Something that might surprise most people is, that I feel uncomfortable when the people around me start to agree with me all the time. Either that or if I can tell there is a level of disagreement, bubbling below the surface, I want to call it out. While I understand that this may seem confrontational to most people, I hate the idea of being intellectually stagnant.
I think my most recent journey of this was going down the road to the US elections. All of my friends were saying trump would never win, he was racist, he was bigoted etc. So I found myself parroting many of the same things. After a while, I began to question where I based my opinions, and if these facts I held on to were even true.
“There is some point to ‘truth’, to the search for truth; and if a human being goes about it too humanely – “il ne cherche le vrai que pour faire le bien” (translated: He seeks truth only to do good) – I wager he finds nothing” – Frederick Nietzsche
So I began to dig deeper, the first fact I looked into was him saying that all Mexicans were rapists and thieves, when I looked into that I realised he had been misquoted, he had said that there were criminals coming over as part of the drug trade and that many of those people were rapists and bad people. When you think about that as an idea, calling drug barons degenerates, I think most people would agree with that on principle, even without any actual evidence. The hardest to refute, and from my perspective is the wall, whether or not it will be built, we will have to just “wait and see” to find out if Mexico will pay for it and indeed if it’ll happen at all.
Truth to me is beautiful because truth does not care what people think of it, truth does not judge, it just is, it exists. Ignoring the existential idea of truth I would say absolute truths exist, but we can only uncover aspects of them, never the whole thing, like the heads on Easter island, we see only the heads and not the body buried below the surface.
I used to disagree with the idea of certain facts being allowed to circulate because of the potential implications, that these ideas might make racists more seated and confident in their opinions. But I don’t think that’s the biggest issue any more.
To me, what is more, important is a free flow of ideas, facts secluded, can inform certain ideas. If people are given more facts on a particular thing, the closer to the truth the will become. Take the heads on Easter island, without digging down, and showing people what’s below the surface, you can only imagine what shape the status form. It might be simply the head, it might be a long rod, it could be a body. But until someone has seen this, all they have is imaginings.
Admittedly this hasn’t been a quick, or easy process, uprooting and changing previously held beliefs I believed to be solid and irrefutable, this process has taken years, but with careful research and discussion, I would say I am a far more informed person than I ever was.
So what do I say of “politically incorrect” but truthful statements? Say them, challenge people, if people can show the flaws in your idea with yet more facts, then great. But if they shout you down, call you racist, call you a bigot, you know that the true bigot is the person stood before you, not you.
As a last minute addition to this, in light of the recent events of the “expose” on Milo Yianopoulos, I feel my self-doubling down on this idea. Pushing harder to advocate for truth over feelings, and equality of opportunity as opposed to equality of outcome. We live in a strange time, where facts are seen as bigotted and lies are less controversial because they “won’t offend anyone” why tell a bald man he has hair, why tell a paraplegic they can’t run a marathon, unless these things can be possible then why should we lie to ourselves as it only causes more harm in the long run.
This recent press conference has made me question, even more, my usually relatively non-partisan expression. But don’t expect me to stand by while others tout lies as morally superior.