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The 'synthetic-rage' whipped up by views deemed not to be politically correct is tiring

PUBLISHED: 09:14 28 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:53 28 February 2019

Nick Conrad has defended the right for controversial arguments to be heard. Picture Archant.

Nick Conrad has defended the right for controversial arguments to be heard. Picture Archant.

Archant

EDP editor David Powles has taken to social media, defending his paper's right to publish their columnist's occasionally controversial views. He is absolutely right.

This paper, for more than a century, has been a platform for debate and scrutiny. An essential part of any democracy. Too often an individual is marginalised when exploring arguments that don’t inhabit the accepted centre ground. Although I may disagree with some opinions expressed in this newspaper, I defend the right for these arguments to be heard. The exchange of perspectives gives us all a better understanding of the world we live in.

I’ve tired of the ‘synthetic-rage’ whipped up whenever someone utters comments deemed not to be politically correct. Yes, those in the public eye should expect their views to be analysed, but this can be undertaken without hostility or a personal attack. I loathe the pathetic behaviour of the ‘bully’ keyboard warriors, who lurk in comment sections and on social media, ready to strike anyone whose views deviate from their own. Social media is littered with libelous comments. Their poisonous and barbed retorts more frequently will become the base for legal action.

I’ve seen physical threats, accusations and every ‘phobia’ known to man in response to certain columnist’s musings. Of course, we must be careful to get the balance right. It would be wrong to over-zealously persecute. The recent mudslinging over Brexit appears to have legitimised the vilest form of bullying.

So, are we becoming more intolerant as a society - have we become narrower minded? Sadly, I’ve recently been left with the impression that reasoned argument and balanced views have been replaced by impassioned rants. In turn, many now seem unwilling to temper their perspective by listening to opposing views. In short, we’ve become stubborn, pig-headed and righteous.

I condemn those seeking to use intimidation in the strongest possible terms. This moronic behaviour has no place in a society that truly believes in the individual’s right to speak freely. We should also highlight the sheer hypocrisy of social media commentators, politicians and campaigners. Quick to condemn vile attacks on a kindred spirit however, their failure to call out the abuse of those with opposing views speaks volumes.

I’m a passionate moderate. We generally live in an age of tolerance, acceptance and widening horizons. However, when it comes to an individual’s exposure to varied debate and comment on current affairs, this has reduced. Social media, an outlet that in theory should open us up to a veritable smorgasbord of views, has actually reduced our diet. We are more likely to befriend, share and comment upon posts by users who share our views. In turn powerful analytics engines splurge out a steady stream content based on ‘themes’ you like. Our ‘current affairs’ diet never changes. It’s like turning up to a world’s food buffet but only eating Chinese.

We should listen to others, test what we think we know and stand ready to adapt our views. Put simply, it’s dangerous to cross the road when you’re only prepared to check in one direction before stepping out!

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