It's my way or the highway

Too many people reckon
it's their way or the highway
Last week I wrote about business and morality.

We’ve seen people from all walks off like cast aspersions on businesses for not taking courses of action which they believe are morally ‘right’.

However, it’s not confined to the business realm which people are firing off bullets from their ‘moral sidearms’. Rather, a multitude of societal facets is causing people to spill their soy lattes.

I reckon this is because people are starting to view the world through an increasingly black or white lens. To many people, it’s their way or the highway.

In fact, it’s not even their steadfast commitment to their own conclusions which is most concerning. It’s the arrogance (yes, I realise I’m being arrogant by calling others arrogant. Sue me) of not only claiming that their conclusions are ‘right’, but that anyone who disagrees with them is ‘wrong’, or in some cases, not just wrong, but ‘evil’.

Take the recent example of same-sex marriage.

At the Federal Labor party’s recent conference, a motion was passed in favour of allowing a conscience vote on any private members’ movement of a bill in favour of same sex marriage.

This followed a heated and at times spiteful debate where party delegates tried to convince the masses that their point of view was ‘right’.

On the same sex marriage side, many of the protestations focused on the notion of equality. That by not allowing same sex couples to marry it was denying them inalienable human rights and dignity afforded to heterosexual couples.

On the other side, delegates spoke, largely from religious convictions, against same sex marriage. Speakers from both sides of the debate were booed, hissed, insulted, and heckled from the audience as delegates attempted to peacefully put forward their point of view.

For those for same sex marriage, cries of "it's against natural law" were directed towards speakers.

For those against, cries of “bigot”, “intolerant” and “evil” were heard from the stands.

This led one of the delegates, Deb O'Neill, to say:

Opponents of gay marriage are attacked as bigoted. Those attitudes are bigoted.”

Essentially, she was making the claim that, simply because she held a different point of view, it did not categorically mean her view was, wrong or evil. The reality is, she just had a different point of view.

Former Democrat Senator, Natasha Stott-Despoja said it well on The Punch recently when she wrote:

What bothers me is not necessarily people who have an opposing view - that’s democracy - but hypocrisy when politicians vote against what they believe in.”

And this (finally) is my point. Simply because someone disagrees with you does not necessarily make them ‘wrong’ and certainly not ‘evil’. You can hold whatever views you like, but it does not preclude someone from holding views of their own.

If someone has a different opinion to you – there could well be a very good reason why they hold that view.

So next time you’re tempted to belittle someone simply because they disagree with you – take a breath. Have a think.

Because your position may not be as foolproof as you think it is. And you may just have to get over yourself.


Dave said…
Eloquently put, Dylan.