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Monday, April 6, 2015

Being "opinionated"

Gethin commented recently on the Millionth View post that "most philosophers [like Socrates] would maintain that being opinionated is a good thing."

I replied, "[Opinionated] is one of the most misleading words in circulation. Everybody is opinionated, whether they admit it or not..."

This blog is obviously nothing but opinion, so this is a somewhat defensive post. And I think what some people mean by "opinionated" is, people who feel obliged to aggressively give their opinions on absolutely everything, in every social situation.  But the idea that some people do not have opinions is ludicrous.

People will also sometimes say, "I'm not judgmental." The concept of a person who's completely nonjudgmental is equally silly. Everybody passes judgment on everybody; that's just human nature.

In fact, just by saying you're nonjudgmental -- as if that's a good thing --  you're effectively passing judgment on everybody who is judgmental. And since that's everybody, you're essentially condemning the entire human race.

Which is, when you think about it, the most judgmental statement of all.

Anyway, that's just my opinionated opinion. 


Anonymous said...

In my experience, those who say they're "not judgemental" are like sociopaths who advertise their purported virtue. If they really were impartial, they wouldn't feel the need to say that because it would be obvious. This may partly explain the phenomenon:

I've met people who say they're "not judgemental" and, if you know them for long enough, you'll find they inevitably can't help coming out with many judgemental statements. Not usually about someone's race, sex, sexuality, religion, etc - but about weight, dress sense, taste in books, accent, gait and so on. It's like people who say "no offence, but..." then immediately go on to say something offensive. It serves no purpose other than to absolve the speaker from feeling guilty for saying something they know to be insulting.

- Gethin

Shaun F said...

I appreciated that post. I find in general it's the people pleasing, spineless types that claim to be non-judgmental. "Can't we all just get along?" I have a particular distaste for these people - however, I'm judgmental and assertive as my former boss has noted.

John Craig said...

Gethin --
Good point; nobody ever voluntarily denies something unless it's actually true.

And yes, quite often when people say they're not "judgmental" they're referring to their political correctness, i.e., they're not judgmental about the things they're not supposed to be judgmental about, such as sexuality. It's another way of broadcasting their "goodness."

Nobody ever said to Ted Bundy, "You killed all those girls? it's okay, I'm not judgmental."

John Craig said...

Shaun --
Thank you….I'm not so sure it's their spinelessness as much as their innate dishonesty that bothers me. There's just no such thing as a sentient human being who's "nonjudgmental."

Shaun F said...

John - People who are honest are generally bothered by dishonest people. I must admit I am humoured by the way you frame certain observations in a simple way that I can grasp. I've learned to associate spinelessness with dishonesty as there is a correlation. It’s what I see. A great movie that illustrates this is "Sweet Smell of Success" with Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster. Tony Curtis gives an Oscar worthy performance as the Madison Avenue weasel. But his performance is actually eclipsed by the ruthless sociopath Burt Lancaster. Well worth the entertainment value. Gethin made a valid point to – advertising ones purported virtue by being non-judgemental.

John Craig said...

Shaun --
You're right, there is a correlation.

Haven't seen the movie, but I'll put it on my list

Mike said...

Lots of folks say " I'm just plain spoken" in a lazy way to get away with being ignorant in their manner (I'm referring to the 3rd google definition of ignorant- discourteous or rude)

It is probably a reflection of the 140 character, tweet, etc. generally mental-lassitude approach that passes for communications today.

I also note, John, that a lot of these people try to shut down any debate by proclaiming such things as: "Bottom line is.... Let's put it this way.... Settled Science"....Conversational debate-stoppers that seek to stifle any further discussion.
Sociopathic scum...

Mike said...

By the way, speaking of sociopathic scum, did you observe the murdering scumbag-of-a-former-cop in Charleston?

The pictures of him show a lack of affect, that "dead eyes" look, and, of course, the thin-lipped look that you have observed (probably should be a DSM 4 clue for diagnosis)

I buy subway 5$ cards to hand out (carefully... ) to police working Christmas day and eve) as a way to thank them for working when everyone else is celebrating, so this is not another anti-cop screed.

When I say carefully, I'm saying "officer, I've got something for you" and reaching inside your coat could end tragically.....

John Craig said...

Mike --
Good point about "conversation stoppers." The global warming crowd uses that "settled science" bit all the time because they can't stand it when anybody doubts them.

Yes, I did read about that South Carolina cop. (It was hard to avoid, the NY Times put a large-type, four column-width article at the top right of their front page, accompanied by four pictures. And all of the online news sources featured it prominently too.

I usually side with the cops too, but I've also said that they attract more than their share of sociopaths. I'm guessing that something like 7 to 8% of all cops are sociopaths, and this guy was definitely one.

The video I saw didn't show him close up, so I didn't see his face, but I'm sure we'll find out more.