In Defense of Repugnance – Religion and Politics

Kurt's Religion and Politics

20201023 In Defense of Repugnance – The Daily Summation
202010232 In Defense of Repugnance – The Daily Summation Podcast

I’m sure you’ve been witness to various things, you would refer to as repugnant. If you haven’t, I would assume you’re quite young, or exceptionally sheltered.

I’m not sitting here, assuming people you count friends or family, have necessarily been the sources of the things about which I’m speaking. Further, I may even have been the culprit, where the offense is concerned.

Here’s the thing, I’m not certain exactly how far afield the 1st Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, can be reasonably applied. I’ve recently heard folks who insist there’s some doctrine, that extends its reach beyond the national congress. Whatever the case, I support the idea of the rights it protects, being shielded, to the furthest reasonable boundary.

Yes, that includes people who say and even to some degree, do, things I count obnoxious.

To be clear, if a person is doing something otherwise illegal, those rights may be curtailed by that action, or those statements.

So for example, if you’ve sworn yourself to secrecy, by applying for, and receiving, a government security clearance, you should be ready for some level of fallout, should you make known, things you learn, as a result of exposure to classified information. That’s regardless whether or not the intent of your actions is, “whistle blowing.”

In the end though, I can think of few if any, rights I feel it less appropriate to curtail, than the god-given one, to freedom of speech.

Allow me now, to present some reasons for saying so.

To begin with, letting people speak, even when what they say is to the level of abhorrence, ensures that 1st Amendment is not likely to be abridged. If folks can utter things others revile, it’s more than a little unlikely they’ll be censored for things said, that are considered far closer to normal, and


It’s also true that hearing folks express ideas and concepts that appear nigh unto insanity, helps one to recognize when such things are posited. In the process, one should be able to maintain a better sense of balance in ideas, by and large.

Let me bring up another interesting consideration. I’m sure you’ve been apprised of circumstances in which folks were caught unawares, by the startling, possibly even shocking, actions of someone else.

Where there’s no guarantee, it’s possible if that person felt at ease expressing his or her mental state, the situation or occurrence in question, could have been at least better understood, if not avoided entirely.

In general, I think most people know, saying something that sounds outlandish, will at best, garner them disapproving looks, and at worst, cause them to be dealt with, quite harshly.

In short, letting others speak their minds, lets you know who they are.

At this point, things get interesting. How many times, has someone been fearful of expressing themselves, and as a result, held their tongue, only to have the thing they would have said, come back and bite others, who would’ve had a hard time hearing them?

To put it simply, what that person puts out there, may seem bizarre, or even offensive, but you may come to realize, the person is actually correct.

Here’s the thing, even if what another imparts is generally wrong, it still may help you to realize things you’ve missed, or misunderstood. That’s even the case when the one doing so, doesn’t say what you come to realize; when it was unintentionally conveyed.

That person may end up using you as a sounding board of sorts. I’m not to saying they won’t get an echo, just that it may not match what they tried to make known.

It’s entirely possible I could come up with yet more reasons, to allow people to speak their peace even when what they say seems untoward, but the question in my mind would be, “Do you really need them?”

I’ll bring up one more. It’s a truth of life, that people who spend the time to voice things that flow from their thought process, may tend to feel a great deal less valued, when others don’t make the effort, to listen to the result of their doing so.

On top of that, when you do take that moment to hear others out, you’re presented with a unique opportunity, to discuss with them, what they’ve released for consideration.

In doing so, particularly if one can manage civility in the process, there are a some potential outcomes, that can be pretty great.

The first of these, is that you can help the other, to come to a better understanding, of the thing discussed.

The obvious second, is when you become more aware, or enlightened, as a result.

Finally—and this has happened for me, more times than I can recall—it’s not entirely unheard of, for both parties, to receive, or conceive, some sort of revelation as a result of the encounter.

Here’s the thing, if nothing else, you may help that person feel like others care enough to listen to him or her. That alone, makes it potentially, a very worthwhile thing to do, much of the time.

I’m not suggesting that you need to agree with what’s been spoken, just that you listen, and better yet, work to try to understand.

Being the father of a Moderately Autistic son, I can’t begin to make plain, how important it is for my child, that I work to comprehend, and often even echo back, sometimes very simple recognition, of the things he utters.

Though it may be less of a consideration for people who don’t have issues with communication, if a person’s putting things out there, that are untoward and potentially unsettling, do you suppose they might fall in the camp of those who do?

For the causes stated, I would argue that letting people hold forth when you’re able—even when what they choose to express, seems to be of no value, or is even seemingly problematic—is potentially a much more valuable thing, than you might recognize without diving a little deeper, than most are prone to. If you manage nothing else, you may just help a person in despair, to feel a little better, and it’s possible, you might accomplish a great deal more.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prove you're human *