Diversity of opinion


Photo illustration by Andrés Pimentel.

Andrés Pimentel, Staff Writer

Our ability to debate and defend, argue and counter argue has boiled down to a tribalistic extremism.

Like so many issues today, there’s a general consensus to disagree based on political affiliation. We agree to disagree.

The general consensus, makes diversity of opinion offensive. It breaks the space for intelligent debates and leaves people thinking that because their opinion is the same, discussion is inconsequential. Each side has extremes. Breitbart spreads fear, while Russian Telecommunications, Redacted Tonight calls Trump Hitler.

We need to accept that not everyone has the same opinion, that’s all that separates as human beings, it’s what makes us unique.

When silence becomes the most reasonable option many voices are lost.

Furthermore, ideas need to be challenged to stay fresh and relevant. Ideas need to evolve and when there is a homogenization of thought, there is no room to grow.

If everyone has the same opinion and no one is questioned, they become stagnant. There is no innovation, no evolution and the collective consciousness becomes an untouchable norm. Change is needed to improve society and if everyone is in the same sinking boat there is no change.

This state of collective agreement makes for a complacent world view.

How can the collective consciousness of a population further if our opinions are not challenged and forced to grow, when we stop questioning the world around us?

Overall, fear of offending people is great for keeping everyone happy (or rather unoffended) or even worse: blissfully ignorant.

It works much the same as Facebook’s ad algorithm, which essentially says, “You liked this? Here’s more of it!” One will get the same news over and over from a mellow, clickable, concurring-with-your-own-views-and-positions ad or headline. Because the algorithm finds your likes and simply gives you more of the same in an effort to get you to “like” or buy something.  Or you’ll receive ads related to something you just bought.

Santa Rosa Junior College Political Science professor Janette Benfarhart says, “Have we lost the ability to have a conversation in the polarized media world?”  

This mirrors safe zones: similar ideas encouraging more of the same thing and like the loop of Facebook ads. The combination of these things makes for an unevolved bubble.

You can have your own opinion and state it without the fear of offending anyone. You shouldn’t measure your tongue by the ease of offense.

When the general consensus makes diversity of opinion offensive, it breaks the space for intelligent debates and leaves people thinking that because their opinion is the same, discussion is inconsequential, nothing in excess is good and the same goes for political correctness.

Benfarhart added that the problem isn’t so much in political correctness, but rather that “people have run off to their media silos.”