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  • Not All Opinions Are Of Equal Value


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Thursday, July 19, 2012 10:26 am Email this article

    ​Scene. A call-in radio talk show in which an interviewer questions a thoughtful, qualified guest. People speaking fifth grade English call in. "Uh, I believe that… " yak yak. The interviewer asks the caller to formulate an actual question for the guest. They never do. Their opinion is baseless, usually irrelevant and always unoriginal. You'd rather listen to the guest.

    Thomas Jefferson wrote, "All men are created equal."  He surely did not mean the statement literally. He meant "equal before the law", or maybe "entitled to equal opportunity". But even if he meant it literally, he would have conceded that men don't remain equal.

    Americans love the idea of equality, Republicans & Libertarians especially. In 1832 Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, "Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom." That is not a glib statement. Think about it. What we extoll in our nation as a virtue, we criticized in the Communists as a fault. I AM going to get to the point. Here's the point. The idea that "all men are created equal", by a false parallel, leads to thinking that all men are of equal value, which I do not totally disagree with. But then that leads to thinking that all opinions are of equal value, and I totally disagree. The idea pulls the rug out from education. It's why the average American learns so little in school, and discipline is such a problem. It means there is no reason to study the facts before voting. U.S. democracy is enfeebled compared to that of Western Europe. If you disagree with me on that, without studying the facts, then you have proved my thesis. The worst consequence of the "all opinions are equal" doctrine is that it destroys debate and deprives true experts of any influence. When Michelle Obama went to replace the USDA Food Pyramid with something meaningful, she and her advisors did not consult scientists. They hired a PR firm to make a pretty presentation of the Five Food Groups from 1954. See why this behavior was so American? All opinions are of equal value, so only appearances matter. DeToqueville wrote, "I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and free discussion as in America."

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