Opposition: A Manifesto

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If I died tomorrow, and on my deathbed had to sum up my life with a convenient motto about what I learned, I’d say “opposition encourages growth.”  While I think this applies to a lot of things—a deadline makes you work harder, a critic encourages you to better your art—I think this is most important in terms of political attitudes. Without, new ideas are not encouraged.

I am from a conservative area of the U.S., and then came to SLC to find that they both serve as breeding ground for self righteous pseudo intellectuals who feed off the community’s defensive paranoia in order to further isolate and stagnate it.  This makes the community more hostile and reclusive to opposing view points, which leads to further radicalization ending in total political irrelevance.  Having spent time with Tea Party Creationists and SLC Far Left Revisionists, I’ve noticed that both are intolerant of others’ view points, both see their own parties as far too moderate/weak, and both exclusively read their own material. If people are afraid of discussion and opposing views, stagnation creeps in and suddenly you’re Dick Morris who cannot understand why Romney is now a forgotten entity.

Face it: no matter how clever you think you are, you aren’t perfect. No matter how good your ideas sound in your own head, you do not have all the answers.  Some of your ideas suck, some are good but unpolished, and some could be improved by other people’s input. If the only people who talk to you are those who already agree with you, then your ideas are never being challenged and thus never improve.  And if you never listen to the opposition, then your ideas never have any chance to improve, because you can’t prepare yourself to fight against their arguments.  More importantly, you can’t convince people to accept your position, because you’ve isolated yourself from opposition for so long you no longer understand it.   Unless, of course, you don’t actually want to change anybody’s mind, and you’re instead so drunk on self-righteousness that to you leftist politics are less about results and more about ethical circle jerking.

Quite frankly, it’s gotten out of hand. I have spoken to 28 people in the span of two days (before I stopped caring) who said they are afraid to speak their minds about politics because they are afraid of being verbally beaten down. A personal disclaimer: I am myself a leftist—Green Party, specifically—and coming from a conservative area, I am used to arguing strongly for what I believe in. I also watch Fox News every day for three reasons.  1) I like to know what the enemy is thinking 2) I delight in seeing them squirm when things don’t go their way, such as when Obama was re-elected 3) I like to use it as a way to reflect upon my own party.

Understand this: I am a leftist, and I in fact agree with most of what the SLC campus is saying. I disagree with the way they say it, and the bullying attitude many students take towards alternative viewpoints.  There is a fundamental problem when the only difference between SLC and Brigham Young University is which specific buzzwords people are indignantly spouting.  While the administration doesn’t do enough to discourage this attitude of political groupthink, the real blame here is the student body, a supposedly creatively/intellectually free community who all coincidently agree on the same thing (or choose to stay silent).  I’ve always believed that diversity and adversity are good for any community, as they prevent stagnation and isolation, and SLC really could benefit from being a liberal arts college with actual diverse opinions.  I mean, we are actually a stereotype online as being rich, self-absorbed fanatics who refuse to talk to anybody with an alternative opinion.  I expect this stuff from Fox News, but not from a community founded upon intellectualism and discourse rather than the reincarnation of Goebbels.

We need to make a community more accepting of questions, and the possibility of alternative world views. Personally, I am confident enough in my beliefs that I think anybody can feel free to come up and question me.  And it would just be nice, if the community that likes to stand up for the everyday people and fight against the corrupt bigoted oligarchs that run this country, the people whose political beliefs were based upon tolerance and acceptance, would stop driving all of their potential supporters away through this ever-present groupspeak.  Yes, I am aware that all of the logical fallacies I am attacking are also used by “the right”, but I’d rather you didn’t tell them, because I personally enjoy them constantly losing elections.

 

15 Comments

  • Reply February 11, 2014

    Eli Zane

    This was cute, Eli.

    I think you should continue to posture yourself as a “brave outspoken intellectual” because your solipsistic orbit around Planet Elijah might become skewed if your ego deflates and the gravitational balance is disturbed by a lack of inflated self-importance.

  • Reply February 11, 2014

    Dalgong

    Wow
    Much words
    Very insight
    Thot provoking
    Wow

  • Reply February 12, 2014

    Hitler

    Such alternative thinker, wow, very politics, many edgy, wow

  • Reply February 14, 2014

    Elijah Zane

    Daglong- Your going to a liberal arts school and you don’t like words? Looks like somebody’s parents paid in full. Let me thank you for that, since your nepotism is allowing me to get an education.

    Hitler- Nice respond, very original, quite though provoking wow. Aren’t there some youtube videos on feminism you need to be harassing?

    Eli Zane 2.0- Didn’t I see you on Fox News? I could swear I saw somebody like you calling obama a socialist. Also look up the word “solipsistic” because it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    Thank you guys for so effectively proving my point that SLC students are all too cowardly to actually intellectually engage in alternative opinions, good show.

    • Reply February 18, 2014

      Dalgong

      I don’t like words? I love words, that’s why I get pissed off at self righteous tools who abuse them to insignificant ends. Also, “looks like somebody’s parents paid in full”? Because that’s the sign of a true intellectual – making irrelevant assumptions about people who disagree with them.

      Such smart
      Very insight
      Wow.

      Also I think you’re misusing the word “nepotism.”

