and homophobia were all completely normal things. These were all topics that everyone felt the same on, and if you didn’t, you were cast out and called impractical and rude. Nowadays, everyone has this opinion and that statement about freedom of speech and pride and equality, and if you were racist or homophobic, you were cast out as well. So have we really advanced? Or did all we just change directions? Is how others think rude, or just controversial?

Now, I’m not saying these other people are justified. It’s not really okay to judge someone by the color of their skin, their race or their sexual orientation; but has this new era blinded us? Has it filtered out the fact that if you really think about it, everything this generation believes in was once rude and irrational? Whenever people’s opinions differ (in a non-drastic way) we are usually quick to say “We all have our opinions, and I am not going to judge you based off yours.” So why has this statement turned into “You’re just a rude person and need to change your way of thinking” as soon as someone controversial steps in? But either way, shouldn’t it all be the same? I mean, way to preach equality and bite your own tongue!

This is sort of like a paradox. You can’t be completely judgement free because the people we are trying not to judge are full of controversy/judgments. Similar to Karl Popper’s Paradox of Intolerance, which states that the whole world can’t be completely tolerant because something you would need to tolerate is intolerance. (Here’s more information on the Paradox of Tolerance) It’s all so very confusing, but philosophical and true at that. Many people have tried to come up with solutions to this paradox; to find a way and show that it’s less eye-opening than perceived. But with all the research and data put into the thought of this idea, everything is accounted for. There really is no situation we can be put in that excludes the effects of the paradox and/or the paradox itself. Sure, there are ways you can approach it, but none that contradicts the idea. Just the same as there isn’t anything that can be done to contradict the point that our opinions developed from what our past society has come up with.

The main question brought to the surface when referring to the said paradox is ‘Should a tolerant society tolerate intolerance’, and that is similar to the question that this article focuses on. Here we are, talking about whether or not controversial statements are as tolerated as we think they are and the question I bring to the stand is “Should an equality-based society accept the things they don’t agree with, being that those things are in a heightened sense?” Or basically, should racist or homophobic people be outlasted for doing exactly what they can, and that is to think however they want to think and feel just the same. So what I think this all boils down to — Can our society truly be equal?

When asked this, Walter Petrovic said, “There is no system on earth that allows for equality. Sure, we will have some nations with Constitutions which declare all men (people) are created equal, but the reality is you always have someone who is another person’s boss.”

What I take from his statement is that there is always going to be someone to be compared to, or to relate more to the relevant question of this article, there is never to be a society who is completely judgement free.

So with that, I give you the answer to the title along with a residual thought. Although we all try and be judgement free, is the accomplishment truly possible? Or in better wording, do we treat others with controversial beliefs the same way we treat people with similar beliefs to ours?



Featured Photo by LaTerrian McIntosh on Unsplash

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Victorya Strong
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Hello:) I'm Victorya, and I'm a writer from Arizona. I hope you like the things I write, and Affinity Magazine as a whole:)

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