Other stories filed under OPINION
Bringing Conservatism to Green Hope
February 5, 2018
Walking around Green Hope it is easy to see posters and signs for clubs meant to be viewed from a liberal point of view. From the Sisters of Social Justice sign outside the Falcon News Feed room to the True Equality Alliance posters in almost all the hallways, Green Hope has its share of left-leaning clubs. Surprisingly, Green Hope has nothing that would be deemed conservative or right of center to offer a student body that has its fair share of conservative students. Conservative offerings would not just enhance the high school experience for conservative students, but also challenge students who disagree with a conservative point of view.
Recently I have had the eye-opening experience of being “red-pilled” after listening to some prominent conservative minds. The term red-pilled comes from the movie The Matrix which represents seeing reality for what it is. Most of my life I have considered myself a person who was somewhere between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. However, after the most recent presidential election, I set off to listen to the people with whom I disagreed with the most. That meant making myself uncomfortable in order to better understand the people I thought were dead wrong. I believed they would not change my mind, but only help me see their point of view from a less hostile lens.
My conservative-minded friends recommended people that I should check out; names that were commonly mentioned were Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, and Sam Harris. All three are known not just for their conservative views, but also for their outspoken defense of free speech. The trio has been met with condemnation from many people on the left because of their controversial views on Islam, transgenderism, and safe spaces. After watching a couple of their videos I was convinced that not only had I been blindly misguided by liberal media sites on some topics, but that these speakers were not these racist, Islamophobic, nor homophobic individuals that so many had made them out to be but rather intellectual figures who had well-documented opinions without emotionally charged rhetoric.
These types of conservative speakers would benefit Green Hope. The Administration should invite a conservative figure to the school to discuss these opposing viewpoints with the student body.
In the past 10 years, American society has carefully built a little bubble around students in high school to protect them from the views that parents and administrators believe could be emotionally harmful to students. This has formed a culture that breeds intolerance of ideas instead of intolerance of immutable characteristics. As an educational society, America has transformed into a population of ideologues, adamantly opposed to anything that challenges the opinions that they hold.
Bringing a conservative speaker to Green Hope, would accomplish a variety of things. First, it would allow students to expand on the critical thinking skills that they will use so often in a college environment. Students would also be exposed to ideas that they are either opposed to, or have never heard. As a result, one of two things would occur: students would either shift their opinion towards that of the speaker, or adapt to the facts that the speaker presents with his or her opinion to better fit one’s world view. In both cases a student would add more nuance to their political argument, and be better equipped to defend the ideas that they hold.
The most important reason Green Hope should invite a conservative speaker to campus is to make kids feel uncomfortable and maybe even offended. Students should not be given a safe space that does not require them to defend their ideas. A safe space should not be somewhere that protects someone from potentially offensive ideas, but rather a place where people feel safe to share the views they hold while also understanding that people will both agree and disagree.
Any speaker should have to defend their world view with evidence, while also hearing evidence that could potentially disrupt their world view. As Jordan Peterson recently said on “The Rubin Report,” a YouTube show hosted by popular libertarian commentator Dave Rubin, there is this idea that “people have a right to be comfortable, [and] that’s just not a right you have in life.” A conservative speaker on campus would open students’ eyes to a point of view that they do not hear, while also giving them a chance to better hone the defense of their own opinions. If Green Hope truly does want to nurture the minds of tomorrow, there is no other way to have them think critically about divergent viewpoints.