We could debate free will and its existence, but I’m not here to do that. I find it silly that some people argue free will doesn’t exist. I don’t remember why they believe that or what evidence there is to support that (something about brain chemistry and perception of reality and stuff I think), but I’m free to believe what I want, and so are they. For real though, I was in American National Government the other day and the professor began talking about voting, presidential candidates, demographics, and things like that. He brings up Trump a lot because he’s the most infamous candidate around right now, and he talked about the campaign promises and political views of people. In order to get the Republican nomination, or the Democrat nomination for that matter, the candidates almost always exaggerate their stance to appeal to their audience. Trump has to be appear super conservative, Hilary Clinton needs to look super liberal, everyone needs to fight for the nomination. Once that’s done, they begin to level out to appeal to the greater public. I also just listened to a song called “Merry Go ‘Round” by Kacey Musgraves which, in a nutshell, talked about tradition. I highly recommend the song because not only is it beautiful, it’s also thought provoking. Both the song and the Trump lecture got me thinking about free will, but more specifically whether we use it or not. So now I’m going to urge everyone to exercise free will wherever they can, and my hope is that it’ll lead people to be more insightful, honest, and real.
So where did my ideas really come from? I’ll use Trump and politics overall as my primary example. People get really tangled up in the web of labels surrounding them. Trump is a Republican candidate, Republicans are usually seen as Christian, which kind of sets up a “chain of obligations.” As a Christian, I then feel obligated to support the Republican party, and then I feel obligated to support Trump, which can spiral off into a hundred different directions. For the most part, I think people tend to follow the path already set by people like themselves. If every Christian leans toward the Republican side, then as a Christian, I should support Republicans. If I don’t, I’m not really Christian. The same can be applied to any label you can think of, silly or otherwise. I see it with Harry Potter fandoms (people think all Slytherins are mean and evil people), I see it in race debates (black people must support black people or they’re not really black, or they’re “white-washed” or something), I see it everywhere. People subscribe to their labels and think they have to go along with every “mainstream” thought the group identifies with. This issue ties closely in with stereotypes, but I don’t think they’re completely the same.
My point here is just because you identify with some particular group, don’t think you need to agree with everything that crowd says, does, and feels. I’m a Christian, and a lot of other Christians are very right leaning, and I’m just not. I consider myself far more moderate, though probably still a little right leaning. To tell the truth, I think Trump would make a horrible president. I don’t really care what his views are on immigration, taxes, gun laws, gay marriage, military, or whatever the new argument of the week is because when we get down to it, he’s a divisive figure. Today, everyone is so divided over every issue, and everyone is looking for an excuse to riot or oust a certain celebrity over something they did or said. Trump may be just what America needs (not that I agree with that), but a leader should be able to bring people together, not tear people apart. Obama is the same way. I don’t care if he got Bin Laden, or about universal healthcare, or legalizing gay marriage, or whatever claim to fame he has because at the end of the day, he’s not bringing America together. If you look back at the “great presidents,” they’re almost always focused on bringing people together. Abraham Lincoln may have been despised in the south, but his goal wasn’t winning the vote or pleasing the Republicans, it was about keeping America as one people. FDR spent a lot of money in the 40s that we’re still paying off today (which makes him pretty despised by Republicans now), but he as a person was able to connect to people, and he brought America together to face the Great Depression and WWII. No president will have universal appeal, but great presidents will put people first and give them something to rally behind. I don’t think Obama is that figure, and I passionately think Trump is not that figure.
On the flip side, people discredit ideas because they come from another party they don’t “belong” to. Many Americans are terrified by any economic system other than capitalism. Just look at the Red Scare and the Cold War. America treated the ideas, and those who believed in those ideas, like they were a disease. Socialism can’t possibly be a good thing because we have capitalism. Bernie Sanders can’t possibly have good ideas because he’s a liberal. I can’t possibly like Canada because I’m American. I shouldn’t listen to a thing a Buddhist, an atheist, a Jew, or any other person says because I’m a Christian. These kinds of views are completely arrogant and very dangerous. Believe whatever you want, but it’s my opinion that everyone should be as informed and open minded as possible. I’m not saying you have to abandon your belief systems, but it doesn’t mean you silence the opposition. You who does that? Caesar, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, dictators, generally evil people. To use my own faith as an example, God has absolute power already, but he still gave us free will. He doesn’t force himself on anyone, and he gives all His people the freedom to choose Him or deny Him. Shouldn’t we mirror that? Dissenting opinions are healthy. If everyone were like minded, we’d be boring as hell, we wouldn’t innovate, and people who silence dissent are some of the most inhumane and tyrannical people out there.
It’s a tough battle to fight. Nobody wants to stand alone, and nobody wants to disagree with people they like, or agree with people they don’t like for that matter. But I think it’s necessary. Nobody should be a drone to any particular way of thought. Just because you and many others hold a viewpoint doesn’t make that view correct. The leading idea of the time was once that the earth was flat. People once thought the earth was the center of the universe. If Copernicus had just agreed with every other arrogant scientist at the time, we might still live in a world that revolves around Earth, not the sun. If Martin Luther had just believed everything the Catholic monks said to him, he never would’ve created The Great Schism, Lutheranism, and Protestantism to which much of the western world prescribes itself to. The list goes on and on, but the same thing rings true. Just because a lot of people believe it doesn’t make it true, and it doesn’t mean that you should mindlessly follow them! We all get so caught up in our mob mentalities that we lose ourselves in the process. The world doesn’t need another puppet. It needs a free thinker, an innovator, and someone unlike any other person before. It needs YOU.