Das ist keine „eigene Meinung“, das ist Schwachsinn.

Jef Rouner hat einen der wichtigsten Artikel, die mir in letzter Zeit untergekommen sind, geschrieben. Er diskutiert den Unterschied zwischen eigener Meinung und völligem Schwachsinn. Den Einsteig macht dieses Zitat:

I have had so many conversations or email exchanges with students in the last few years wherein I anger them by indicating that simply saying, „This is my opinion“ does not preclude a connected statement from being dead wrong. It still baffles me that some feel those four words somehow give them carte blanche to spout batshit oratory or prose. And it really scares me that some of those students think education that challenges their ideas is equivalent to an attack on their beliefs.

Und genau hier setzt die Sollbruchstelle an, die bei einigen leider zu wenig perforiert ist. Es gelingt ihnen nämlich nicht, das, was sie als „eigene Meinung“ vertreten in Relation zu einer aufgeklärten Meinung oder sogar einem Faktum abzugrenzen. Probiern wir es mit Rouners Erklärung. Was ist eine „eigene Meinung“?

An opinion is a preference for or judgment of something. My favorite color is black. I think mint tastes awful. Doctor Who is the best television show. These are all opinions. They may be unique to me alone or massively shared across the general population but they all have one thing in common; they cannot be verified outside of the fact that I believe them.

Und worin unterscheidet sie sich von Schwachsinn?

Let’s say I meet a fellow Doctor Who fan, and this fan’s favorite Doctor is David Tennant. Nothing wrong so far. However, upon further discussing the subject this fan tells me that he or she has never seen any of the pre-2005 episodes or heard any of the radio plays. Now, it’s possible that even if he or she had done so that David Tennant would still be his or her favorite Doctor, but it’s also possible that it would be Tom Baker or Paul McGann or someone else. […] Having reached a narrow opinion from a narrow set of information is only natural. […] What mucks it all up is when a narrow set of information is assumed to be wider than it is. There is a difference between a belief and things you just didn’t know.

In other words, you can form an opinion in a bubble, and for the first couple of decades of our lives we all do. However, eventually you are going to venture out into the world and find that what you thought was an informed opinion was actually just a tiny thought based on little data and your feelings. Many, many, many of your opinions will turn out to be uninformed or just flat out wrong. No, the fact that you believed it doesn’t make it any more valid or worthwhile, and nobody owes your viewpoint any respect simply because it is yours.

Sicherlich könnte man jetzt argumentieren, dass die Einschränkung des Informationsstandes auf jeden Fall willkürlich ist. Aber gehen wir doch für einen Moment davon aus, dass zwei Menschen, die sich über ein Thema unterhalten, dazu befähigt sind, sich auf die Grenzen eines Themenbereichs zu einigen.

Okay, gehen wir nicht davon aus. Oh je.