We live during a time where the battle of ideas is just as fierce as the battle of nations. The United States presents a unique environment that allows for freedom of speech, which was intended to allow everyone to speak their mind freely without fear of government censorship. Over time the topics of discussion and debate have changed from formal public debate over ideas of slavery and the national bank, into emotionally fueled rants on the internet over exaggerated and sometimes falsified pretenses. Movements such as Black Lives Matter fuel racial hate by stereotyping white police officers as harbingers of black death. Political leaders manipulate and misrepresent data to fuel a personal agenda. News networks use radical and inflammatory interviews to portray supporters as either complete idiots or saints. All these groups are united in one thing. They abandon pursuits of truth for pursuits of agenda.
At Hillsdale we strive to understand the truth. Through study of history, the classics, and scripture, the women and men here struggle through what it means to be truthful, beautiful, and pure. That means we must subject all of our thoughts to examination and what each of them is based on. Without allowing ourselves to at least ponder new ideas, we will become cemented in our ideas. While this can be beneficial when it comes to ideas of charity and other virtues, being close-minded prevents us from looking for better things.
When one becomes so entrenched into their thoughts and ideas, everything begins to skew. If your belief is that white cops are out to murder black people, any thought you have regarding police and even white people in general will be of murderous, racist individuals, no matter their actions or beliefs. If your idea of Trump supporters is that they are all idiots, and vice versa for Hillary supporters, then you close yourself off from whole sets of people. If you believe that all people outside of your religious denomination are going to burn in hell, then you close yourself off from what they have to say, which might even offer ideas you never considered before.
Now even though agendas and immovable suppositions offer many challenges to growth, they can be used for our benefit. In our path to growth and learning, we reach points were we are not learning or adding to our core beliefs. It is at these points where the ideas we have must be clung to or left behind but when we come across more new things in life we must evaluate them. Through processes of evaluation, consideration, and thoughtful search of truth we can unburden ourselves from the downfalls of agendas and cling to the benefits of dutiful thought.