Opinion is not an Entitlement!!

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Is everyone entitled to his opinion? No, with a capital ‘N’.

In this age, where everything that can be established, can be established, entitling someone to his/her opinion is considered a logical fallacy. Yes, people are permitted to hold opinions over matters of faith and personal preferences; there cannot be any arguments over such matters. Theists, monotheists and atheists can dabble in a debate over divinity till cows come home, yet they wouldn’t have come to conclusions. Likewise, there can’t be arguments over whether an apple is better or an orange is better. These are all matters of individual preferences.

However, to hold opinions over ‘provable’ matters is incorrect and misleading. For instance, over matters concerning science, politics, law, warfare etc it is not correct to express an opinion for an individual, unless he has knowledge of the subject. Opinion being the lowest form of human knowledge requires no accountability and responsibility. Let us take, for instance, the most debated topic in India: Who is better, NaMo or RaGa? One cannot express an opinion over any of the two individuals and be done with it. There are evidences and performance parameters that confirm the leadership qualities of the two unequal leaders, today. Yes, having said that, one can continue to have his personal preference since it is his fundamental right. “You are entitled to your opinion”, is believed to be a phrase built to end arguments, prevent yelling, and provide a middle ground for those who simply cannot agree. Therefore, if someone lets you get away with an opinion that RaGa is indeed better than NaMo, you need to understand that he is providing you an honorable exit in a public discourse!!

In this context, it is worthwhile to recall the old quote from Occam’s Barber. He says, “You are completely entitled to your opinions that are not supported by evidence. But, the moment you spread that opinion as fact, you become a liar. And, if you spread it as a fact, fully knowing that it is not supported by evidence, you become a liar and a fraud”.

Lastly, do have your opinions very strongly, but hold them loosely. Because, sooner or later, bereft of reason and logic, many of the opinions will crumble under their own weight. In this age of infinite information, one needs to have ‘facts’ and not ‘opinions’.

 

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