Pluralism’s Annoying Joy

By Graham Glover

Since when did we become a people that abhor pluralism?

Everywhere I turn these days people are angry at those who don’t agree with them. They are frustrated when others don’t think or act like them. If someone else’s worldview deviates from theirs, then the other person is a problem to society.

This isn’t a liberal or conservative thing. Nor is it a religious or agnostic thing. It’s an everyone, in everything, thing.

Seriously, is there no room for disagreement anymore? Is everyone else’s opinion wrong? Do we not find goodness in pluralism? Isn’t the marketplace of ideas, where competing narratives lobby for our adherence, a hallmark of what makes a free society succeed? It is beyond comprehension how the most free society in the world has gotten to the point where we want to literally silence those who disagree with us.

This is a tragic mark on us – as a people, a nation, and a culture.

Again, I don’t blame any particular group or a certain ideology for perpetuating this turn from pluralism. All sides have their fair share of blame in this one. But one thing is crystal clear: we aren’t big fans of a society with different, and oftentimes, divergent, ways of thinking. It’s our way or the wrong way.

In our world, diversity has become an evil word (and don’t get on your high horse here my liberal friends – you can no longer claim the authority of being diversity sympathizers). Across the board, we’re simply an intolerant people who do not actively engage those who differ from us. Dialogue is our new four-letter word and to embrace it – to enjoy debate and interaction with those who embrace different political, religious, or cultural views from us is now the unpardonable sin, a reality that is equally sad and absurd.

I get it, pluralism can be annoying, especially when people advocate things that are diametrically opposed to everything we stand for. It’s not always easy to advocate for the freedom and ability of others to champion causes that I find morally repugnant, politically insane, or theologically false. I don’t want these systems of thought to succeed. Oftentimes, I think they contribute greatly to the degradation of society and do their best to tear apart the foundations of our institutions and our people. But to silence them, to rid them from society, is even more dangerous. It is the beginning of tyranny in the most horrific sense of the word

Which is why pluralism, even if annoying, is really a joy to behold. In it, we not only have to articulate what we believe, but we are forced to constantly defend why we believe it. We can’t simply rest on what we were told to believe, we have to learn how to think for ourselves, becoming capable of making a case for why we believe these things we do. This is joy. For it is the hallmark of the wise and learned man. It is what true pluralism produces, and why we should all embrace it.