January 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm #19639rtMember
I’m an 18 years old European Highschool student and Europeans are strong supporters of gun control. Yesterday in school, our teacher talked about the recent shooting and why gun control is necessary. And I just sat there…
I could have taken a stance, but I didn’t. I was too afraid to speak and stand up for my believes! What’s the point of reading Rothbard and other giant libertarians and keep all this information for myself? I’ve got to think about Ron Paul being booed at but nevertheless told the crowd what he believed to be right.
Are there any of you, who have the same problem? Or could you give me some advice? I’m pretty passionate about most of my positions and know how to defend them. It’s not a lack of persuasion or knowledge. I’m just afraid to be in the minority and having everyone else against me…January 17, 2013 at 2:59 pm #19640ellis_andrew598Member
I have the same problems. I’m an economics major in America and all the professors follow Keynesian policies and Austrian economics are only mentioned to be criticized. It’s difficult to speak up because the teacher is supposed to be a trusted source of information and you can’t contradict them without looking somewhat foolish to those around you, especially since many swallow everything they hear without any question.January 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm #19641jerry3643Member
Pick your battles. If you do it in a room with a bunch of people who are probably all against you like in a class room you will just be shouted over and you can’t possible defend against hundreds of remarks at once. Try it out in smaller groups when you’re chatting with friends.
And be prepared to have the feeling afterwards of, ” I shoulda said this and I shoulda mentioned that”. It’s all normal but you get better in time.
Another way to interject in a classroom (which is sort of dishonest but I’ve done it before) is phrase your disapproval of what they are saying as a question. Something like.. ” A friend of mine once told me such and such about economies (or whatever) and I didn’t know how to answer him.”
Then sit back and listen to what they say. Load that reply into you mind and go do research on it and find out whats wrong with it either factually or logically.
That is assuming it is indeed wrong. One must always be willing to question even their deepest of convictions and honest enough to admit when something is right.January 18, 2013 at 8:17 pm #19642
If you’re dealing with a fairly large group of people with opposing views, it can be hard to speak up and state your own opinion. Psychology terms a similar (or perhaps the same) phenomena “groupthink,” where groups tend to come to a certain conclusion while avoiding alternative viewpoints simply to pursue conformity and minimize conflict. For all you know, you’re not the only one with your viewpoint. Maybe there are 1 or 2 other people in your class with beliefs influenced by Austrian economics and/or libertarianism.
Usually in situations like these, stating your opinion for the first time is the hardest. Speaking up will get much easier after that.
What I’d recommend, is if you can’t find a specific point where you feel comfortable giving your opinion as a statement, is to ask it in the form of a question.
For example, your teacher or classmate says “The gun murder rate in the US is so much higher than in our country. Gun control is obviously the sensible solution.”
You could reply:
1) “Did you know that the UK used to have very lax gun laws and yet its crime rate was very low? From that it seems apparent that crime and murder rates don’t always move inversely with the amount of gun control. Do you think the high crime rate or murder rate in the US could be a consequence of something else, such as the drug war?”
2) “I read online that the crime rate and the murder rate in the US are down 50% since 20 years ago. I know we don’t normally hear facts like this, but the # of guns (or guns/capita) increased over that time (I think? Don’t use this statistic if it’s wrong haha, but giving it as an example anyway). Why do you think that is? If this trend continues, won’t the US’s murder rate become extremely low without gun control?
Sometimes questions like these are even better than outright stating your opinion because it makes your classmates think. Occasionally when two sides have opposing viewpoints, each side can get very hostile, stop listening to each other, and start trying to win the argument rather than discussing what will actually make the world a better place. You don’t want to fall in this trap, especially when you’re alone vs. maybe 20 others. Try to have a proper discussion with your classmates and don’t get heated up. You said you’re confident you can back up your opinion, but if for some reason you can’t, never be afraid to say “I don’t know” or “I probably need to look into that.” The only people don’t want to say things like that is if they’re too intent on winning the argument rather than having a discussion geared toward finding the truth. (I know this only because I have been one of those people that just want to win the argument haha) And of course, if they ask you what your opinion is, be ready to state it. This isn’t a way to completely avoid stating your opinion, it’s a way to ease into it when you’re uncomfortable doing it outright.
So if this appeals to you, you don’t have to use my questions of course, make your own or choose whatever you’re comfortable with.January 20, 2013 at 2:38 am #19643decarllMember
At least they won’t be against you with guns.January 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm #19644
It’s all fine.January 21, 2013 at 8:16 am #19645
They ought to have reputation buttons so I could +1 you for your original post, hayek_novice. Made my advice seem pretty useless though!January 21, 2013 at 5:20 pm #19646
Oops, sorry Bharat, I thought no one saw that… on second thought it sounded a bit too smart-alecky, so I removed it. Your reply is very good too, it’s a different perspective.January 21, 2013 at 5:21 pm #19647
Oh yeah haha I just thought it was funny. I subscribed to the thread so I got the original comment in an e-mail.January 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm #19648
I just found this youtube audio book of some self-help classic from 1930ies I didn’t know of before: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2pRKGRbsZQ
After listening to part 1 (out of 9) it seems it could be relevant for this issue (about stop worrying etc). Maybe check it out.January 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm #19649rtMember
Thank You for all your kind replies. I’ll get back to you soon with a bigger reply and I’ll check out the video behind the link!
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