Through a Straw
America used to be a country that promoted tolerance and non-judgmental co-existence. We were taught to value all opinions, all points of view. But today our society has been taken over by self-righteous, woke hypocrites who inject their opinions into every possible subject, and pass swift judgement on anyone who disagrees with them. Saying or posting anything outside the approved narrative, will get you cancelled or fired by the woke-mob. How self-righteous does one have to be to cancel another human being? Are these people so close minded, and so sure of how right they are that any opinion different from their own must be silenced? The self-proclaimed tolerant, are the most intolerant of all; the so-called “non-judgmental” are the harshest judges.
But this is where we are in society today. Political and social dialogue no longer consists of an honest back-and-forth, where every side has an opportunity to state their case. Our “honest discussions” have devolved into “shut up and listen”, or telling a person or group of people they are wrong, and they are bad. The only political discussions allowed are the subtle variations within everyone’s echo chambers. We look at the world through a straw, from our narrow points of view.
There is a big world out there with so many different thoughts and ideas. We claim to place a high premium on diversity, but the only diversity allowed is that of identity; race, ethnicity, gender, religion. And we reject the greatest diversity of all, diversity of thought. Our minds are limitless while our racial, gender or even religious identities are very limiting.
Our minds are the greatest unexplored regions on Earth. And the best way to expand our minds and push the limits of our understanding is to open them up to new ideas, to a wide array of perspectives. Yet, more and more, we are doing the exact opposite. Instead of expanding our minds, broadening our perspectives, we are closing our minds, narrowing our points of view. When we view the world through such a narrow lens, we miss so much of what is real and true.
This is what the framers of our Constitution instinctively knew, and why they placed such a premium on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion, that they made them protected rights in the First Amendment. Unlike many of the elites today, they knew when speech is censored, and the media is corrupted, and religion is suppressed, society will start to decline, and eventually implode into itself.
We saw this in 2020. Most of the statements and questions concerning COVID-19 that were censored by social media and bullied into silence are being proven true, while the official narratives and devastating “solutions” promoted by bureaucrats are being proven wrong. For over a year, people who said the virus had escaped from a Wuhan lab, or that masks outside were useless, or that schools and businesses could be opened safely were called liars, conspiracy theory nuts, and even science deniers. Yet, many of these “nut-ball conspiracies” have been proven true. When we are only presented with single-minded, narrow view points like we were during COVID, we get what we got, the cure being more damaging than the disease.
But this lesson has not been learned by the people wielding power. The social media sites which censored true scientific facts about COVID last year, continue to suppress opinions they disagree with today. There is no humility to say, ‘I was wrong, and I will change.’ There is no attempt to present more opinions, or a variety of points of view.
Much is learned and our brains are strengthened when we consider new ideas even if the ideas are eventually proven wrong. The process of exploring different avenues of thought forces us to tap into different parts of our brains causing our minds and thought processes to become more elastic, more expansive. Learning what’s not right enlightens us as much as learning what is right. As Thomas Edison said about his failures, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways it won’t work.”
Chess Grand Masters mentally cycle through every possible move and their outcomes before deciding on which move to play. Playing out each move even the ones which show themselves to be ineffective or wrong strengthens the player, expands his chess acumen. But yet, the American public is being denied such an essential learning process because only one perspective, one point of view, the official narrative is presented.
Failure is the greatest teacher. We learn more from our failures, than our successes. We need to fail to grow. We need to fail to succeed. We also need the courage to risk failure, and the humility to admit failure. But many of us have become too afraid to fail. We are unwilling to challenge the prevailing narratives because if we fail, if we say the “wrong” thing, we could be canceled or even lose our jobs. Failure is no longer allowed. No apologies are accepted. No forgiveness is offered.
Maybe this is the end result of the participation trophy generation. When everything you do is validated and praised, when you get a trophy simply for showing up, you end up with a generation of people with an inflated sense of self, a distorted picture of reality, and an unwillingness to risk not being validated at every turn. If you’re never challenged, never told, ‘no’, you live like Hollywood superstars surrounded by yes-people who indulge your worst and most destructive instincts.
Our academic institutions have constructed “safe spaces” for their students so their opinions are never questioned, their echo chambers are never breached. They live safely in their insular world believing that everything they do and say is absolutely right. This indulgence has created a legion of holier-than-thou teenagers such as climate activist Greta Thornburg and gun control advocate David Hogg who live by the belief that, “everyone is entitled to my opinion.” They think that their few years on this planet has given them the superior knowledge to self-righteously lecture and judge the rest of us. They act as if the world began the day they were born. Most of their opinions consist of, ‘if you don’t do what we are telling you to do, you’re selfish.’
Greta Thornburg told the United Nations, “All you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” If you’ve never held a job, if you’ve never had to pay a bill, then money and the economy must seem like fairytales. Once again, if you only look at problem from a narrow point of view, the solutions offered will be more damaging, more life threatening than the problem. She believes it’s up to her and her generation to save the world. She said, “the grown-ups have failed us,… since our leaders are behaving like children, we [youth] will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago... We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed... if we don’t change, we’re f***ed.” She believes she is absolutely right, and anyone who disagrees with her is absolutely wrong. And she is willing to tear down society to implement her unassailable beliefs.
Recently, Lake Highlands, Texas valedictorian, Paxson Smith, chose to flout the rules of the graduation ceremony, and give a pro-abortion speech to the entire graduating class and their families. She knew she was the last speaker, and there would be no pushback, not counterpoint argument presented. No one to challenge her assertions, or expose her flawed logic. Just a one-sided argument. A guaranteed win. It was not an intellectual exercise in search of truth worthy of a valedictorian; it was a display of vanity commensurate with a participation trophy.
She said that she fears if she gets pregnant, “my hopes and aspirations and dreams and efforts for my future will no longer matter." She claimed there is a “war on my body” without acknowledging what happens to the baby’s body with her solution. In her 3 minute and 15 second speech, she used the word “I” twelve times and “my” or “me” nine times, but not once did she mention the baby with the beating heart, the beating heart that would be stopped by abortion. She only sees one future at stake with an unplanned pregnancy, hers. But there is another future at play, one that is equally valuable as hers, the baby’s future. But no mention of the baby’s lost future. Once again, when you only view a problem from one narrow perspective, the solution is more damaging than the problem.
In a recently released video, Greta Thunberg shouted “what about their thoughts and feelings!” Not referring to the 900,000+ unborn babies we kill each year, but all the fish we kill each year. She was trying to give humanity to a fish that people from her political ideology deny to an unborn baby. Abortion is a very complicated issue, but we can only fully understand its complexity, and honestly see it for what it is when we acknowledge that there are two lives, two futures, two perspectives at stake; the mother and the baby. It is just as close-minded and insensitive to ignore the life and future of the unborn baby, as it would be to ignore the life and future of the mother.
These are not courageous speeches; they are exercises in vanity. Both Thunberg and Smith knew they would be roundly praised and glorified by the glowing left-wing media. In her initial speech to the United Nations, Thunberg said, “How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” No matter how altruistic these people try to present themselves, they always come back to them, their dreams, their hopes, their aspirations; no one else’s. Theirs. It’s all about them. They are only capable of seeing situations from their point of view, how it affects them.
And this is why we have a President and Legislature who won their power with the thinnest majorities, but are governing strictly from their own narrow point of view, ignoring the will of tens of millions of American citizens are being harmed by their one-sided decisions. This myopic style of governance will only lead to our destruction because their solutions are much more damaging than the problems they are addressing. In America everyone has a right to their opinion, but only those who have the capacity to see an issue from all sides have opinions worth valuing.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He is a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.