Education Trumps Fear
In light of recent political events, college students and other members of the community must band together to promote education and open-mindedness.
By Aaron Lynch, Front Range Community College
Legislation recently passed in Montreal that will effectively ban pit bulls (dog breeds with a specific body type or square heads).
The vote will force pit owners to either move, live under extra fees and tight restrictions (including a muzzle when in public) or put their animals down.
I personally thought this issue had been put to bed a few years ago, as many cities had begun to repeal their breed restrictions. As it turns out, the case for pit bulls is easy to make. But this seemingly regressive measure in Montreal is really just a symptom of a much larger ailment to the world. Fear.
History is full of superfluous government regulations based on social anxieties, from the Roman prohibition of Christianity to our present day prohibition of Cannabis. And there are two common themes among many such examples; they are largely unsuccessful and based in misunderstanding.
The Past: Prohibition
Many cases of forbiddance have had unintended negative consequences. When we look at the 1920s, the 18th Amendment had the effect of decentralizing the market for alcohol. The market still existed, but no longer had oversight. This gave way to the rise of violent mobsters and moonshiners as crime went through the roof. Plus, the buyers never knew whether they were buying a bottle of rye or a bottle of rubbing alcohol.
We are actually witnessing a similar process (in reverse) with Cannabis. The US government is beginning to realize it could use the tax revenue brought in by marijuana, not to mention the ease legalization could give to prisons and the DEA (and its funding). Not to mention the vast sums that drug cartels lose to legal weed in the US which weakens crime on an international scale.
Though it’s unlikely that banning dog breeds will create a black market for pit bulls, governments could still learn a valuable lesson: Banning a product gives power to the people willing to commit crimes to provide it.
Those who want violent dogs are just going to move on to non-banned breeds (seriously, we already went through this with Rottweilers). Those who want to commit armed robberies will use guns purchased legally or illegally. Those who want to smoke weed will purchase from a dispensary or from a dealer. The means make little difference to a determined will.
If we really want to make the public safe from vicious animals, illicit drugs or anything else, the first step is to help each societal member comprehend the issue at a fundamental level. Rather than just trying to cut it out completely, learning about what causes the issue can fix it before it even starts. For some reason, this has proved to be easier said than done.
The Present: Education
The fear of pit bulls, the fear of Cannabis, the fear of homosexuality, these all stem from a rudimentary misunderstanding of the issues themselves. So it makes sense that fully comprehending these rudiments would soothe such concerns.
But it can be tough for people to accept education. To be taught is to admit that you still have things to learn and that you’re probably wrong in some of your beliefs. But it’s important to remember that whether you admit it or not, your wrong convictions will always be wrong. The first step in changing yourself is realizing that you need to change.
Your education doesn’t end when you drop out of high school nor when you receive your PhD. Being educated is a lifelong commitment to keeping your mind sharp. Everyone is wrong at some point in their life, the only shame is in refusing to admit it in the face of proof.
Understand that vicious pit bulls are just regular happy dogs that have been intentionally mistreated by irresponsible owners. Understand that Cannabis does you less harm than alcohol and that who someone takes to the bedroom is actually none of your damn business.
Understand anything that’s bothering you and you’ll sleep better at night.
It’s important to remember that you can’t believe everything that is said online or on TV; you have to cross reference most of your daily intake to form a credible opinion. News organizations have to make money and will slant information to fit the narrative they believe will attract the most viewers or clicks.
Education has worked on passed controversial topics and will work in the future for breed restrictions and other forms of needless regulation. In order to end the terror that seems to grip the world today, we must maintain a diligent education. Political correctness isn’t crippling this country, fear is.
The Future: Students
Since education is key to soothing unrest and college is the highest level of education available, students are in the perfect position to fully grasp literally any topic they want. Not only do campuses have an abundance of minds ready to teach and learn, but most academics are approaching the age where they will be able to create tangible awareness of social and political issues.
With the utilization of the internet, college kids have access to more information and ability to network than ever before. It is absolutely critical for them to use this to their advantage and engage in mindful debates with their classmates. Open-mindedness is best when instilled at the youngest age possible, however this attitude is the most prevalent in learning institutions. The whole point of going to college is to challenge not only your academic ability, but your ideology as well. You may lose a debate and have your beliefs altered. More importantly though, you may win that debate, altering the beliefs of others, benefiting not only them but society too.
Unfortunately, some people prefer to stay in their walled gardens and shut out all differing opinions (particularly with social media algorithms). When you encounter people like this it’s important to be graceful and to show tolerance even to the intolerant. A condescending argument, no matter how correct, will always incite some form of opposition.
I implore my fellow students to really listen to and comprehend ideas that oppose their own, no matter how ridiculous they may seem. I implore you to strip yourself of preconceived notions and objectify your anxieties in an attempt to find their roots.
Fill your mind with knowledge and leave no room for irrational fears; they won’t serve you or anyone else when it’s time to take action. This generation is the future of a globalized world that has no certainties. We must make ourselves as prepared as possible to take on the unknown.