Yesterday, I bumped into a philosophical blog written by a man who’s views were of a definite non-mainstream nature. He wrote about how fat people are never beautiful and how homosexuality is fundamentally wrong, things like that. Now, he actually did this in an intellectual manner – it was clear from his writing that he was smart and well-educated, with a keen and critical mind. Some of what he said did have merit – but not all of it. He was evidently a highly cynical person who refused to accept authority of any kind, and wouldn’t allow himself to be swayed by mainstream thought. This I endorse, as it is a very good state of mind to adopt, especially if one has an interest in philosophy. But he failed to embrace a fully philosophical approach. He didn’t accept things as they were, but challenged them, which was good – but then he assumed that his conclusions were necessarily right, which was bad. I wanted to comment on one of his posts, to question some of his assertions and see whether I could draw him into a debate, but found that I couldn’t. He had decided to disband comments on his blog posts, I read, because he found that most people disagreed with what he said. Which, to be frank, didn’t surprise me.
Naturally, he’s free to do whatever he wants to do, and I can understand his reasoning. Apart from anything else, judging from the content on his blog he would probably get a lot of vitriol thrown at him if he did allow comments. So, in a way, society is at fault. If we lived in the sort of world where, if we stumbled across someone who disagreed with our views, we would try to understand this person’s arguments and then question them in a polite and reasoned manner, he may simply have welcomed the opportunity to have his views challenged. But we seem to prefer to get angry and indignant. Nevertheless, it brought home a couple of important points for me. Firstly, that it really is very important to allow room for discussion when arguing against accepted norms – or when arguing in any way whatsoever. Secondly, that we should never forget that sometimes society is wrong, and people like this blogger are right; as said, some of what he had written made sense.