One of the biggest changes I have witnessed over the past forty years or so is the polarization of the population. Oh, I know that Democrats and Republicans, Tories and Whigs, vegetarians and carnivores, Beatles fans vs Stones fans, etc., have been at odds since the categorizations began; it is just that the divisions have become more and more broad. It is disturbing to me that any discourse and/or disagreement with the politically correct opinion is railed against and demeaned with increasingly loud voices. It is even more disturbing that the politically correct opinion appears to be a minority held position in a lot of cases. I realize that it is almost a cliche about how the "mainstream" media, aka the "old" media, is biased towards the liberal position; but I truly feel that these politically correct positions would not exist with any power if not for the artificial support from most of the media. (FYI, the cliche of the bias has been proven in many studies of news coverage and headlines, but that is another post)
We are terribly and possibly irrevocably divided on many major issues today. Abortion, gay marriage, voting rights, illegal immigration (I just can't make myself type immigration reform), government spending, taxation, racial issues, environmental issues, religious freedom, climate change, and OK - immigration reform ( I put it down as long as you recognize that it is a separate issue from illegal immigration) are all issues that are at one time or another at the forefront of the news and conversation. However, it is amazing to me how divisive the conversation and coverage can be. The loudest voices, backed by the media, appear to be the minority in a lot of cases. However, regardless of which side of the debate is actually the minority is on should not matter. This country was founded on the principles of freedom of speech, religion, and essentially thought.
I have stated in this blog previously that tolerance does not equal acceptance. Lack of full acceptance has been twisted by the minority opinion into hate or intolerance. I can tolerate someone punching me in the face. That does not mean I have to accept it or even like it. For example, I can tolerate gay men and lesbian women being in a relationship. I can even accept them being "married". However that does not mean I accept or approve of it. Any argument I might have against gay marriage whether based on religion, morals, tradition, etc all have validity. This is true also of arguments for it. The real problem I see is those on one side or the other will not even accept that there is another side to the discussion. For example the religion clause of the first amendment says nothing about the separation of church and state (don't believe it, here it is - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...") The point was to prevent the suppression of religion. That has been turned around to prevent religious expression, especially Christianity. The same can be said for the battles I listed above. Vegetarianism is a valid lifestyle. Militant vegetarianism that strives to "convert" everyone and eliminate the availability of meat is not. This holds true for most other major issues of the day. This is an annoyance in most cases, but not a life changing event for most people. The one exception to this (in my mind anyway) is the climate change/global warming "debate".
I have many posts on this site documenting my thoughts on this subject with data and links to other data that disputes the notion of anthropomorphic (man-made) global warming. The danger here is that the proponents of this notion (at least the "leaders" of the movement, I am sure there are many people that truly just want to save the planet and don't know any better) just appear to want to shut down the tools of our economy - oil, coal, and other lower cost forms of energy. I could now go into a long discourse on how if solar and wind power were allowed to compete they would not have a chance based on current technology. The false competitive position applied to these technologies currently are masking the fact that they are not feasible currently. They may become so at some point in the future, but not today. The other argument I have against the fact that the "carbon footprint" b.s. is not the driving factor of the global warming movement is that we have two technologies now that could produce all our energy needs without produce any CO2 but are not being used mostly due to "environmental" issues. They are nuclear energy and hydropower. However, if one offers up a position (no matter how valid or with whatever proof) that is contrary to the global warming nuts, it is immediately ridiculed and belittled. There are many, many scientists that have produced arguments and proof to the contrary but have not been reported or published with the same coverage as those that "toe the line".
The point of this post is to bring attention to the fact that open and free discourse and argument is critical to the growth and advancement of society and this country. It is more and more apparent every day that suppression of ideas contrary to ones own is the procedure of the day. It is very common on comment sections of news stories, blogs, and forums to see someone blasting someone with vitriol over their intolerance, something I find particularly odd. I also do not mean to imply that any one group or position has the high moral ground here. The vitriol comes from both sides of most arguments. I welcome any valid and cogent argument on any subject. This is true whether I agree with the position or not. I can appreciate a well formulated debate in all cases.