My wife says I'm getting more opinionated as I get older. I'm not sure how to take her comment. But I am sure about one thing: Everyone is *not* entitled to an opinion. Instead, we should insist that everyone should be entitled to have a reasonable opinion. Here's the difference:
A mere opinion can be held out of plain stubbornness or unwillingness to consider another's perspective.
A reasonable opinion, on the other hand, is an opinion that has a reason to support it. That reason can be based on one or more of several things:
1. Facts: Objective data points
2. Filters: Personal biases, experiences, and perceptions
3. Feelings: The emotional responses you have toward information
4. Forecasts: Predictions or assumptions about the future
Here's the thing...
The saying,"Everyone is entitled to an opinion," has another message embedded within it: "Everyone's opinion should be considered and respected."
But this causes problems since many opinions are not based in fact or reality and, as a result, cannot withstand scrutiny.
When an unreasonable opinion is attacked, the opinion-holder immediately lashes and either makes accusations against their "attacker" (for that is exactly how they feel the situation is) or continues with more uninformed statements and wild gesticulation.
I don't mean to sound like an intellectual elitist. In fact, I admit that I have likely have many opinions for which I cannot give solid reasoning. But that's only because I haven't considered them to find out my reasoning.
I also don't mean to sound heartless or cold regarding the opinions of others. I'm quite considerate of other people's opinions, feelings, and perspectives during a conversation or while writing an email, text, or article.
Still, I'm quite fed up with being asked to give credence to any and every opinion that passes me in the hallway merely because it exists.
I'd rather cut to the chase, save myself anguish and hours of beating my head against the wall, and only accept opinions that show some semblance of critical thinking.
My opinion doesn't have to be right. In fact, I welcome being wrong since I can learn from it.
But that comes from reasonable discussions with people who have reasonable opinions.
Again, I'm not giving myself or anyone license to be rude, condescending, or flippant regarding the views of others. That would be unreasonable.
I'm just tired of pretending everyone has a point when they sometimes don't.
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