Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Bigotry vs. Truth

“It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.”

—G.K. Chesterton 

In response to the objections from religious groups to certain government actions, the common response is to either:
  1. Praise the religious group if you agree with them on that issue.
  2. Condemn the religious group if it goes against your political ideology.
There’s no real attempt to investigate whether one’s own politics are actually wrong. Many assume they are right and, if someone dares take a view that an ideology is wrong, these people savage them and accuse them of holding their views out of malicious intent.

Bigotry can be defined as, “obstinate or intolerant devotion to one's own opinions and prejudices.” Unfortunately, many seem to think it means “hostility to a certain group.” (This is actually prejudice, not bigotry). Then we see people argue that people from a currently trendy “protected group” can’t be bigoted when they express intolerance for those they disagree with.

Seeking truth is different from blindly holding to one’s own views. I can oppose something as morally wrong without being a bigot. I become a bigot when I assume that whoever holds a different view from me must actively be evil, rather than mistaken.

(A popular meme, mocking online accusations of intolerance when others disagree)

I think the problem is we’ve lost sight of the need to investigate what is true. We need to ask ourselves whether we properly understand an issue and whether we actually understand what our opponents believe and why. If we do understand, we can still say something is wrong. But understanding means we won’t automatically assume whoever disagrees is secretly a Nazi or an Antifa.