Opinions need to be better defended


Liam Frith photographed by Isabella Kneeshaw.

Liam Frith, Staff Writer

Many opinions today have become useless reflections of memorized talking points, instant and agentless preplanned performances that serve no purpose outside of giving the illusion someone cares. This problem is shown and proven by a popular tone society has taken on disagreements, that in the end both sides’ ideas are ok, good and only differences of equally-valuable perspectives. 

Taking this attitude toward opinions presupposes two dangerously ignorant things: that both sides’ views share similar goals and that both arguments are constructed with honest intentions. The topic of climate change is a prime example of this, with many people’s positions being influenced by purposefully deceptive and dishonest messaging from those with a concealed secondary motive.

In most cases, these assumptions entirely ignore reality in pursuit of some meaningless feeling of agreement, and while this attitude toward dispute is usually harmless, it becomes exceedingly dangerous when it’s – as it often is – applied to issues that have real, negative impacts on the lives of many, issues concerning the environment, human rights, freedom and other topics directly affecting people. These aren’t things we can hold half-caring, “we should respect all ways of thought” and “everyone is right in their own way” stances on, these are topics that have right and wrong, evil and good answers. 

Notable horse enthusiast Friedrich Neitzche agrees in his humbly titled writing, “Why I Am So Clever,” describing this attitude toward disagreement held by so many as an instance where “… the instinct for self-defense has decayed….” Later, Neitzche even calls the overwhelming detachment needed in taking this meaningless, actionless and pointless position on disagreement as, “… positively vicious.”

Opinions are subjective, but this doesn’t mean they’re equal. Some can be rightfully disregarded, disrespected, and declared wrong. While you should always have the capacity to change your mind, opinions need to be committed to, not carelessly held and unenthusiastically defended. Values need to be protected and fought for. Otherwise, what’s the point of them?