Is everyone entitled to an opinion?
Well are ya, punk?
Guest Blog by Rumpole of Random Topics
I often see people post....... "Everyone is entitled to an opinion"
I cringe at the use of the word "entitled".. but that is a separate issue in itself.
I do agree that "Freedom of Speech" is an important concept, but it has never been an absolute. The classic counter example to total freedom of speech is that people are not "free" to shout "FIRE!" in a crowded theatre. Furthermore there is a competing "freedom" of people who own and run the newspapers, web sites or whatever that may disseminate people's "opinions". They certainly have the right to not allow speech.. for any reason, including no reason in particular. My interest and personal experience is in Discussion Forums. Where posters often mistakenly think that they have a right to post anything, including, and especially, daft opinions that are at odds with known facts, or at the very least are pure speculation, not supported by any facts. Such posters are the authors I refer to as the "everyone is entitled to an opinion" crowd. I guess that if a web site (for instance) were run by a government body and funded with tax payers' money, then there might be some legitimate claim that all tax payers were "entitled" to post an opinion? But even that, in practice, would I am sure, involve control and censorship. It should be no surprise that all web sites are controlled by their owners to a greater or lesser extent. Not all admit it. Forums are NOT Democracies at all. They are usually Dictatorships, or perhaps Oligarchies run by a small clique. Members at such places who stamp their little feet and bang on about "entitled to an opinion" need to realise that they are all just..... "pissin' in the wind"
An opinion without knowledge of the facts is also known as a "wild guess".
A person may have a guess and form an "opinion", without knowing all, or any facts, but a rational person will then modify or abandon that opinion as facts come to light.
When a person clings to an opinion that is incompatible with facts (reality), and instead chooses to deny those facts (reality), that is the reverse of how rational people resolve "Cognitive Dissonance".
When a person continues to post what they affectionately call "My Opinion" (IMO) despite the facts, with overwhelming evidence that they are wrong, they are either being argumentative just to cause trouble....
|Typical Traybot Worrier/ Twitter sewer twitterer|
"Everyone entitled to an opinion"
There are forums and blogs where lip service is paid to: "everyone is entitled to an opinion".(but on closer inspection not every opinion is tolerated). If that is what the owners (and posters) want, fine. There is room for that in the more "social" threads at forums. Some people like to chat and gossip, blissfully ignorant of the facts, just pulling comments out of their arses.
However, that is not the same as serious discussion when it comes to news and cases. The issue I have with that is that often such places "have delusions of grandeur". Rather than accept that even in case threads they are just gossiping, with little regard for facts, they claim to be investigating, analysing and even "solving" crimes. Typically they claim to be "supporting victims" and their families. Of course their postings are irrelevant and not seen by the real players in any case, and besides they may well get things wrong. They decree who the "victim" is at the outset before even looking at all the facts, and then shut down half of any discussion with edicts... Achtung! der victim iz nicht fer der bashinzen! ("No bashing the victim"). Problem is... they may well pick the wrong person to bestow "victim-hood" on, and they are devoid of the ability to use the logical thought process that would enable them to resolve that mistake properly.
Ironically, at the same time they relentlessly "bash" whoever they deem to be a "perp", and often "bash" and bully any posters who dare to try and post facts questioning the forum "group think". It's all about HATE. The naming of a "victim" is just a stepping stone on the way to naming a "perp". What really drives posting is hate for the perp, his appearance, his weight, his hair, etc etc.... his family, his friends, his lawyers, witnesses who support his case, and anybody who expresses support, or even just makes neutral comments about facts that contradict the forum "group think" (mass hysteria).
At first glance it might seem to be a "given" that people are entitled to an opinion... one's thoughts are one's own, doncha know?. But are they? Gullible people are susceptible to having their "thoughts" cynically manipulated by others. The false narrative IMPRINTED on Traybot Worriers by the Scheme Team is an obvious example.
I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not entitled to be right, and certainly not entitled to express that opinion anywhere they choose. Rational people re-assess their opinions in the light of new information. Thinking people need to be aware that their opinions can be manipulated by false information fed to them by Schemers (eg politicians) to further their own agenda.
Hold on to the belief that you are "entitled to an opinion" but consider whether or not it is a rational opinion not at odds with known facts, and that it is YOUR opinion and not an opinion cynically foisted on you by others who would use you as a "useful idiot".
Do not go gentle into that good night.
__________ Rage, rage against the dying of the light