Oxford Languages defines Opinion as, a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
Opinion is defined by Vocabulary.com as a belief or attitude about something that isn’t necessarily based on facts.
Both definitions, as well as others across a multitude of dictionaries are consistent about opinion as a view, belief, attitude or judgment about [something] that’s not necessarily based on facts. I believe the definition is perfectly clear.
An opinion expressed by me is mine, and when I express an opinion, I make sure that it is nothing more than an opinion. If I’m trying to make a point or to convince, I work extremely hard to back it up with facts. But an opinion is not fact. If facts are expected, then an ensuing discussion is needed and should be prompted as such.
I’ve personally written hundreds of articles, and especially over the past few years. As many are aware, I’ve hosted several podcasts that have spanned hundreds of hours. Possibly to a fault, I’ve also shared thousands upon thousands of posts across social media. And through it all, as my personal beliefs are of a conservative nature, I refrain from ranting about sex, religion and politics.
Mind you, there are times when I do express an opinion about politics but for the most part I typically preempt sharing my thoughts with a disclaimer such as, in my opinion, in my personal opinion, etc. There should be no doubt whatsoever that I’m very clear in my intent, just as the definition of the word, opinion is very clear.
Yesterday I wrote an article that was based upon my opinion. In fact, the title clearly defined it as such with the title, Opinion: The Case Against the [$15, $20, $25] Minimum Wage. Could I have been any clearer that the article was based upon on opinion?
Further, within the article, I stated what I was sharing as my opinion and from my own personal perspective with clear, concise language indicating as much. For example, the article began, Personally, I’m of the mindset… and again within the article, In my opinion…
As I was expressing my opinions, I was also including questions. In fact, I posed 18 questions in the referenced article – one that was comprised of 18 short paragraphs! Certainly, the tone of my literary voice was not commanding and it definitely was not being expressed in an influencing way.
The tone was soft and conversational, as is typically the case when I write as my objective is always to spur thoughts in my readers’ minds to encourage readers to engage and share their thoughts, and yes, opinions. My hope is that the interactions are always civil and respectful, and with exception of two particular instances, civility and respect have been the norm.
For that, I’m most thankful and especially since conversations and discussions need to happen in today’s world. If done in a civil and respectful manner, I do believe mountains can be moved. As such, I’m always happy to prompt the interaction and to do so across a wide array of topics.
Above, I mentioned two instances whereby interactions were less than civil and respectful. Before I share the exchanges, I’d like to clarify that I respect the opinions of others, even if opinions are shared from an emotional state of mind. However, when the tone is from a person that I can only describe as a bully, it’s akin to being attacked – an unprovoked attack.
When I read yesterday’s exchange, I immediately asked myself, Why was it necessary for this person to disparage me personally and not just express his opinion and leave it at that?
This person wrote, and I quote:
“There should be a dislike button in LinkedIn.
Most of what you wrote could have been copied directly from the rationale used by companies that employed child labor. A lot of what you wrote was addressed in the famous fable of “the sky is falling” and real world data also disproves a lot of what you said.
The big advantage you have is that you wrote such a long piece with such a huge amount of misinformation, disinformation, and just basically wrong stuff that no one in his/her right mind will take the time it would take to address all your wrong points one by one.
Just thankful you are not an influential anything: businessman or politician.”
I was truly fine with his opinion – although he did not share any facts, just arbitrary disagreement to my opinion. Okay, I get it but was it necessary to take a cheap shot by saying that I was not an influential anything? After all, it’s not like I jumped in his face and challenged his opinion, and in a disparaging manner which might have prompted a retaliatory attack.
Angrily, yet in what I believe was a professional manner, albeit with a bit of sarcasm, I responded accordingly:
“Again, it’s my opinion and I was crystal clear to state as such. Fortunately, we do have Freedom of Speech and I will always exert my rights accordingly. However, for the people that claim to have specific expertise, I will always state as clearly as possible when something is my opinion and not fact. I always err on the side of people not having the mental or intellectual capacity to distinguish one from the other.”
To which he replied: “sure, knock yourself out with your opinion. It’s just sad.”
Well, all well it ends well as another reader actually thanked me:
“Thank you Paul for this well-expressed bit of common sense from the voice of practical, day-to-day experience.”
I left the exchange by sharing an additional thought…
“What I always hope to do is to spur intelligent, practical discussion. I’m always open-minded and certainly I don’t have all the answers. However, I’m always happy to share my opinions in order that others might see a different perspective or to affirm their own thoughts on the subject.
Interestingly, common sense is typically a good middle ground provided a reader doesn’t want to take it to an extreme with no intent on participating in a discussion. Then, the purpose is to cancel the opposing perspective – mostly in a degrading manner. That is just sad!”
The other instance I was referring to occurred a year ago just ahead of Election Day. There was a discussion on Twitter about what was going on in California regarding the Governor Gavin Newsom recall. I was just following it along when the question came up about whether there would be a large number of people voting.
I’m not really sure what prompted me to chime in because as I’ve indicated above, I typically refrain from political discussions. Nevertheless, I did share my two cents but certainly not in a disparaging way.
If I recall correctly, I expressed my opinion that I didn’t believe there would be a large voter turnout. I also shared my opinion that Larry Elder would be a better governor for California than Newsom, much like I believe Biden not to be the best choice for America.
Keep in mind, Tweets are limited in the number of characters that can be shared so there was no elaboration of my opinion. Nor did I continue tweeting on the matter. It was a one and done tweet. Nothing more.
Here’s what I received [exactly] as it was sent through my company website:
“Paul, monitoring your tweets. You know nothing about Joe Biden. You, however are a slippery, SLIMY, just this side of the law franchise hawker, a mere salesman. I know you. You look like the Mafia. Re CA politics, you know nothing, dumb fuck. CA Dems do vote and you will see next Tuesday, you fat oaf.”
It was the first time in my life that I felt cancelled. Truly, I was speechless. But I took a screenshot of the message and have kept it as a reminder that although it’s okay to express my opinion, I need to realize, fully realize that others might have a different opinion – and that is the way it should be, but some people are just bullies.
Sadly, they just can’t help themselves and even more so when hiding behind a digital screen as evident in this case as the message was submitted with a fictious name and contact information. But then again, that’s just my opinion.
Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!