Neither left nor right can handle the demands of liberalism

No matter how much we think we are right, we should never stop engaging each other on these sensitive topics with the hope of bridging our differences. | Benz De Marshall Pierre, PantherNOW

Benz De Marshall Pierre | Staff Writer

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but part of living in a civilized and modern society requires that we practice self-restraint regarding our views. 

We see that it’s typical for many to show that they lack the necessary temperament to deal with the demands of a multicultural and complex liberal society. Contrary to what we may think, the left is guilty of this as much as the right is. 

By liberalism I don’t mean an economic ideology that advocates for a lesser or no government involvement in the economy. Rather, I mean a moral philosophy that places the rights of the individual at its heart. It’s unfortunate to see that we have become so entitled to our views that we have perverted its meaning in our society.  

I’m sure that by now we can all recount at least one instance when we witnessed one of the symptoms of our cultural malaise. 

After the Civil Rights Movement culminated in the right to vote for African Americans, several other groups came to the fore asking that their rights also be recognized. Women and members of the LGBTQ+ community were two of the notable groups that too wanted to be recognized as individuals with their own aspirations and viewpoints. 

After several decades, both groups have made important strides. Women have graduated from college in record numbers, with 58.6% of all bachelor degrees conferred were given to women, while on the other hand, the US Supreme Court recognized the right to same sex marriage. 

But these accomplishments have caused a cultural backlash which may be proof that we were not prepared for these waves of change. 

Both sides of the political spectrum stand firmly by their views, and act in ways that delegitimize the other.  

On the left, cancel culture has gotten out of hand. It was originally intended to be a tool to help fight against perceived injustices, but now nonsensical excesses have turned it into a spiteful movement where people take pleasure in crushing anyone for the most trivial of things. 

On the other hand, the right does not realize that people have a right to express their disagreement in the best way they know how. It’s the people’s right to punish a comedian who endlessly goes after transgenders or one who makes distasteful jokes about women

In the same vein, it’s also their right  to boycott a retail store for a clothing line that markets a product that goes against their value. 

The issue is that we became so entitled that we have allowed our values to cloud the fact that others do not feel the same way. What normally should have been handled by just a shrug of one’s shoulder, is now blown out of proportion.

We don’t just refrain from enjoying or purchasing certain things for their political message, we have to let the world know that it deserves to be canceled. 

Obviously, we also have the right to voice our opinion, and be as uncompromising as we want about what we feel most passionate about. However, being inconsiderate of others’ viewpoints simply deepens our ideological division. 

But what should we do about this? A former classmate once asked me that very question. My answer to him is the same now as it was then. We simply must approach our political differences with humility. 

No matter how much we think we are right, we should never stop engaging each other on these sensitive topics with the hope of bridging our differences. We should also know that no one has a monopoly on all the solutions to what ails the modern world. 

We should all be careful not to let our viewpoints and our unique experiences blind us to the point of creating an ideological gap between us and other people. 

Since there are often no laws against our ideological excesses, we might be tempted to abuse our rights. The price we would pay for this abuse is life in a mean and depressing culture where civility has been diluted. 

There can be no surer way to ruin our strong civic culture, other than by being possessed with our opinion to the point of not caring a morsel about what others think. 


The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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