Opinions are like the most heinous of familial medical conditions, matters inappropriate for discussion in the public forum. I decidedly do not wish to hear about your hereditary extra toe and am equally uninterested in your take on the rights and wrongs of psychic surgery.
The art of public debate was a subject I was taught in school, lectured upon endlessly, suffered theorization by innumerable teachers, listened to the platitude’s ad nauseum. Opinions are never good debating points, have no foundation in logic or reality, are the very stuff of which straw dogs are made, are purely the deranged formulations of an overactive mind. On no account do I listen to my own opinions, knowing them to be questionable, likely to include bias, possibly full of prejudice and most definitely rife with misinformation. Considering that admission why would I even deign to listen to another’s?
The answer is of course politeness, that alternate to never-ending upset and slaughter which conversely has over the centuries led to the persecution, imprisonment and premature death of countless innocents whose only fault was to possess a different and of course incorrect perspective.
Opinions are the stuff arguments are made of, the precursors to violent disagreement, mayhem and war. They erase the possibility of discussion, of consensus, of democracy at any supportable level, providing instead a plot full of the nutrients required for the growth of division, subversion, derision and autocracy. Opinions do lead to solutions, unfortunately they tend to be final ones.
Discussions around politics and religion are to be avoided in polite society, both being based purely upon opinion and conjecture. Morality would be a close run third, having almost as many chances for extreme polarity as the more generally accepted duo. All three examples are deeply connected to strong emotions, to beliefs in right and wrong, to status and position. They are individual, but can be communal, maybe national, even international.
In my living room I have a free-standing mirror, oval in design and a splendid mahogany in color, purposefully positioned to net my image as I wander the room. On occasion, catching sight of the reflection in the corner of my eye I voice whatever matter is presently pert within my conscience, even daring an unfiltered and ill-considered opinion, more as a cuss than in civility. I never listen. The consideration of an opine as ever being fair and balanced is itself an oxymoron.