An Unhumble Opinion

Jef Rouner hates opinions. Well, maybe not quite. I’ll let him explain it:

I spend far more time arguing on the Internet than can possibly be healthy, and the word I’ve come to loath more than any other is “opinion”. Opinion, or worse “belief”, has become the shield of every poorly-conceived notion that worms its way onto social media.

Skeptical-HippoI share the desire for a better-informed public. But people have been ill-informed, emotional, and downright irrational about public policy issues for long time. The Greeks killed Socrates and the Romans allowed Jesus to be crucified. Mr. Rouners’s side of the political fence is the one who believes the solution to this problem is to encourage or force the uninterested portion of the populace to vote at a higher rate.

I could do without Mr. Rouner’s self-congratulation on his intellectual prowess and superiority. There’s certainly nothing wrong with taking a strong interest in public policy. I do the same. But not everyone shares that interest, and wants to spend the time researching public policy questions so they can wax eloquent on their positions. Most people just want to take care of their kids, or go hunting and fishing, or read science fiction, or even pray, rather than maniacally following the shenanigans of a bunch of maniacs in Washington, DC. But sometimes they still get asked questions by pollsters, or read an article that seems off to them, and want to state their opinion. Only a jerk angrily rants at them for not having a detailed point paper to back up the quick calculation of their gut, heart, and brain.

And while his pet peeve is the half-informed trying to temper their statements with “that’s just my opinion”, my pet peeve is liberals posturing in a way that makes it seem as if their opinions have the backing of facts. Let me use your Rouner’s example to explain: Continue reading