Opinions, opinions…

Everybody is entitled to their opinions. And, in a forum that can adhere to fundamental principles of free speech, they are entitled to express those opinions.
However, free speech is, almost by definition, a two way street. You are entitled to express your opinions. And we, the receivers or readers, are entitled to comment and express our reaction to your opinions.
Now, what I am starting to see on Facebook, and I see it every election season, is people starting a posting with a variant of the phrase “this is my opinion and I’m entitled to it”.
I don’t think this is really what you mean. In fact I know that is not really what some of you mean. I know this because today somebody prefixed their posting with “I’m entitled to my opinion” but then suffixed it with “don’t try to argue with me on this”.
So what they were really saying was “I’m entitled to my opinion and i don’t want to read anything that contradicts it.”
Sorry, but No.
The only people who get to shut off dissent in that fashion in the real world are dictators.
The rest of us have the right and the ability to respond to opinions in any way we choose, within some limits (like not making personal threats). I intend to exercise that right whenever I determine that I want to.
If you don’t want to read any comments that might contradict your Extremely Important opinions, I suggest that you work out how to disable comments on your postings. Or you can moderate your comment threads, zapping any comments that you don’t like.
Of course I know you won’t do that, because you would love people who wrote in and said things like “right on!” or “Yeah!”. In other words, you love affirmation, but you can’t handle dissent.
That is sad, because dissent and argument are one of the mechanisms that help to advance human thinking and actions. When people all sit around agreeing with each other, nothing much changes.


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