Have you ever been on the wrong side of history?
I mean by that question, have you ever decided that your view on something important is outmoded?
I was on the wrong side of history when I opposed same-sex marriage decades ago. I thought same-sex civil unions could take the place of marriage.
I failed to recognise the continued oppression involved in refusing to let same-sex individuals marry. I never bought the arguments of the crowd opposed to same-sex marriage -- that civilisation would unravel. Australia has had same-sex marriage for a few years now, and the nation remains as civilised as ever.
Now I wonder what other ideas I have that will one day be considered on the wrong side of history.
I reckon my views are good ones. I am against domestic violence. I am against spanking children. I am for regulated assisted dying. But we sometimes are blind to new information and ideas when we form our views.
As a practical matter, my view amounts to one vote here and there. But votes can add up. In some countries, votes by men gave women the right to vote. And the right to work and to own property. Votes gave couples the option of no-fault divorce. If I had been alive a hundred years ago, I might have voted in favour of prohibition. I might have joined a communist party. With good intentions, I would have put myself on the wrong side of history.
Wars can put a person on the wrong side of history. I see Australia's role in WW II as being on the right side of history. Participation in the many other wars -- no. Climate change is a huge political matter now. I feel good about my view. I wish I had more than one vote to cast in elections that decide whether the government takes climate-related actions.
I view myself on the right side of the Covid political war -- I favour strong government actions to reduce spread. I am not sure about my views regarding legalisation of drugs like cannabis and cocaine for adults.
I favour legalisation, but I could be wrong.
Of course, you have your own views of which is the right side on matters of national or worldwide importance.
You have your own views on what matters are important. Think about your views now and then.
Do you see yourself on the right side?
Read more Malouff:
John Malouff is an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology, University of New England.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Follow us on Google News Showcase
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.