Cookie Schwaeber-Issan

Mass Approval By Force

It used to be that you had the freedom to believe in accordance with your conscience, values and principles. It also used to be that while people may have disagreed with those beliefs, they would have never contemplated the use of force in order to change them. Sadly, those days are gone!

Over the course of the last 10-15 years, individuals’ beliefs are now being challenged – not by debate but by force.  How exactly?  By using dreaded labels as incentives to reject what “they” reject and accept what “they” accept.

Some of those super charged words being thrown around are “homophobe” “racist” and “xenophobe.” But if you examine the second half of two of those words, they are both based on irrational and illogical fears, similar to being deathly afraid of spiders or rodents.  The words carry with them a meaning which is almost never the case in someone who supports traditional marriage between a man and a woman or someone who believes the laws of country borders should be upheld.  Yet, in today’s progressive society, these words have been weaponized to smear individuals who are not on board with the ever-changing societal norms that are evolving faster than most of us can keep up with.

These words have an amazing effect in making sure that people know that going against the tide of new accepted norms is done at your own peril.

The shaming labels or punitive measures for unacceptance is meant to hermetically shut down any diversity of opinion, takes no other position into consideration and immediately seeks to punish and humiliate those who, for whatever reason, hold beliefs which are not in line with what society has determined must now be acceptable.

It is the new system of mass approval by force which works, because most people just don’t want to be seen as narrow-minded and intolerant of others.  Consequently, those who feel vulnerable and intimated are quite careful not to move the new boundaries which have been erected.  If you think about it, this, under duress, compliance actually aids societal change to be swift and irreversible.  But does the lack of push back mean that these forced beliefs are genuine and true, representing sudden acceptance?  Probably not!

Having recently had more private conversations with a number of individuals, who have “gone along” with today’s societal norms, often revealed that they were not necessarily comfortable or on board with many of these evolutions.  Yet, it wasn’t due to any fears or phobias of homosexuals, transgenders or illegal migrants.

It should be noted that most people’s beliefs into how society should work are often borne from their upbringing, personal religious convictions, cultural and family values, their age and even their own sense of what they feel is correct.  The problem is that once a shaming label or punitive measure is placed on someone who dares to challenge a new societal standard, there is no alternative but to either suffer the consequences of those who will not tolerate a dissenting viewpoint or just cave in to coercion.

It’s actually quite sad that “force” is being wielded as a sword upon individuals who don’t make the rules but are being required to adopt them in order to further new progressive agendas.

The argument is not whether you support more progressive positions, because most people, whether or not they agree with them, are more than happy to allow diversity of opinion to exist and even flourish.  Most people also recognize the right and legitimacy to think and believe as your conscience dictates.  There is still an honest respect for freedom of thought and the ability to arrive at one’s personally held convictions.

The irony here is that the intolerance stems from those who employ tactics of bullying, shame and coercion as a way to achieve their societal goals.  In order to create the utopia which they desire, they’ve determined that it must be predicated on shutting down all surrounding dissent – hence, the use of force.

Clearly, those who use such tactics obviously do not possess the confidence that their arguments will stand the test of debate, otherwise they wouldn’t have to sink to using force in order to gain the approval for which they are seeking.

It doesn’t matter that it is a reverse discrimination which, when used throughout history, was viewed as oppressive, narrow-minded or driven by fear.  This new reverse discrimination is being repeated in a way that also violates the genuinely held beliefs and opinions of those who are being admonished to turn off their conscience and accept new realities of the 21st century in order to not be seen as a bad person.

This kind of reverse discrimination is now being employed within the “Woke Movement,” as it relates to skin color.  Whites are seen as oppressors – the new undesirables.  People of color are now enjoying a renaissance of opportunity and access which is suddenly being denied to whites. In fact, certain campus venues, in recent days, have ceased being opened to whites, and, as unbelievable as it may sound, some job descriptions have bluntly stated that whites need not apply.  It is, frankly, an obtuse and sick way of trying to rectify centuries of racial inequality and prejudice by thinking that doing to others what was once so obviously odious is now the way to right a wrong.

Allowing everyone to freely believe as they wish is the best way to showcase a variety of opinions, and here’s the beauty of that.  Most people are smart enough to figure out which opinions represent real tolerance, open-mindedness, true diversity and even genuine goodness.

Only those who don’t give everyone credit for being able to come to the right conclusions will attempt to change minds by force.  It will be a sad day on planet earth when we are no longer able to be free-thinking humans but frightened robots that lack the courage to stand up against any who refuse to allow minds to be changed through debate and the free exchange of ideas.

No one should be forced into compliance even in the 21st century, because freedom of thought is still the best way to ensure diversity of thought!

About the Author
A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.
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