As that old proverb says, all good things must come to an end. At long last, to the joy of some and the great disappointment of others, you’re reading my final column of the semester. While I won’t miss the hate mail, I’ll miss this great opportunity I had to speak to my peers. Here are some of my final thoughts before I go.
First and foremost, I’d like to sincerely thank the Alligator and its staff for publishing my columns this semester. The Alligator was not, and is not obliged to publish different, and perhaps unpopular, points of view. But they did, and I thank them for it. I believe their decision to publish my columns was an honorable commitment to diversity of opinion — a type of diversity that is not well received these days on college campuses.
Second, writing for the Alligator and receiving feedback from my harshest critics was a learning experience. This opportunity has shown me that many of my peers on campus are alarmingly and incredibly ignorant. While their idiocy occasionally provided for a cynical laugh, it is also disturbing. These peers of ours, like the ones who labeled me a racist for opposing net neutrality, and a Nazi for defending free speech, will be entering the workforce soon, presumably as active members of society. This fact alone should frighten everyone on campus.
To you, my liberal critics: many of you have lamented my criticism of the fragility of millennial Americans. Call them what you want—snowflakes, coddled children, or my personal preference, the mentally ill. Whichever term you choose, the fact remains that many of our peers truly do have mental issues. What else would you call the violent, fascistic responses to differing points of view? If you’re unable to read or listen to a different viewpoint, as my column has demonstrably shown this semester, you don’t belong in college or the real world.
In just the past few weeks alone, we have seen students on campus tear down posters and assault others simply for having a different opinion. In another case, a professor even sympathized with his students who wanted to “punch the conservative” in the classroom. Really? Physically attack someone for disagreeing with you? Society would be best served if these individuals stayed at home with their mothers and fathers, where they can be protected from different points of view.
Some have accused me of being a snowflake myself, a “whiny conservative,” simply for highlighting this reality. Clearly none of this is true. I don’t scream and shout like a spoiled brat at those with whom I disagree. I don’t demand others be silenced because I’m insecure about the validity of my own views. And I certainly don’t use the classic snowflake retort: ad hominem attacks and accusing people of one of the many “-isms” — racism, sexism,etc.
I’ve also never demanded unanimous support for my columns. I understand that there are those who disagree with me. There always will be, but I hope that for every snowflake reaction to one of my columns, there has also been a reaction of respectful disagreement. It is to those individuals that I address my final words.
To my friends on the rational left: even if you have never found common cause with me, I hope you have at least tried to see things from my perspective. How would you feel if conservative students destroyed your advertisements the next time you tried to bring a speaker to campus? How would you feel if conservative students ripped down your flyers and posters, which took time and money to create? How would you feel if you could not honestly express your views in the classroom, for fear of retribution from a professor?
The truth is, many of you will likely never experience any of these things. Many conservatives do on a daily basis.
If you take anything from reading my columns this semester, it should be to not allow this extreme fascist minority to define you. Lastly, I implore you to stand up against those who would silence others and to defend the right to speech, especially speech you disagree with.
Eduardo Neret is a UF finance senior. His columns appeared on Wednesdays.