  • Reply February 14, 2014

    Elijah Zane

    Actually lets harp on the fake me for a second. Notice the rhetorical tactics that were in use there, I make a point that Sarah Lawrence’s culture is intellectual stagnent and afraid of alternative view points. And the fake Eli Zane (and I have a fairly good idea of who you are coward) responds by claiming that I am a narcissist. Now this presents two scenarios, 1) I am an egotist and I took the time out of my day to publish an article on a controversy issue that would insure negative comments rather than something that would get me universal online praise like talking about the values of Safe Spaces. 2) Or I might just might have an opinion that you disagree with? Either way, if I am walking around the school with a god complex, it shouldn’t be too hard to actually dispute my actual points would it? Come on, can’t you just hire a writer from your trust fund at least? (See what I did there, I implied that the person is excessively wealthy in order to belittle their point, its pretty petty isn’t it?)

    • Reply February 17, 2014

      Hitler

      Chill your tits. There’s no way to engage in an “intellectual discussion” here because your article is the prose equivalent of a masturbation session. There is no “controversy” to be generated from your article because you don’t really bring up much of anything. Your point can be summed up as follows:

      “I agree with most of what you guys have to say, but…. I’m smarter than you.”

      It’s also pretty telling how your first response to someone calling you a self-absorbed egomaniac is to liken them to a conservative news commentator and ripping on them for their apparently wealthy background. It’s a pretty cheap ad-hominem, and it shows that you as far from the intellectual integrity you claim to demand of others as anyone could possibly be, and that your relationship to conservatives (“the enemy” as you call them), is childishly emotional.

      Hopefully one day you’ll grow up.

  • Reply February 14, 2014

    The One Sane Person Reading This Article

    “Understand this: I am a leftist, and I in fact agree with most of what the SLC campus is saying. I disagree with the way they say it, and the bullying attitude many students take towards alternative viewpoints.”

    I’m a very good friend of Eli’s, and I happen to know that I can oppose any or all of his beliefs without being judged because we’re able to hold a rational discussion about them all the time. He explains his beliefs to me in a way that I can understand, and he’s not condescending or egotistical when I explain mine. I wish more people at SLC could be like this because it’d allow us to think and speak for ourselves without feeling judged. We pay way too much money for our education to feel ashamed to express our opinions. I mean, how else are we going to get educated if we don’t try to communicate in a way that doesn’t harm ourselves or others? Great article, man.

  • Reply February 17, 2014

    Elijah Zane

    I find it funny that somebody going by the name of Hitler is telling me to grow up, or that you can accuse me of being arrogant while you spend your entire time patronizing me. However, my point was not “I agree with you but i’m smarter” my point was “I agree with you, but your methods are wrong”. The Sarah Lawrence Community is overrun with bullies, which is what you and your ilk are, bullies. Relying upon personal insults and patronizing phrases like “Hopefully one day you will grow up” to hide the fact that what you people truly are, intellectual thugs who are afraid of any alternative view point. You never sight my article at any point other than to criticize my viewing Fox as enemies (and I do see people who believe that Charity is equivalent to socialism to be an enemy). I really didn’t promote myself as ideal in this article at all, and if you want specifics, don’t worry more articles are coming out to address it. However, the main point of my article was that people on this campus are afraid of speaking their minds when it disagrees with the majority because they are afraid of being bullied by self important thugs like you.

  • Reply February 17, 2014

    Elijah Zane

    Also i find it really funny that you accuse me of ad hominem when I am responding to somebody calling me a self absorbed egotist, IE an ad hominem (but of course expecting you to be consistent is a lost cause). I respond to insults with insults, and since I’m not indoctrinated into the SLC cult of “patronizing for dummies” I don’t need to rely upon buzzwords to do it. If somebody actually responded to the article itself, I would respond via argument, but since I basically just have a bunch of people proving my point in my comments it would remise of me to let this stuff stand. So take your defensive paranoia and go back to the youtube comments where you belong.

    • Reply February 18, 2014

      ***Tha Real*** Elijah D. Zane

      Your comments were super eloquent and informative, and I appreciate your contribution to the discussion, but your syntactical errors, misspellings and word misuse really squeezed the value out of your rebuttals. I was #teamEli until you hit me with the “insure”.

      I’ll put you in my prayers, brave one.

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Eli's Loving Mother

    Dear Elijah,

    I had hoped it wouldn’t turn out like this… petty internet scuffles and boisterous pub brawls… but in the end I knew that your time at Sarah Lawrence College would be stained by masturbatory regurgitation of your inquisitive demeanor.

    xoxo

    – gossip girl

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    Elijah Zane

    So let me get this straight. I write an article saying that SLC has a close minded campus which is opposed to alternate view points and responds to that through bullying. And you respond not by sighting a section of my article and disproving it or opposing my claim but by name calling, masturbation jokes and insulting my mother? Yeah, I’m not even sure I need to say anything, I think that your comments can speak for themselves, this is what SLC does when faced with opposition, display a level of maturity that I’ve come to expect from youtube.

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    Elijah Zane

    Further more, I put it out there if anybody wants to discuss any view with me, you can approach me any time that I am not in class to do so. Unlike you lot hiding behind the anonymous label, i’ve never been afraid of confrontation.

  • Reply February 20, 2014

    Elijah Zane

    Daglong, buddy, I missed your comment. If you love words so much, how about you use them. Respond to the article maybe, or use full sentences? Perhaps engage intellectuals? No? Oh right, because like most cowards you prefer to snipe from the shadows without engaging. I assume your paying in full because I have a hard time believing that people who actually got into this school via merit can be that stupid, but hey, 65% acceptance rate, guess I shouldn’t make assumptions.

    Also its Thought provoking.

    In the end though, I’m fairly certain this is all the same two guys just using multiple accounts.

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