February 25, 2016

Valuing Diversity of Thought


I'm not going to unfriend, unfollow, or block anybody on social media solely because of which political candidate they like. I'm also not going to use my small corner of the Internet to call them names because they might prefer a different candidate to ones I prefer. And yes, this is true even if I strongly disagree with their choice of candidate or find the views of their preferred candidate objectionable or "problematic" in some way.

Since this approach seems so unusual on today's Internet, I recognize that a bit of explanation might be warranted. Fortunately, the explanation is very simple. When I say I value diversity, this includes more than considerations of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and the like; it includes diversity of opinion, preference, and viewpoint. I believe that my ability to interact with reality and to learn from life experience is greatly enhanced by my willingness to encounter views with which I disagree or find objectionable. And so I will continue to seek opportunities to encounter perspectives which are different from my own. As a freethinker, I believe this is essential for growth.

I'd like to add one more thing to this brief post, since it is bound to come up. What I am describing here is a choice I am making for myself. It is not one I am seeking to impose on you. You must make your own choice, and I recognize that freethought may not be for everyone. You are perfectly free to create a "safe space" for yourself where you attempt to minimize the chances that you will come in contact with views you do not like. I may question the costs and benefits of such a choice, but I recognize that it is yours to make. All I ask is that those of you making such a choice recognize that you are making it for yourselves and do not seek to impose it on others (like me) who do not wish it for themselves.

This post was updated in 2020 to improve clarity and replace broken links.