A free thinker is someone who, along with a moral compass, can investigate, analyze and reflect on a subject without being swayed by any of the propaganda that surrounds them. Words are the most powerful device in steering people into thinking certain thoughts, and these words usually come from the people around them. I asked my friend recently who he was voting for in the upcoming election. He replied, “McCain, my dad would kill me if I ever voted for a black man.” As bright as daylight he admitted to not thinking for himself and going along with his dad. My friend was persuaded into having these certain thoughts and opinions about the other candidate that weren’t his own. Ignorance.
Have you ever thought about what it would be like growing up in Germany during the Holocaust as you watched millions of people get taken from their homes and shipped off to detainment camps? What about being a white man in the south who didn’t own slaves, but watched as slave owners treated their slaves like peasants? The people who were witnessing these things saw this behavior as acceptable or felt they had no power to change the status quo. Nobody spoke out when the good-hearted Jewish family down the street disappeared, or when they saw their friend Billy lawlessly lash one of his slave’s back multiple times until blood poured from his back and tears poured from his eyes. These are all terrible things that could have been prevented had somebody had a mind of their own instead of conforming to the people around them. The vast majority of the people went along with Hitler or the southern white slave owners because they weren’t directly affected in a bad way by their actions. Ignorance.
Now I’m sure you’re saying that this has all happened in the past, and we know now that we shouldn’t let things like this happen. To an extent, you’re right. We are now a more knowledgeable people, but still many people do not know how to think for themselves and still base their opinions on the opinions of the people they’re around; this was one of the problems that allowed the Holocaust and slavery to occur. I believe kids need to learn to think for themselves so they don’t just mimic society in the acceptable thing to do because society’s “right” is not always the right thing to do; a free thinker understands this.
We need to address this issue in America. We need to teach our citizens what it means to be able to make their own opinions so we don’t have a country filled with ignorant people, like my friend. Most people have never been taught to think for themselves because it isn’t something taught in schools or at most homes. People need to learn what it means to be free-thinkers, and once this happens America will lose a great deal of ignorance that we unknowingly possess.
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