I’m very concerned about a trend among smart people. I’m very fortunate to have many sharp friends and family members, but there seems to be a tendency to think that holding strong opinions is somehow unreasonable or unwise. Most absurdly some seem to think this reflects a lack of understanding – ie the notion that an informed mind is by necessity … ambivalent.
Discussing your opinions passionately and in an assertive fashion IS NOT A CRIME. Of course you need to respect the opinions of others and, perhaps more importantly, LISTEN to them and see if your views may be wrong or too narrowly focused (I know my views often need modification to fit better with the facts, and sometimes I need to … OMG … completely change my mind.
HOWEVER I’m proud to have opinions even as I’m very interested in those that are different from mine. Without the vibrant discussion that opinions can spawn we risk ceding too much of the territory to weak thinking and foolish ideas.
Challenge people on their ideas. Stupid ideas need to be shut down and smart ideas need the refinement that comes from intelligent conversation.