Welcome back, Wheatonites! I hope that everyone enjoyed their summer vacation and is ready to start the 2017-2018 academic year with renewed energy. As the current opinions editor, I would like to open the Wire with a few remarks about the opinions section this year.
I am declaring a war against intellectual uniformity at Wheaton. Wheaton is an echo chamber. There is no denying this statement; anyone who attempts to do so is either blind or willfully ignorant to reality. The sheer nonexistence of conservative, libertarian and even centrist voices publicly heard on campus is not only disconcerting, but dangerous.
No one benefits from groupthink. In fact, studies suggest that an echo chamber environment actually decreases individuals’ intelligence and critical reasoning skills if they subscribe to said echo chamber. The rationale for this statement is that having one’s beliefs continuously assaulted, or at the very least challenged, forces the individual to truly understand their beliefs so as to properly defend them. On the other hand, having one’s beliefs automatically reaffirmed rather than affirmed on merit allows an individual to become complacent in their understanding. If not for common decency, the future of our republic and the future of humanity, we at least owe it to our collective education to foster an environment of debate rather than an environment fearful of intellectual persecution.
Moreover, echo chambers create polarization, intolerance of alternative opinions and dehumanization. We can easily see this intolerance at University of California, Berkeley – where conservative speakers, professors and students have been driven from campus – and the other Wheaton College in Illinois – where pro-choice activists and members of the LGBT community are shunned. Far too often, for it is part of human nature, we succumb to the “us against them” mentality.
This is the mentality that humanity has used for millennia to rationalize its most cruel and outrageous actions, such as the institution of slavery, Japanese internment during World War II, the Holocaust and the several genocides that have taken place since the 1990s. This mentality destroys the best aspects of humanity and replaces them with the worst.
This declaration does not mean that left-leaning voices will be censored or discouraged from the opinions section. Quite the contrary. It is not only my goal to publish more conservative voices, but to publish more, open-minded liberal voices as well. The most rewarding debates are between the best minds any side has to offer. I want Wheaton to conduct the best debates possible. Rather, this declaration means that, for many of you, your ideas will be directly challenged for the first time in your lives.
In order to bring this desire for debate to fruition, I invite everyone to express their opinions through the Wire, especially if you are a member of the conservative, libertarian or moderate minority. Debate and diverse ideas are the lynchpin to a successful democratic nation and community, whereas groupthink creates the breeding ground for fascism, communism and other forms of totalitarianism.
By the end of the year, I hope that the opinions section will help everyone find their true beliefs. The only darkness worse than having your voice taken away is the darkness of never having anything to say.