In the bible the book of James tells us, “Be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger.” The reality of the world we are currently living in, however, is more like, “Speak loudly, never listen and instantly be angry.” Is it any wonder that the further we get away from biblical truths the more chaotic society becomes? Why has civil discourse become so uncivil? How has the elimination of free speech come to represent an expression of free speech? Why has listening to an opposing view become a traitorous act to those with whom we share our current views? Thoughts, reactions and judgments are confined to and under the strict control of whatever bubble we are living in. We have become a society of bubbles.
When I was young being called a bubblehead was not considered a compliment. Today, however, the term bubblehead accurately describes the vast majority of people who live under the control of group-think where any deviation from the collective is seen as betrayal and will not be tolerated. The free exchange of ideas is strongly discouraged and opposing ideas must be eliminated. “Group-think” has replaced individual expression which has fostered a society where brutish tribalism is the rule of the land.
Ken Stern, the former CEO of National Public Radio, decided to leave his liberal elite bubble and venture into the land of Conservatives and Republicans to find out what life is really like on the other side. The details of his one year journey can be found in his book, “Republican Like Me,” where he details his eye opening experience. During his interview on FOX News, Stern related how his close friends and even his wife denounced his attempt to understand the thoughts of the opposition and to try and find some common ground. To his astonishment he discovered that Conservatives were nothing at all like the liberal stereotypes that he had grown up espousing. Perhaps the most astonishing result of his one year journey was that his views on “Gun control” had totally flip-flopped. He heard real life stories of people who were saved as a result of gun ownership and examined actual evidence on the subject and realized that his previous beliefs were founded on nothing more than liberal propaganda and not truth.
One reason why race relations in America are deteriorating so quickly is that everyone who has an opinion on the subject has firmly entrenched themselves in a like-minded bubble where there is no room for another perspective. The liberal black bubble wants to denounce any white person as racist and the white bubble wants to deny that there are some legitimate grievances within the black community. No one who lives in a bubble is willing to even consider that there might be some truths that are not welcome in their bubble. Group-think is powerful. Group-think is destructive. Group-think is cowardly.
Another problem with the bubblehead mentality that so permeates our society is that issues often get whittled down to bumper sticker phrases. Unfortunately many issues are far more complex than a single talking point but bubble group-think dumbs down issues so much that no individual thought is required. How ironic is it that many of the very people who decry the evils of segregation in our country’s past have embraced and promote the segregation of thoughts. Our country exploded in greatness when the ethnic bubbles that dominated our cities burst and the best of different cultures was shared by everyone. Open your hearts and open your minds, you may just find that there is more truth out there than you ever imagined. Or is it possible that you are afraid at what you might find?