The Work Required to Have an Opinion
Charlie Munger used to say something along the lines of “You’re not entitled to take a view, unless and until you can argue better against that view than the smartest guy who holds that opposite view. If you can argue better than the smartest person who holds the opposite view, that is when you are entitled to hold a certain view.”
Good discipline. Especially now.
There’s never been a better time for people to loudly hold opinions without the hassle of facts or consideration of opposing points of view.
Politics has become more polarized and emotional than ever before.
Nonpolitical topics, like whether women can be game developers, are becoming political proxy wars.
Online news consumption takes place on platforms that are using the very height of human technology to surface content that confirms our biases.
Social interaction online has devolved into digital trench warfare. It doesn’t matter what the topic is. It might be anything from abortion to fly-fishing lures, but you’re sure to find radically polarized sides firmly dug-in, barraging the opposing force with links featuring inflammatory headlines and unread body copy.
People of substance. We don’t have many of them anymore.
Those who are capable of holding two conflicting ideas in their head at the same time.
People who are willing to hold their own beliefs to the fire. Re-evaluate their stances over time.
They might have an opinion that isn’t popular, but they’ve at least thought about it.
And I think they’ve earned the right to it.