Your opinion can be wrong

Cara Keith, Features Editor

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I love arguing. I will argue with anyone, at any time, about literally any subject because of my overwhelming need to always be right — and I always am.

Some may say that my constant desire to argue is a flaw, but I would much rather be passionate than passive. Google is my best friend during a good argument; I’ll google statistics or corroborating evidence to support my assertions because I haven’t had a successful argument until my opponent has conceded and admitted that I’m right. Anyone who has spent any significant portion of time around me knows that this makes me the most annoying person ever, probably.

However, despite my inability to let an argument go, I’ve learned something important from my time at Luther: Sometimes, your opinion is wrong and you should probably let it go. For example, I used to genuinely believe that if you swallowed a piece of gum, it would stay in your stomach for seven years. I even remember getting into arguments with my friends when I was younger whenever they swallowed gum because I was so worried about their health. This opinion was based on a misconception, and was therefore completely incorrect.

Sometimes, misinformed opinions can be harmless; other times, they can be extremely dangerous. They have the power to influence large groups of people, whether it be through the circulation of fake news or of scientific claims that have never been proven or of viral messages on social media.

I don’t have the power to tell you that you can’t share your opinion, even if it’s wrong, but saying, “you have to respect what I’m saying because it’s just an opinion” is not a valid response. If your opinion is completely wrong, cannot be supported by facts, and negatively impacts society, you better expect to receive a negative response from me and anyone who feels passionate about the opinion you hold. My response to your wrong opinion isn’t impeding on your free speech, I’m simply utilizing my own right to free speech, too.

Additionally, if it is so difficult for you to defend your own opinion that you would rather fall back on the “it’s just my opinion” excuse, then the opinion is clearly not strong and you should reconsider if that opinion is something you want to continue supporting.

Our opinions and values define us as people; it will negatively impact you to base who you are as a person on flimsy beliefs. Clearly, I am extremely passionate about opinions, both through my affinity for arguing and for my desire for there to be less incorrect opinions in the world.

As much as I want to believe that I’m always right, part of the learning and growing process is learning new information about the world and realizing that previous opinions we’ve had in the past may be incorrect. Admitting you’re wrong is difficult but hanging onto incorrect opinions is stupid. Don’t be stupid.

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chips or organizations with which the author(s) are associated.

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