Are You Allowed To Have An Opinion On An Issue That Doesn’t ‘Affect’ You?

‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’

18 April 2018

I don’t think people are necessarily entitled to their opinion. You’re certainly free to have one, but only those who can argue for their viewpoint deserve to keep it. Anything else is just blind faith, backed up by contrived evidence.

In a debate, you know someone has lost when they resort to shielding themselves from further attack by simply stating that they’re ‘entitled’ to their opinion.

You shouldn’t cling to an idea you can’t defend. But as long as you can fight for your beliefs and remain open-minded enough to evaluate others, then there should be no further problems. It doesn’t matter who’s speaking or what coloured skin covers the skull that encases the mind that came up with the idea—valid conviction speaks for itself.

But for some people, this isn’t good enough. For some, it really does matter who’s speaking and what uncontrollable traits they bear.

In some cases, identity can play a big role in speech. Thoughts and opinions indeed appear stronger when you have a personal link with the issue being discussed. An immigrant isn’t an authority on immigration, but their anecdotes may be useful in a discussion on borders.

We are almost always more likely to hear out the person who is clearly going to be affected by an action or order.

However, this bias doesn’t render all other opinions moot. As long as you can back it up like always, you’re allowed to formulate whatever belief you want on whatever issue, be it one you are directly affected by or not.

The value of input is not dependent on one’s identity or past experiences. If this wasn’t the case, we as human beings would never be able to talk about anything that doesn’t exist within each of our very small bubbles.

A good idea should be able to stand up on its own. A bad idea should be toppled regardless of the person espousing it.

I’d still hate white supremacy if it came from a black man, and I’d still hate homophobia if it came from a gay person.

The content of your character matters more than the colour of your skin; the same goes for the content of your speech.

I’m not onboard with the idea that white people are being completely victimised in society, but I can admit that the culture has taken quite a bit of a turn, and it’s one that affects all of us.

The vague concept of ‘privileges’ has allowed the rampant scrubbing away of people’s opinions, all due to their apparent social standing.

Too many times have I heard that men shouldn’t sound off on abortion, because it’s not their body and they’ll never get pregnant. Too many times have I heard that whites shouldn’t be heard on the topic of racism, because ‘it’s literally impossible to be racist to a white person.’

When we distil issues down like this, we lower their importance as well as trivialise their potential impact on wider society.

Saying that abortion only affects women or racism only affects people of colour minimises both of those problems, increasing the time it takes for us to solve them. It’s also a complete middle finger to anyone who seeks to solve injustices, whether or not those injustices are ‘their business.’

This defence is just another way of rebuffing an opinion without rebutting it. When your argument is literally the other person’s race or gender, you’re limiting the evidence for your beliefs to whomever you happen to be debating.

You can tell men to shut up about abortion all you want, but what do you say when your opponent is a woman against abortion?

Attacking ideas always proves far more effective than attacking people. The former uses their words against them, while the latter merely uses their appearance against them.

Nazis aren’t crazy because non-Jews shouldn’t be allowed to have an opinion on Jews, they’re crazy because their ideology is crazy.

The idea that [blank] isn’t allowed to have an opinion on [blank] because they are not [blank] is just another way of ignorantly saying you’re ‘entitled to your opinion’ and someone else isn’t, regardless of the evidence that reinforces those beliefs.

All issues affect us in some way, and it shouldn’t just be the victims who are allowed to make judgements on those issues.

I honestly believe that most agree with this idea, as the counter to it—a world where everyone must be parochial—is completely asinine. But too often are people inclined to defend their values the easy way, shutting down their opponents by saying they never should’ve opened their mouth to begin with. 

4 comments

  1. As most of us had to work to obtain any real privileges we have, the total elimination of discrimination on the job is most important. After that probably comes total elimination of racist housing practices. A lot of changes have occurred in these areas since 1960.
    ㅤBut apparently in all these years we haven’t changed the way Blacks FEEL. Should success be measured according how one feels? If so, then after 60 years of effort, multiculturalism has failed.

    Liked by 1 person

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