Perspectives: Knowing when to close your mind

Photo by Sam Edwards/OJO Images/Getty Images; St. George News

OPINION – Ever get the feeling that someone is working very hard to open our minds for us?

I don’t mean in the sense that we’re being introduced to new ideas and invited to explore them and decide whether they might improve our lives.

It’s more like someone is angrily demanding that we renounce all we once understood to be true and replace it with their preferred dogma.

Case in point: How can the New York Times, with a straight face, publish a story about a teenage “boy” struggling with the dilemma of where to dispose of his used tampons?

Typically, journalists haven’t been shy about calling a delusion a delusion, especially when they can back it up with easily verifiable reality-based facts.

You know, like the fact that young men don’t have a uterus and therefore cannot menstruate.

In our brave new world, journalists are choosing to play the part of missionaries preaching to savages by rewriting reality to fit their own version of open-mindedness.

Why the insistence upon opening our minds by pretending that inconvenient facts aren’t really facts at all?

Sure, it’s being done in the name of “raising consciousness” or promoting “inclusiveness” and social justice. It just seems a bit presumptuous to treat an entire society as if we’re an elementary school class waiting to be told what to chant in unison.

That’s a very different goal from encouraging others to shed ideological blinders wherever possible and strive to think clearly and independently.

Joseph Sobran had a good take on such matters:

In fact it’s nonsense to say flatly that a mind should be “open” or “closed.” The real question is when, not whether, to close it. Of course it’s wrong to close it prematurely. But at some point you have to make a commitment about the truth of things.

When we’ve reached the point that simple scientific truths are considered too bigoted to stand, how can any moral truth be held with confidence?

It’s no secret that moral relativism has always rested upon the absolute premise that there are no absolutes.

Qualities like delayed gratification, sexual modesty and self-restraint represent a significant degree of moral strength. Individuals who possess this type of self-mastery are manifesting personal character and responsibility rather than mental weakness.

These qualities represent a serious moral obstacle to the kind of populist totalitarianism that is trying to open minds by brute force.

A person with a clear sense of moral boundaries is less likely to be blindly obedient to the demands of those who would redefine reality for all of us. That’s why modern moral revolutionaries must resort to the superstitious word magic of labels which confuse words for things.

Just remember that being labeled as “racist,” “sexist” or “homophobic” is the product of someone trying to get people to react to the scary label and not to the reality of a particular moral truth.

A free society offers a lot of things, but absolute uniformity of thought has never been one of them. That’s the hallmark of a totalitarian society.

Consensus that is reached through intimidation is not really consensus.

Somehow we’ve lost sight of the truth that honest disagreement can take place in a society without the need for government intervention.

It takes significant courage to choose to live free and to allow others to live free.

One of the most liberating decisions we can make is to choose with care which voices we will heed. We don’t have to think, speak or act the way that some are demanding we do.

Charley Reese accurately summed up our growing dilemma this way:

Secularism, hedonism and nihilism, which characterize today’s culture, spell the death of any civilization. It may well be that Western civilization has already committed suicide, as some have argued. That means it is all the more important for the remnants who still believe in ideals to preserve themselves and provide the seeds for a new and better civilization.

It’s entirely possible to live a content life that is free from the clamoring and demands of others. It requires some active concentration and a willingness to take responsibility for our own worldview.

This means we have to find the personal courage to say “no” to the unreasonable demands of others when necessary.

Leaning upon government at any level to “fix” our culture is simply inviting greater mischief than we’re now enduring.

The best answer, as usual, is found within ourselves.

If we’re intent on winning hearts and minds, then our best bet is to begin with changing ourselves and drawing others along by the power of example.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator, radio host and opinion columnist in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • Sapphire May 23, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Sometimes people get so open-minded that their brains fall out…

  • fun bag May 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    blaming ‘big government’ is taking the easy way out and staying in a safe space. Take a look at who owns the new york times along with basically all the rest of the mass media, and tell us again how it’s just ‘big government’. They are the corruptors of civilization and it’s all a game to them, like pushing this mainstreaming of transsexuals and other nonsense. They laugh about it, and how stupid the sheep are for buying into it all. They have mastered the psychology of propaganda. Expect them to use it in the worst ways possible..

  • Henry May 23, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    If the “boy” is having a dilemma in utilizing the boy’s bathroom, what’s going to happen if “he” has to utilize communal showers in the boy’s locker room?

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