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You are not entitled to your opinion

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Erebus, May 8, 2019.

  1. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    This statement has been attributed to author Harlan Ellison, though it appears to be far more polite than his actual phrasing.

    Regardless of your views on Ellison himself, what are your thoughts on this sentiment? Is an opinion formed from ignorance something people are entitled to? Why or why not?
     
  2. Rival

    Rival Noachide Counter-Revolutionary
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    If you are not entitled to form your own opinions, however bizarre, you cease to be an individual.
     
    #2 Rival, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  3. Audie

    Audie Well-Known Member

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    Depends where you are.
    Islam does not allow for your own opinions.
    The Cultural Revolution didnt, either.
     
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  4. Daemon Sophic

    Daemon Sophic Avatar in flux

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    I think that the quote (assuming it is accurate) is a poorly phrased turn on an axiom that I have often used.
    You are entitled to whatever opinions you like. But you are only entitled to the one set of facts.”

    As to you question. “Is an opinion formed from ignorance something people are entitled to?”. - Yes. Sure. All the little children can run about playing at whatever fantasy games they like. But instituting those fantasies as legal precedents over a population? No.
     
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  5. Stevicus

    Stevicus Well-Known Member
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    I suppose it can be argued in the abstract, but then it would also imply that no one would actually be qualified to enforce such a principle. It would require someone to form an opinion based on their own projection of someone else's alleged ignorance. But unless they can read minds, they wouldn't be able to completely know and verify whether someone is truly "ignorant" or not.

    So, in order to declare someone as "ignorant," one would have to make an opinion formed from ignorance.
     
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  6. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    You could have them, you just couldn't express them. ;)
     
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  7. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    Fundamentally, a person's opinions can't really be corralled or controlled. They can be "informed," obviously, and change as new information is presented, but even totalitarian regimes cannot truly "control" people's opinions. Maybe their public opinions to an extent.

    And regardless, one need only take the idea to an extreme and ask "What if one were the last person on Earth?" Then guess what? Have at it. No matter what opinion you hold, it doesn't matter - you're "entitled" to hold it. So... just because other people happen to be present, that in no way makes the case any different really. You may apply a filter in public, but your opinions are your own, and of course you are entitled to them. No one else can even come close to doing anything "real" about them except try to sway you to their own once they know you are of a different opinion.

    You may as well say that people aren't entitled to their own thoughts. That statement is is just as dumb as when "opinions" is substituted. And if Ellison meant "public opinions", then that's what he should have said. There are certainly opinions that will come with their own punishments when cast out into the public sphere - opinions that a person is still "allowed" to hold, and therefore (like thoughts) are entitled to them. In the end I would argue that it's not the opinion itself that is the problem... the problem is when those holding the "ignorant opinions" try to convince others to think the same.
     
    #7 A Vestigial Mote, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  8. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    I think this is a very sound view.

    It's important to distinguish between privately held opinions and opinions which you impose on others. To give a bit of a light-hearted example: In my opinion, hot chilli sauce is far better than sweet chilli sauce. It has a better flavour and a satisfying kick to it. I'm entitled to that opinion despite knowing very little about chilli sauce other than my own preferences. If however I wanted to impose my tastes on others by campaigning to have sweet chilli replaced entirely, then my opinion doesn't cut it.
     
  9. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Anyone is entitled to their opinion no matter how silly that opinion is? You cannot regulate stupidity
     
  10. FragrantGrace

    FragrantGrace If winning isn't everything why do they keep score

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  11. mikkel_the_dane

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    So morality/ethics/the law is a fact? Or is it an opinion?
     
  12. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    "Entitled" is just a strange word to use here. Since when is having an opinion of any sort a privilege (as entitlement implies)? Isn't it an inevitable condition of being autonomous biological organisms with brains?
     
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  13. Sanzbir

    Sanzbir Well-Known Member

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    The statement seems naive, foolish, and in itself uninformed and ignorant. A great-sounding soundbite, perhaps at first, but it won't hold up to how humans actually behave.

    People will, as they do, continue to look for the facts or statistics that support them, and take those, and will consider themselves informed. Then they'll turn around and smugly use the Ellison quote as further support on their own position (because they are the informed ones, obviously) and against their ideological foes, while their foes do the exact same thing believing they are the informed party.

    The big problem with the quote is that every single person believes themselves to be informed, regardless of the truth of that matter. And there are plenty of people interested in manipulating the flow of information, thus controlling the process of becoming informed, and shaping minds and opinions.
     
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  14. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    Very true!
     
  15. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    Like nearly all such pithy little sayings, it's too simplistic to be precisely or universally true. Like a painting of a forest and not the trees. It does illustrate something important.
    Tom
     
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  16. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    Now this is a fair point. It's impossible for us not to have opinions and equally impossible for us to research all the opinions we hold. Also, as others have pointed out, an opinion isn't something that can be confiscated from somebody's mind so whether or not they're thought to be entitled to it is irrelevant.



    Speaking for myself, my main issue with the quote is that it fails to provide a necessary distinction: To what extent does your opinion affect people other than yourself? As mentioned earlier, an opinion alone isn't sufficient reason to create laws. Hot chilli sauce being better than sweet chilli sauce though? Well, by holding that opinion the only person who can get hurt is me ... and the pain is glorious!
     
  17. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    This sort of assumes that our species evolved to be particularly adept at identifying which of our opinions are based on the impartial analysis of credible information, and which are not.

    Everyone holds a least some opinions formed from ignorance, and it is ignorant to believe otherwise.
     
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  18. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    Another distinction it fails to make is "how important is the opinion?"

    Opinions that are put into law or something are very important. If you want to open a Mexican restaurant and serve only spicy sauce that isn't important to me, because I can go elsewhere.
    Tom
     
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  19. David T

    David T Well-Known Member
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    A poorly worded sentiment.
    Is a sentiment a valid something or is it just another opinion?
     
  20. David T

    David T Well-Known Member
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    Oh that last phrase is a good one .Socrates said he was at least aware if what he didn't know, and the ones arguing with him weren't even aware of that!
     
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