Opinions, Editorials and Essays

Can One Be Too Open Minded?

Disclaimer: The opinions stated here are posed by the author of the web site and may be considered controversial. The opinions stated are only of the author and not of the sponsors.

Almost everyone agrees it is a bad thing to be narrow minded as you can miss out on a lot as far as relating to people, information, and even to the degree of your own life path can be hindered by not broadening your horizons.

Any extreme can be bad. That includes being too accepting of everything in an almost anarchist revolt on morals and modes. But you have to make a clear difference here, are you talking about being too open minded about accepting people or the actions of the people?

Society has the right to dictate what is and is not acceptable behaviour. Those who choose to believe in God believe He is the one to instill certain rights or wrongs in our conscience. Those who choose not to believe in God believe it is one of those things bred into us to survive as a species.

To be open minded enough to accept and love people is great. You can learn a lot from people, even from the ones with whom you disagree or find aggravating. Tolerance for people is the key to peace. Unfortunately, someone will always have something against another person and that is human nature. It is one thing if you have something against someone who did something directly affecting you versus a blanket hatred of a person or group of people with whom you have never be in contact with.

However, tolerance for people does not mean you have to accept bad behaviour or actions. That would be too open minded if you think you need to accept everything someone does as A-OK.

A prime example, one which may offend some people, is those who have something against the rights of gay people and then to compare it to the rights of the pedophile.

Some argue that both the homosexual and pedophile were both born that way. If that were true, then they can't help how they are, but do they have the power to help how they behave?

If a homosexual acts on their traits, the only ones affected are the other homosexuals with whom they have a relationship. Homosexuals generally proceed with a consenting partner.

On the other hand, if a pedophile acts on their traits, the ones affected are children whom are not consenting and will have a lifetime to deal with the emotional scars.

If both are inborn traits, can society be open minded enough to say both have the same rights? If both inborn traits were given the same standards, that would be quite unfair to squelch the homosexuals for fear of the pedophiles.

What if said topics were instead behaviour problems or a mental illness? This would also be unfair as the homosexuals pose no threat to themselves or society in their behaviour whereas the pedophiles do indeed pose a threat.

One could be too open minded to the point of generalizing everything as in the above case. Those two things are like comparing apples with oranges, yet a lot of people want to draw that same conclusion that both are the same. Society can accept both the homosexual and pedophile persons with open arms, but expect them to comply with the law as everyone else. Most homosexuals are law abiding citizens except in areas where such acts are illegal and even then are only doing it to a consenting person. Pedophiles who act on their feelings are not as it is rape with an non-consenting minor.

It does not mean that all pedophiles are monsters, but for the sake of the children should be kept far away from them. Homosexuals aren't doing anything to society except making some people feel uncomfortable. There is a big difference between making people feel uncomfortable and a grown person who would rape a child.

And those who are hardest on the homosexuals who are probably either born that way or have a mental illness have to ask themselves, if that is the case, do they give the same hard time to those who are schizophrenic or are born with CP? Those who cite their hatred to homosexual because the Bible says to hate it must also ask if they give this same treatment to liars, thieves and fornicators.

Another example is that of the White Supremacist groups. Sure, in this country they have the right to assemble and put up presses to spread their message of hate. Most people consider them a bunch of ignorant hicks, but that does not make them any less human. We don't have to accept and embrace their message in order to validate their right to be. Their behaviour is something we don't have to be THAT open minded to accept. But we must remember that those filled with hate are usually angry, frustrated and cannot find a better way to cope with the problems except through blame. It is still not right, but it makes it easier to accept the people, but not the attitude.

We should never accept another action like Tim McVeigh's work. What he did was wrong. There is no way to be open minded about his behaviour. For him as a person, one can be open minded enough to forgive his actions as he has already paid for his crime in the most extreme way. He was a pathetic human being who was lost and misguided. His family and friends probably miss him quite a bit. That in no way excuses what he did. Should we be open minded enough to accept such actions? No.

What about ideas? Has anyone heard of the Satanic Bible? Have you actually read it? I have and was quite surprised when I decided to let down my preconceived notions of Satanic ritual scare tactics ingrained into my mind from the Christian religion. One might think from all the press that Satan worshippers who go out to kill people and slaughter animals in graveyards do so because that book alone told them they must do that and felt compelled to do so. This is why a few communities have banned this book.

The Satanic Bible is just the anti-theme of the Christian Bible. It is more or less a parody. The idea that perhaps Satan isn't as bad as everyone thinks and it is God who is the real evil one smearing Satan's name. Its main theme is we are human and should be true to our human nature without worrying about the Biblical guidelines which are next to impossible to keep. If someone smites you, don't turn the other cheek, smite them back.

Those are just ideas. Whether you act on those ideas or not is on you. If you go against the laws set up by society, you should pay the price for your crime. Will reading the works of Stalin make you a Communist? Will reading Mein Kampf make you a NAZI? Will reading Tom Sawyer make you a lazy boy who tries to get out of doing your chores?

What about video games or movies? Should we allow every theme? Some people really enjoy the violent and strong sexual content, yet do not feel compelled to act on them. Should they be deprived of a form of enjoyment because of a few who will act on it? Well, we do have too much violence and sex in our society as a result of our entertainment, but again this is a behavioural problem that should not be accepted at all costs.

What about drug use? Some people think if drugs were made legal, there would be less crime and those who need help with their addictions would be more prone to get help. Besides, they argue, a person has the right to do what they want with their own bodies. One could be open minded enough to say that it's your body and you have the right to abuse it any way you see fit. If you feel this way, you might be open minded enough to want all drugs legal.

The only problem with this behaviour is it creates a burden on a society that did not choose the consequences for someone elses' bad decision. Drug users who get behind the wheel of a car and kill people are a danger to society at large. Drug addicts who end up sick are a burden to taxpayers. Drugs have been known to destroy families which also create a domino effect of creating a burden to society and taxpayers. Some drug substances are so addictive that it only takes one time to ruin the life of the user and those around them who did not have a choice in the matter. This is a behaviour problem which should not be accepted as okay.

The same can be said with food. One could be open minded enough to create the most addictive treat and advertise it everywhere even though it is 500% of the fat and calories one should have in a week per serving size. We should say we are accepting of the person who is fat, but the behaviour causing obesity is not one we should accept. It is just as bad as being addicted to drugs or alcohol. Obesity can be prevented, cured, or at the very least curtailed. It is an illness and needs to be treated aggressively. Society is slowly killing its people with food. Accept the person and be open minded enough to be kind to the fat person, but don't accept the behaviour.

To show my age, I remember when I was a kid and Maude was on tv. There was an episode about abortion. I was only 8 and had no idea what that meant. My parents were outraged about the topic and would never allow me and my sister to watch it again after we were quickly shooed out of the room. Today, if you have cable they allow 5 out of the 7 words that you once were never allowed to say on television. Network tv is not much better. South Park has pushed the envelope with that when one episode was entirely devoted to one of those words. We have accepted these forms of entertainment with open arms and seem to want to push the envelope further. Where does it stop and should it? There is always the off button if you can't take the ride anymore.

Ideas can push your mind into bigger and greater thought. You can take it to high or low places. Ideas in and of themselves are harmless. There is a movie that talks about a future world where one who even thinks about a crime is arrested. Should we go there? No. It was only an idea and not the behaviour of the act. Such a person who thinks that way should be treated with compassion and talked into a better course.

Should our society be THAT open minded that we can accept ALL behaviour? No. Should our society be open minded enough to accept people and try to learn from them that we may help one another? Yes. Can we safely accept all ideas even if we don't agree with them? Only time will tell.