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Is it Good to Have Ideological Diversity in America?


Omair Ali

Perspectives Editor

Ideological diversity can be described as the vast collection of ideas shared by members of society that help form political, social, and religious identities. While ideological diversity and (relative) inter-ideological peace is a characteristic America, other societies struggle immensely with integrating peace among groups of different ideologies.

For instance, last week’s terrorist attack at an Egyptian mosque was the consequence of intrafaith ideological differences. But even America is not immune to violent behavior driven by radical ideology. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there was a significant number of reported hate crimes in 2016. Laws can only do so much to prevent destructive behavior.

Having ideological diversity in America is both good and bad.

On one hand, having ideological diversity is consistent with the law. To a large extent, Americans have the freedom to maintain their ideological perspectives without fear of reprisal.

But, ideological differences can enable the formation of in-groups and out-groups that can lead to hostile attitudes and behaviors between groups. The mixing of these opposing groups in public spaces can have consequences, as seen in the brawls during the Charlottesville protests.

It is certainly even more problematic when perceived ideological differences can motivate people of one ideological perspective to commit hate crimes towards people with an alternative perspective. This is where allowing extreme ideologies in the overall ideological diversity is undesirable.

Ideological differences can enable the formation of in-groups and out-groups that can lead to hostile attitudes and behaviors between groups. Photo Credit: Timeshighereducation.com

Society is better off when individuals and entities work together to fight hatred so that future destructive behaviors can be mitigated. Therefore, patience and hope are not enough to stave off today’s eruption of hate crimes. Rather, solving hatred begins with improving ourselves. For instance, our internal biases make us all culpable of possessing negative attitudes towards certain groups of people, so it is our responsibility to scrutinize our views and attempt to develop a more positive understanding of these out-groups.

Better education within our own communities about the virtues of other ideological perspectives could also eradicate identity politics and tribalism based on race, nationality, religion and ethnicity that is leading to hate-fueled crimes throughout America. But these improvements can only happen with open-mindedness.