As a conservative, I believe in freedom of speech—not just for myself, but for everyone. Even though I disagree with liberals in nearly every philosophical area, I am not a conservative if I do not uphold their right to think differently.
I am an activist, because I passionately believe in conservatism at the very core of my being. These beliefs are central to my identity, and the identities of everyone who has come to understand as I have. While I will uphold the right of anyone to identify differently than me, there are those who would attempt to suppress others they do not agree with. If you are a liberal, that is wrong. If you think you are a conservative and you do that, you are not a conservative.
Even though such people have attempted to limit our freedom of speech through speech codes or law, the Constitution trumps such weak efforts, and still protects our right to free speech. However, no one can deny that we are affected by those around us who will not respect others with different opinions. For example, if I think differently from my professors, my grade will suffer. If I think differently from those around me, I will socially suffer. Despite legal protections, we are and must be held accountable for what we do and say, but we must recognize respect for diversity of opinion.
The difference between respect and censorship can sometimes seem nebulous, because our personal definitions of respectful behavior are subjective. As such, anything can be misconstrued into being disrespectful. While we may all hope to live in a world where everyone was spoken to with respect, because of these differences of opinion, we could never possibly come to an agreement on what is respect. Because we cannot define how we would limit speech around the confines of respect, our right to freedom of speech has been protected in our constitution. However, we would be hypocrites if we expressed our beliefs inconsistently with how we would want to be treated.
Yes, evidence of liberal hypocrisy is copious, but I would be a hypocrite myself if I did not attest that some of my fellow conservatives are also guilty of unnecessary, intentional provocation. As I already noted, all of your ideas have the potential to be received negatively, and that shouldn’t deter you from spreading them. However, if don’t give others the respect you would desire, then they have no obligation to respect you as well. I advocate for a kind of respectful activism. My personal brand is defined as just that, and I would argue is the most effective. Acting consciously disrespectful risks giving liberals a defense, thus undermining your cause.
Unfortunately, professional victims have begun to exploit the laws of decency, simply for more attention. We cannot allow our passion for activism to become over-sensitized. Attacking others for difference of opinion is wrong. If we do stay within the bounds of our own morals, however, we gain something far more valuable than the moment’s satisfaction of pissing someone off. We gain confidence. Confidence to believe what we are doing is right is the strength we all need to carry our message. Let your opponents act without decorum—they are only reinforcing your arguments, and making themselves look bad.
I don’t believe confidence is something you are born with. Confidence is something you earn. When learning how to drive, you earned confidence through practice. Being confident in driving without practice is not only illogical, but dangerous to yourself and those around you. That can be said about anything with which we are arrogant enough to feign confidence in. Realizing when you have earned the right to have confidence takes time, but moral confidence is the foundation of our actions. Without it, you lose yourself to hypocrisy. With it, you gain the right to speak with conviction, and nothing is more powerful.
Re-posted from: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/respectful-activism