So What You Are Saying Is …   9 comments

How do you see yourself vs how you think other people see you?

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In today’s world, there is a growing trend to ascribe evil to anyone who espouses opinions or provides facts that disagree with your worldview. People can agree on all points, but one and when they disagree on that one point, the dissenter is then labeled evil and ostracized from the relationship.

Peterson

So this question of how we are perceived by others compared to how do we perceive ourselves is of vital importance.

It sucks to be misunderstood, but it kills to be mis-characterized. Those are two different things, of course. I can misunderstand what you say or mean when you make a comment. This is especially true on social media where there’s no body language or tone of voice to convey sarcasm, for example. We would hope such misunderstandings could be cleared up by reflecting on what the dissenter has said and asking pertinent questions with a view to actually listen to the answers. Unfortunately, that skill has long been replaced with close-minded attacks that ascribe disagreement on even a single point as a lack of character that requires sustained personal attacks or the refusal to interact.

For example, I am a natural rights advocate and therefore, I hold freedom of speech and religion as high standards that government should not interfere with … EVER. Misunderstandings only grow when we don’t talk about our differences and, sometimes, when we listen to those we don’t agree with we discover that we need to change in order to be a better person. I’ve had this experience myself. I’ve also learned things about others that have made me their opponent, standing against their message, but never arguing that they don’t have a right to speak. That way leads through dark woods wherein any of us might find ourselves a silenced minority if it’s our turn to be labeled inappropriate. I’d rather everyone’s right to speak be acknowledged so that reason may be left free to combat wrong ideas. You have a right not to listen, but that right extends only to walking away from a message or sticking your fingers in your ears and singing “la-la-la-la.” So, naturally, I’ve been called a Nazi.

Well, more accurately, I’ve been said to support neo-Nazis and to ascribe to their message. Why? Because I uphold the principle of the right of every individual, regardless of ideology, to speak his or her mind without interference from the government or threats of violence from their fellow humans AND I include neo-Nazis and enviro-wackos under that umbrella. I also include atheists and Baptists … gays and those who are creeped out by gays … post-modernists and Jordan Peterson. I stand with the American Constitution and Founding Fathers in saying EVERYBODY has a right to speak and EVERYBODY else has a right to oppose their message or not listen. Because I perceive rights as inherent in the individual, I don’t believe that some groups have a higher right to speak than other groups. They may have a better message … and that message will be received and accepted while the other is rejected … if we’ll only allow reason to counter bad arguments.

For that, I’m accused of being a neo-Nazi because nowadays, the United States of America has become a country where warring factions try to use government power to shut each other up and anyone who doesn’t think that’s a good idea is obviously evil.

Meanwhile, I don’t support neo-Nazis. I don’t subscribe to their message. Neo-nazism  might not work out well for me anyway as I am a tribal card holder and they object to the race-mixing that my mutt DNA represents. I’m not what I’ve been accused of, but it’s hard to counter mischaracterizations because those doing the mischaracterization will insist that their perception of you is far more important than your perception of yourself. They can read minds, don’t you know?

Personally, I try really hard not to ascribe evil to those who ascribe evil to me. I try to give people I disagree with the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps we just see some issues from different perspectives. Maybe, if we talk a while, we’ll find common ground. I’m not a big believer in compromise — I think we’ve compromised far too much in the past and we’re too close to a cultural and economic cliff for any further compromise to be useful — but I am a big believer in discussion and affording each other some grace. People can be wrong without being evil and it’s possible I can learn something from them, if only I’ll listen. Now if they would only listen to what I am actually saying rather than their perception of what they believe I am saying. But I keep trying – offering thought-provoking questions on Facebook, usually centered on libertarian themes. Everyone is welcome to join.

 

9 responses to “So What You Are Saying Is …

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  1. Reblogged this on Transformation Project.

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  2. Reblogged this on Stevie Turner and commented:
    This blog from my fellow blog-hopper Aurorawatcherak sums it all up, I think. We all have different opinions on various subjects, and we should all be allowed to speak out without somebody taking offence and calling us ‘evil’ or suchlike. Tolerance is the key, and to be able to respect others’ opinions without going into meltdown because somebody else has an opposing viewpoint…

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  3. I don’t like the trend of labeling somebody as evil or worthless, either. I believe in the good in each person, and it’s a huge turn off for me anytime somebody trashes somebody else just because they go to a different church, or belong to a different generation, or view things differently.

    There is a whiplash effect going on today. The people who have been viewed as evil in the past by others are standing up for themselves. We wouldn’t be in this place today if people had done right by others in the first place. We may not have caused the mess, but it’s up to us to clean it up, and that can only truly be done if we start talking about freedom for everybody.

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  4. I’m not sure when we lost civility in politics or if we ever really had it. But that’s a big part of the problem we’re having these days.

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    • The civil discussion of politics was an indoor participation sport when I was growing up, but Alaska had only been a state for a few years and we were still working out what we believed, as opposed to what our federal masters had told us we must believe for more than 40 years.

      I think civility in general is on the ropes in the US, but I also think political correctness has created something of a “blue church” where any dissent from the dogmas is ruled a heresy. Think of the religious wars of the Reformation era and you begin to get an inkling of what this is headed to if we continue down this path.

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