As usual, I am peering over the foot of my bed, interrupting Kate’s binge watch of 13 Reasons Why to contemplate some theory from some class. (I will be resuming my binge watch of the FX OJ trial series shortly)
We are currently taking Politics of Diversity with about seven of our closest friends and one of our (or at least one of my) favorite professors. At first, I regretted taking a class dealing with race, gender identity sexual orientation, marriage and so forth with my closest friends. It became rather clear we had vastly contrasting opinions, but luckily we are all entitled to our own opinions.
I find this phrase “I am entitled to my own opinion” to be the most frustrating and irritating phrase in the English language. Actually, translate it into any language, I still hate it. My reason for hating this phase is how it is used as a copout. The moment someone disagrees, we claim to have different options and the conversation abruptly ends. But why must the conversation end because we disagree? After all many great works are centered around a conversation of differing opinions. Plato’s dialogues, Aquinas’ replies to objections, for most works presented in the manner we can see how the arguments develop and become stronger.
My rant was sparked by a book I am reading written by my professor and inspired by this course (10/10 recommend). I am reading this book for the purpose of writing a paper on if I believe in polygamy and why.
In Sex and the iWorld my professor outlines three worlds each containing a set of social norms, and the implications said norms have on sex, relationships, and a living a fulfilling human life. In his explanation of the iWorld, Kuehne outlines a thought experiment, that is, most, unfortunately, all too real.
“1. Go into any mixed social setting in which those in attendance don’t know each other well. [persoanly I think you can do this in any social setting]
2. ask a moral question of anyone in the group.
3. After they’ve answered, ask them, in front of others, if they believe that those who disagree with them are wrong
4. As soon as the word ‘wrong’ is spoken you will see discomfort or even anger in the body language of each member of the group.
5. See how long it takes for the person to repudiate your assertation that his or her beliefs about morality are true, by explaining that these moral beliefs are merely opinions.
6. Watch everyone avoid you for the rest of the evening, and see if you ever get invited back” (Kuehne 68).
Currently, everyone thinks they can have their own option, and the second anyone refutes their claims, the reply is ‘well that is your opinion’. And to be perfectly honest, and please excuse me, but anyone who tells me that can shove it. Fine, yeah, sure you can have your own opinion, if and only if, you provide a sound logical argument.
If I say you’re wrong, I will also tell you why I find your argument to be flawed and thus incorrect. I will also respectfully and appreciatively accept any objections you raise on my behalf.
Personally, I believe the politically correct, personal opinion society we live in is ridiculous. The ridiculous matter is the elimination of universal absolutes. If everything is up to individual opinion, then nothing can be said to be absolute. If their are absoluts, then I fear making them known incase I offend someone.
Furthermore, in eliminating the concept of universal truths nothing can be said to be morally good or evil. After all, I have the right to my own opinion if something is good or evil, and cannot be told I am wrong. We no longer use our reason to conclude who’s opinion is in fact, correct. Reason is our highest most pure attribute. Yet we cannot rationally converse with one another for fear of offending someone because we disagree.
Reason is our highest most pure attribute. We continue to neglect exercising reason because we cannot verbally object to someone’s opinion. We are losing the opportunity to rationally converse with one another for fear of offending someone because we disagree.
It is 100% acceptable to disagree. Disagreement is beautiful. It challenges us to think in depth, to explore new sides to our argument. In doing so, we may, shockingly, discover universal absolutes, or truths. When the majority comes to points of agreement, it is not a mere coincidence. Human beings possess universal intrinsic qualities such as truth, justice, and goodness. These are not matters of opinion.
I do not believe this because it is my opinion. I choose to believe this after considering many arguments from all sides. I believe Plato’s forms are true and extend to matters of gender and species. Generally speaking, Plato’s forms claim there is some transcendent realm containing perfect beauty, truth, and justice. This realm contains perfect forms from which all objects created contain a collection of attributes which are imperfect images of the forms (if you have read his Cave Allegory, the forms are a similar concept, images created based on existing things outside of the cave).
It isn’t your opinion if you cannot provide a reason. Reason is a logical, contemplative (con-temp-la-tive not contem-plative) process. You are only entitled to your opinion in so far as you contemplate your belief and find a logical purpose for believing it.
I can go on, and I probably will at another point, I just believe we need to reorient our way of conversing. We need to be open to hearing each other’s reasons, not opinions, we need to be open to objecting to each other, and accept objections. It is NOT your opinion, it is your argument, defend it.