In a time where free speech and individualism are America’s greatest qualities, disagreement against many members of the left side of our political spectrum has begun to wrongfully dominate thoughtful discussion and societal progress. This clearly isn’t true for all liberals, but there remains hypocritical and extreme liberalism. People are practically forbidden to raise their voice against any concept of modern liberalism, creating a required discretion that right wing thinkers, or even moderates, must heed to when talking to various liberals about politics, diminishing values of freedom of speech and important intellectual processes.
I myself have been in situations where I feel uncomfortable in sharing my own political views when surrounded by “bullying” liberals. In the past couple weeks alone, I’ve watched crowds of people stampede through libraries and classrooms to disrupt the studying of fellow classmates in protest of the election, which is by no means at the fault of our university’s learning community. On election night, I saw someone get yelled at by various people simply because he said something in favor of Donald Trump. I became truly infuriated, though, when reading that one of my former high school teachers created offensive tweets on Twitter that called anyone who voted for the Republican party and Donald Trump “…by definition, a racist and misogynist” through an article by Jay Grossman in my local newspaper, the Detroit Free Press. Dozens of my friends voted for Donald Trump and are by no means racist or misogynistic, but defined as such by many liberals through their vote. This is a dangerous and unacceptable concept that chunks of modern liberalism have brewed in the minds of many American citizens.
A nation incapable of sharing their disagreements will collapse upon itself, but this seems lost amidst the mindsets of various liberal groups. TIME Magazine’s Kimberly Strassel expertly summarizes this ordeal in her article “The Liberal Hypocrisy of ‘Free Speech’”, writing “…many on the left are not above using intimidation and harassment to silence dissenting voices”. Some people are so delusional that they’re comparing Trump to Adolf Hitler, a man that insinuated the genocide of six million people, according to Daniel Halper’s “People Are Freaking Out Over Trump’s Victory” in the New York Post, even though actual members of the Democratic party, like Nancy Pelosi, are hopeful and believe they can “…work with the incoming Republican president”.
When one’s differing opinions are undermined because of the values of another, something needs to be done. Past philosophers warned us about this danger constantly. As Alexis de Tocqueville stated in Democracy in America, “democratic peoples always like equality, but there are times when their passion for it turns to delirium” (p.505), and how sameness “…robs each citizen of the proper use of his own faculties” (p.692). These two ideals reveal the detrimental aspects of people being forced to agree with one another, and J.S. Mill expands upon this perfectly in On Liberty whilst adding a plethora of other reasons as to why differing speech shouldn’t be discouraged. Mill wrote that one’s own opinion will become obsolete if not argued, as “…it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth” (p.34), and that various beliefs only hold relevance when disputed, for “…the struggle lasts to give the doctrine an ascendancy over others” (p.38). Though not an esteemed philosopher, Bill Maher of HBO reiterates these concepts in his own way, claiming that liberals who can’t be argued are babies “…who can’t stand to live in a world where you hear things that upset you” (Real Time with Bill Maher, January 2015).
Political discussion and difference should be encouraged, not dismissed, and this fundamental element is truly one of the crucial concepts that makes this nation so great. For a party that claims its stance is against oppression, extreme liberals of this generation are constantly oppressing and disrespecting those who disagree with them. No liberal, nor any other politician, regardless of how dedicated one is to his or her cause, should ever promote such behavior. Not only is it contradictory to liberalism’s purpose, but it also has a drastically negative effect on society and the necessary cooperation for the United States to continue thriving.