new poll – are you entitled to your opinion?

I saw this little gem in The Onion and thought it would make a great poll.

Study: 38 Percent of People Not Actually Entitled To Their Opinion

I’ve been thinking this for a while but now, thanks to The Onion, I know it is true… Just because you have an opinion doesn’t make it valid. I’m thinking 38% might be a little low though.

Comments (11)

  1. Skylark

    Oh man! This was so funny I sent it to everyone in the news department, especially the man who handles the editorial/Letters to the Editor page.

  2. eric

    so far – and this is only six votes in, but still – it looks like they did get the number low. We’re at 50/50 with un-entitled opinions.

    or maybe YAR is a self-selecting sample?

  3. Jason

    That sounds about reasonable, Eric. Reminds me of an anecdote:

    I was talking with ST a few years ago (I think on the topic of extroversion and how I tend to participate in discussions more than other people). I said something about believing that there’s nothing wrong about me talking some and sharing my opinion, it’s just that we want other people to share theirs too.

    Don’t quote her on this, but I recall something to the effect of — well, everyone’s entitled to their experience, but that doesn’t mean that all opinions are necessarily valid.

    Which was kind of a blow to my young(er) liberal mind. I used to think that we just want to get all ideas out on the table and let them compete to see which is the best.

    But her comment got me on a thinking track that has helped me recongnize that power and language are intertwined and it’s not that simple. Maybe I don’t want to make equal space for all ideas or opinions.

    Which brings me to the poll. Given what percentage of our opinions and ideas are enmeshed in white supremacy, heterosexism, etc — a 50% invalidity seems about right.

    And I guess we’ll only know which ones after we educate ourselves, and keep putting opinions out there and welcome getting educated.

    We could make the poll really sticky by making it a multilple choice question: Which of these opinions do you have the right to be entitled to?

  4. Skylark

    Couple of T-shirt slogans that made me laugh:

    –Everyone is entitled to my opinion.
    –If you don’t like my opinions, I have others.
    –When I say something, it’s knowledge. When you say something, it’s an opinion.

    What do we mean when we say a person is “entitled” to an opinion, an experience, a right? Are we even capable of denying a person the ability to think or feel something?

  5. carl

    I notice that currently we’re standing at exactly 38% “no”. Looks like The Onion had it right after all.

  6. eric

    Or it could be that some people are lying. Any of you out there lying about your entitlement? That’s not a nice thing to do, you know.

  7. Skylark

    How does anyone know if they’re entitled to their views? If they thought they were wrong, they’d change their minds, right?

  8. eric

    You don’t have to be right or wrong to be entitled or not entitled. The question is weather you are even entitled to have an opinion in the first place – right or wrong.

    And, of course, right and wrong are even more slippery concepts than entitlement.

  9. Nate Myers

    I like what jason said, but i’d take a different tack…everyone’s clearly entitled to their opinion, but leaving it there makes no value judgment on their approach. Opinions can be, and are, dead wrong sometimes…irregardless of one’s standing in the power/privilege pecking order.

    As a white heterosexual male, I recognize my power/privilege and how that has silenced other opinions; others certainly have a right to speak. That does not, however, mean their opinion on a certain topic is valid.

  10. eric

    Nate, oppression doesn’t have to make the oppressed “right.” But the fact that you’ve decided you are “right” doesn’t give you the authority to keep on oppressing guilt-free. You still need to get your foot off someone’s throat before any conversation of “right” and “wrong” can even happen.

    And the conversation does need to happen, because it is clear that not everyone agrees with your idea of who is “right” and who is “wrong” – and it doesn’t seem exactly fair for you to impose your understanding of “right” and “wrong” on the rest of us simply because you have all the power.

    And thus, while actively oppressing another person, you are not really entitled to much of an opinion about their actions, as “right” or “wrong” as that opinion may be.

    And that’s why this poll doesn’t ask: “Are your opinions wrong?” Because, as Skylark pointed out, it sure would be silly to hold a wrong opinion. This poll asks: “Are you entitled to your opinion?” Because, it is fairly clear, based on this test, that many people are not, in fact, entitled to many of their opinions.

  11. folknotions

    I worked at a day camp in the summer for many years. Every two weeks there would be a sleepover where all the kids of a certain age could spend the night at the camp and do all kinds of night games, frog catching with a flashlight (which is awesome fun if you haven’t tried it).

    Anyway, if some kids were misbehaving, we’d say to them “if you keep acting up, you won’t be allowed to stay on the overnight. Remember, you aren’t entitled to it, it’s a privilege.”

    I answered that I am not entitled to my opinion. Entitlement implies that it’s something that is rightfully yours and all yours no matter how irresponsible you are with it. Seeing your opinion as a privilege, as something which could be taken from you (since, really, it is given by God), would probably make us all be really careful to be responsible with our opinions.

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