A link to the essay ‘No, It’s Not Your Opinion. You’re Just Wrong’ came across my Facebook feed the other day and I fell in love with it. If I could I would have the post’s babies. Writer Jef Rouner sums up exactly how I feel when someone tries to avoid being wrong by saying ‘It’s my opinion..’. I am saving this text for the future because I will need it.
What mucks it all up is when a narrow set of information is assumed to be wider than it is. There is a difference between a belief and things you just didn’t know. It’s easy to believe, for instance, that whites face as much discrimination as people of color, but only if you are completely ignorant of the unemployment rates of blacks versus whites, the fact that of the Fortune 500 CEOs only five are black, or the fact that of the 43 men who have been president 42.5 of them have been white.
In other words, you can form an opinion in a bubble, and for the first couple of decades of our lives we all do. However, eventually you are going to venture out into the world and find that what you thought was an informed opinion was actually just a tiny thought based on little data and your feelings. Many, many, many of your opinions will turn out to be uninformed or just flat out wrong. No, the fact that you believed it doesn’t make it any more valid or worthwhile, and nobody owes your viewpoint any respect simply because it is yours.
You can be wrong or ignorant. It will happen. Reality does not care about your feelings. Education does not exist to persecute you. The misinformed are not an ethnic minority being oppressed. What’s that? Planned Parenthood is chopping up dead babies and selling them for phat cash? No, that’s not what actually happened. No, it’s not your opinion. You’re just wrong.
Yes, being proven wrong isn’t oppression. It is a learning experience or a teachable moment.
Don’t get me started on the similar “Let’s agree to disagree…”