Wednesday, August 5, 2015

On Opinion

Opinions are good. They are something that everyone should have. The best thing is that you can have as many as you like. The worst thing is that so many opinions are wrong. But you're still allowed to have them.

Not only that, in this country, opinions can be freely expressed. Right or wrong. At least this is true for now. There are so many out there that would limit free expression to only what is politically correct. 

The strange thing is that the heart of limiting free expression is in the colleges. The one place where free expression should be encouraged. Whether they be right or wrong, good or evil, beautiful or ugly, opinion on campus should never be limited nor punished for representing whatever ism is unpopular at any time. That is the heart and soul of Socratic debate, where all learning begins and if done well, never ends.

Opinions even have value. I don't mean that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you find out you are right about something. I mean cold hard cash. Watch TV any Sunday morning. All those talking heads on there are selling nothing but their, usually less than humble, opinion. The spinmeisters are selling other peoples opinions to make those opinions seem great and significant. 

I have no quarrel with that. They are obvious and recognizable. That is their life and welcome to it. There is one area where I do have a problem with the selling of opinion for cash. That is when those that claim to be reporters bundle up their opinions and sell them as news. Lately, it seems that we see more of that than we see of real news. 

I love opinion in newspapers. When it is on the op-ed page. When I see opinion on page one above the fold, it reminds me why once great newspapers are failing. Aah yes, all the opinion that is fit to print.

But most of all, I love it when candidates are given a chance to express their opinion. Then to be pushed and challenged. The stress of hard and fair questioning can be a great leveler. Fair questioning. Not when the moderator brings his or her opinions into the fray as happened so blatantly in the last Presidential debates.

This is the time when opinions really count. At least that is my opinion. 

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