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Why I Do NOT Respect Opinions Unconditionally

Dark Qiviut


Opinions are like fingerprints. Everyone has at least one, and they tend to be unique. They can be popular, unpopular, or controversial. That I don't care about.


But if there is one thing that royally gets my goat is this perception that he or she is entitled to his opinion, especially when this said person is saying something poorly informed or ignorant (i.e., homophobia) as a means of being free from persecution. To echo the quote from my signature:

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” - Harlan Ellison


Just because you express an opinion does NOT give you the freedom of criticism. It does NOT give you the freedom of being persecuted. It does NOT give you the freedom of people calling your logic a bunch of garbage.


I'm a debater by heart, and have been since I first published this essay more than three and a half years now. When I see someone giving an opinion, I follow this guideline (copied-and-pasted from my rebuttal to a homophobic brony's white knight):

  1. Does the opinion have logical, common sense reasons behind it?
  2. Can you back up your opinion with evidence from reliable sources?
  3. Is the opinion very clearly organized?
  4. Does the opinion NOT contain blind prejudice, and does the opinion not use some kind of element like an excuse to mask common sense?
  5. Is the opinion, after gathering all of the evidence, based on a logical, clear conclusion?

If you follow this guideline completely, then chances are you have a GOOD — or should I say well-informed — opinion. And this is what I respect: an opinion backed up by a logical argument. If you don't, then chances are you have a BAD opinion.


Then there is this fallacy of how people blindly believe their opinions shouldn't be challenged. If you're going to express your opinion, regardless of whether it's popular or not, expect people like myself to see it backed up. If you don't (or if you back it up poorly), then regardless of whether they agree or disagree with you, you're open to getting your opinion challenged and criticized. Respect of an opinion is a privilege only. Display ignorance or stupidity in your opinion, and my respect of your opinion is quickly LOST. In the U.S., your opinion doesn't force the government from throwing you in jail, but it doesn't guarantee you freedom from public persecution.


To put it bluntly, not all opinions are equal.


And that's the code I follow. Respecting people's opinions blindly insults my intelligence. Give me an opinion followed by a good argument, and I'll respect your opinion. But give me poor logic to back up your opinion, then I won't respect your opinion.


Of course, depending on the subject and whether it follows the topic/forum rules or not, I may or may not challenge or critique it openly.

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What blind prejudice? I believe that gay people are the spawn of satan come to this earth to eat babies because I heard a guy say it on the internet one time in a chat room. If that isn't being well informed, I don't know what is!

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No offense but this seems highly pretentious. You do not have to agree with someone's opinion, but there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't respect it.


You can say an opinion lacks logic, it still does not make it any less of an opinion or any less important than your own.

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But who's to say that common sense is all one shared idea? Sticking with homophobia, people who believe in God and those portions of the Bible that deal with the persecution of gays, they would see themselves as well informed. The idea behind it is subjective. What one person sees as logical and reasonable, may not seem that way to someone else. That's the major battleground between science and religion.


Remember, a couple hundred years ago, it was accepted that the world was flat. That was common sense for people. There was no scientific reasoning behind it, though; which is why it was questioned and eventually proven wrong. But you can't say anyone's opinion is less worthy than that of someone you deem to be well informed. On the same line, the first man who said the Earth was not the center of the universe was thought to be a mad man. Now, we know he's right. But before there was proof, the well informed notion was that the Earth was at the center of things.


Granted, homophobia and the Earth not being the flat center of the universe aren't really comparable, but the well informed common sense ideals have changed over the years, giving people a lot of reason to doubt just about anything. And they are absolutely entitled to their opinions. You may not like their opinion, you may not agree with it, but they are entitled to whatever opinion their mind forms. As are you.


I don't think that people throw their opinions out there to have them respected. They'd certainly like that, but, I think, they throw them out there because either, someone asks, or they're looking to start a discussion on the issue. To find someone who agrees with them. Inherent in that though, you'll always find someone who disagrees with you as well.


I get that you say you don't automatically respect others' opinions but to say that anyone anywhere is not entitled to their opinion, because of a subjective reason like being informed, to me, borders on dictatorial thinking. You say that all opinions are not equal but also that they are completely unique to everyone. By that logic, not all people are equal.


That's the side of free speech people don't often think about. Everyone is allowed to think and say whatever they want. Whether it agrees with you and your ideals or not. Homophobic people absolutely have a right to say they don't like gays. I may not like what they have to say and I may not agree with them, but I will always defend their right to say it.

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No offense but this seems highly pretentious. You do not have to agree with someone's opinion, but there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't respect it.

I don't care if I agree with the person or not. What I care is whether the logic behind the opinion is good.


Does the logic make any kind of sense?


Is the logic clear and objective?


If it's not, then his or her opinion is a very bad one. To make one example, one review from IGN (for Sonic Generations HD) gave the game a great score, and I agree that the game IS good. But the person who wrote the review never properly explained the positives or negatives. It's just a bunch of claims, and that's that. I critically think, and I always keep asking questions so I can get a clear answer. The reviewer didn't do that, and as a result, his opinion is a bunch of crap.


You can say an opinion lacks logic, it still does not make it any less of an opinion or any less important than your own.

You're dead wrong here. Opinions don't have equal weight. If your argument behind your opinion is backed up by logical evidence and conclusions, then people will listen to you. Your words will have much more weight. Therefore, your opinion will be much more convincing.


Whereas if your opinion doesn't have that well-informed logic, then you're open to being criticized and challenged by others.

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No offense but this seems highly pretentious. You do not have to agree with someone's opinion, but there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't respect it.


You can say an opinion lacks logic, it still does not make it any less of an opinion or any less important than your own.



I don't have an obligation to respect people, and I don't have an obligation to respect their opinions either. Respect is to be earned.

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In most of my situations, it's so much me not respecting other's it's rather other others not giving care to even attempt to see my point of view. (Not that I ever get respect, anyways...)


This 'Alicorn' guy, who was pretty fresh-meet to the analytical side of the fandom was off going on a tangent over how Alicorns are similar to gods in over half of his video run-time, and seeing how none of writers are taking Alicorns in such a way after much evidence in the characterizations and Twilicorn, I discreetly commented about his opinion. Not seeing this as anything else but 'flaming biased spam', he took no care in reading it and understanding because he stated that it 'made no sense whatsoever'. If the guy wants to post his opinion with such confidence to the general public of YouTube, he should expect something in return. If not, what's the point of the video?


I agree with everything above, but no matter how biased it may seem, people should still give opinions some chance and understanding before disagreeing. Then you can determine if what weight it holds.

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That was an interesting read, and I agree. Opinions should only be respected when there is sufficient logic behind it, but I also think blindly enforcing your opinion on someone else is also wrong. 


The statement I try to live by is "Never state your opinion as fact." Do I come across as angry, mean, or condescending sometimes? Yea, but I definitely don't try to force you to believe what I believe. I know that I may come across that way to you too, Dark Qiviut, but please understand that I usually just want you to elaborate a bit more on a particular point. That's all, good blog entry.

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If one truly believes that all opinions should be respected unconditionally, then s/he should also respect it if someone opines that not all opinions should be respected unconditionally. :P

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