If you’ve dared to voice any opinion that dissents from mainstream progressive narratives over the last few weeks, I probably don’t need to tell you how easily others get offended when you do.
More and more lately, opinions that are deemed “hateful” by the progressive leftist intellectual powers that be are being shut down rather than debated.
This troubles me.
I think that online debate can often be quite fruitless and demoralizing, but it’s still debate.
Meanwhile, when Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) penned a rather sober-minded op-ed in the New York Times last week explaining that the Insurrection Act could be invoked to call in the military to deal with the largescale civil unrest that had broken out in a number of major US cities in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, employees of the once-great legacy media outlet were enraged.
Not that he’d presented some terrible argument, but that it was published in the first place. They literally said that his views put black employees of the Times in danger.
I actually hadn’t agreed with calling in the troops when I read Cotton’s op-ed, but I thought he argued his point very well and saw that he was most likely right.
In my own experience, I’ve been attacked online for very carefully, politely worded comments stating simply that, as awful as Floyd’s murder was, there was no evidence that it was racially motivated, so if we’re going to combat racism, let’s do so where it actually exists instead of risk giving fodder to those who claim it doesn’t.
Both Tom Cotton and I (and I totally flatter myself by putting us in the same category) were expressing opinions based on what we perceive to be truths. In Cotton’s case, he was arguing that constitutionally, should the troops be brought in to quell the riots and looting for the sake of protecting the American people, it would be justified. In my case, I was arguing that, given the complete lack of evidence, perhaps it was intellectually irresponsible to assume that Floyd’s killer was also a racist.
Truth matters. Evidence matters. Well-constructed arguments matter.
In the words of the great (and snarky) Ben Shapiro, “facts don’t care about your feelings.”
If people have emotional reactions to the truth that we state, this is all the more reason to continue to speak the truth.
Because they are using their emotions to try to invalidate our arguments when they do not have their own facts or well-constructed arguments to bring to the table.
At the same time, we do not need to take feelings out of the equation. There is simply a very big difference between showing compassion for someone who is genuinely hurting, which we absolutely should be able to do, and allowing their emotions to supersede our arguments or the undeniable truth of any situation, factual or moral.
I am urging you to speak the truth, but to speak the truth in love.
I am begging you not to be afraid to state what you know to be good, and pure, and true, and to do so lovingly and with compassion and concern for other people.
As blogger Samuel Sey said this week, “Mourn with those who mourn. Love and comfort those who mourn. But do not twist scripture to manipulate others into agreeing with sinful reactions and false teachings from those who mourn. We can mourn with those who mourn and speak the truth in love at the same time.”
This world needs more people who are unafraid to speak the truth, not less. We cannot be silenced simply for the sake of protecting emotions. It truly lacks compassion to forsake the truth for the sake of being kind. Speak the truth, and speak it kindly.
Let me just say, this is something I have to work at daily, and probably fail more often than not. So if you struggle with this too, you're in good company. But I do know that, nonetheless, it is still the most moral option for those of us who know there are important truths to tell.
It is getting harder and harder to speak the truth without offending someone, but that’s precisely why we need to do it.
Please don’t stop speaking what you know to be true.