Does Our Opinion Matter?
By Omar Alansari-Kreger, Engage Minnesota
Renewing the Freedom of Speech against an Unforgiving Status Quo
We live in a nation that prides itself on the freedom of speech. Yet, we pay nothing but lip service to the first amendment. That fact of the matter is that if you are outside of the elite establishment, no one really cares about your opinion or what you have to say for the matter. The Plutocratic States of America is the giant elephant no one wants to recognize. Citizens are free to have opinions, but if they are unredeemable, what good are there? We might as well have no opinion whatsoever. Arguably, that can explain why apathy is the new cultural norm. Information surrounds us everywhere we look. In the “free world,” accessibility to information is no longer an issue. It has actually transformed into an open source of vanity. We hold naïve expectations about humanity which teases us with perfectionism.
There is this presumption that more information means more intelligence.
For such reasons, we live in an Era of Knowledge in an Age of Information. Although, both represent nothing but a walking contradiction. Now more than ever, ignorance is a matter of choice which reflects on the quality of any given lifestyle. If there was such thing as free speech, individual freedom of thought would individually redeemable. There would be an increase in independently made knowledge. The intelligentsia would not be solely confined to the narrow halls of academia. On the contrary, people would start developing alternatives to it, but the freedom of speech is an issue that is much greater than academia.
The origin of an intellectual mindset begins with an appreciation of free thought which leads to free speech. Modesty is no longer a virtue. To get recognized, one must have an opportunistic alibi to power. That is one of the main reasons why the humble beginnings of the intellectual capitulates to the corrosive forces of power and control. If you are not louder and remorselessly aggressive enough, you will never beat out the competition. Ideas are constantly competing against each other for material spoils and endorsements. The success of an intellect is determined by a portfolio of honors, spoils of distinction, and superficial awards. All three describe the decorum of an established intelligentsia in all of its loftiness. A free society is distinguished by its ability to intellectually develop the legitimate worth of an opinion.
It is all too trite to reiterate. The highest intellects in history sought liberation from the elite establishment. Once it turns into an oppressive hegemony, it becomes a matter of time until it implodes. This is especially true of its ossification. In America, the youth are taught to value their own opinions as well as the opinions of others. School systems across America fail to prepare the next generation of Americans for the future. A fairy tale image of America is taught to youths which keeps communities of socio-economic privilege in zones of comfort and isolation. If one does not join the establishment, they are forever condemned to live on its outer lying fringes. A citizen therefore effectively becomes a freak show distraction for society’s entertainment. Americans like to believe they have the best nation in the world, but what makes a nation better than its international peers?
Is it the people, the national cultural values, or the contributions to the world at large? The rhetorical reality is overwhelmingly simple. America is not the world. The world is America. An appreciation of that maxim will take away a nation’s heliocentric obsession with itself. In a free society, the freedom of speech allows its citizens to work toward alternatives the elite establishment. As long as the freedom of speech challenges the status quo, it is ignored and neglected by its voracious remorseless defenders. Academia is by far one of its more voracious defenders forged through edicts of political correctness. The only group left to carry the torch are the same eccentrics we find in the intellectual cultural fringe. If citizens are denied free leverage in society by way of their ideas, we should then realize that the freedom of speech is dead.
Although the United States has been in a state of decline since the late 2000s, it remains the world’s premier superpower. As a result, trends in America will continue to influence trends around the world. However, will the freedom of speech be used to prepare for the next great renaissance or will it be used as an illusion to divide, conquer, and stratify by means of the status quo?
Omar Alansari-Kreger, of Minneapolis, is a Muslim-American, a writer and a social activist.
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