by Liza Peoples '20
When a typical NCS student imagines the social conservative, she may automatically think of the anti-LGBT+, sexist, medieval abortion bill supporting Christian straight white male from a rural county in Kentucky. This image is just as distorted as it is false. Even though the liberal-bubble that is the NCS community advocates for inclusive speech and the continual rupture of stereotypical representation of groups and individuals, for some reason it chooses to draw the line of inclusion at even an inkling of diversity of thought. The former representation of the perception of social conservatism at NCS may have been a slight extreme but it is not far from the truth.
For myself, I may be both socially and fiscally conservative, but unfortunately even for those who support identity politics and political correctness for every constructed thought, that does not make me a Nazi, a racist, a homophobe, or even a bigot. I am a libertarian, which basically means that I want government out of my life and out of everyone else’s life as long as said individual’s expression of freedom does not interfere with the freedom and rights of another individual. Following this definition, even a person who has religious objections to gay relationships could not logically deny them the right of civil union, especially since under our laws married couples have different legal standing when it comes to adoption, separation, and even taxes. Furthermore, just because I may support more traditional values, basically centralized on family, work ethic, and my own religious tradition, I by no means want to force any other individual to adhere to my goals and ambitions.
The disconnect that occurs between my understanding of conservatism and the narrative perpetuated by the average NCS student is largely based on a misinterpretation of the common buzzword terminology. I readily listen to opposing views, which there are plenty of at NCS, but just because I don’t automatically adhere to their point of view suddenly I become a bigot. The NCS liberal bubble causes the individual to assume that something that may just be the majority view in our community is automatically the norm, or even the requirement, everywhere. I quite enjoy discussing politics, but when nine other people will not even let me speak to substantiate my point because I am a “bigot” for not agreeing with them, that is no longer a debate, that is the purest possible example of bigotry.
I’ve had conversations with people by typing on the notes section of a phone and passing it back and forth because they are afraid that people will find out that they are pro-life, or maybe don’t support affirmative action. We would all like to say that we are brave, but what scares people is not the outright confrontations, but just the knowledge that people around them might consider them less kind, less accepting, less human all just because of false presumptions.
The resulting social alienation and downright derogatory rhetoric towards non-liberals on the close can be easily exemplified by the passing of the two pro-life legislation packages in Georgia and in Alabama. Instagram stories were littered with columns stating, “men shouldn’t be making laws about women’s bodies”, despite the Alabama bill being introduced by a female representative and signed into law by a female governor, and with an image with five cherry-picked despicable and disgusting quotes spoken in the past by five random republican representatives, none of which are from either Georgia or Alabama, and none of which have any relation to the current legislation posed for discussion. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% for freedom of speech (as an ardent advocate of the constitution), and these people can and should post whatever they would like. However, such rhetoric paints the pro-life movement as a woman-hating, medieval, vindictive, and something that could only be accepted by the cruelest fringes of society. Meanwhile, abortion is actually a 48/48 issue, a fact skewed by the lack of perspective held on the close.
A significant portion of such attitudes unsurprisingly comes from both an intentional and unintentional agenda within the administration. We would all love to say that our opinions are original and come from intrinsic understanding of the world developed deep within our soul. Unfortunately for those idealists, our value systems are mostly constructed by our surroundings, partially from our parents and partially from other systems that surround us. From as early as fourth grade NCS students are taught that our school offers objective educational understanding of the world, and it is through this lens that students interpret driven opinions.
Such a perspective continuously invalidates the conservative point of view, a chief example being Diversity Forum. Under the guise of educational discussions, participants have the subconscious takeaway that physical diversity is more important than intellectual diversity. Don’t get me wrong, a completely valid view point, but it is one sided. If NCS wants to get participation up they need look no further than increasing the diversity of perspective, not based on identifiers that cannot be changed from birth, rather by what truly defines who we are inside, our values and our opinions.
If you take nothing else away, maybe consider that it is not an inclusive environment, or a “safe space” if you will, when someone cannot share a perspective seen by half of the US population without being seen as less of a person at NCS.