Respecting opinion

public opinion

I’ve always thought of opinions with which I disagree as alternative perspectives.

Admittedly as a communications practitioner whose job is argument, I am wedded to rhetoric and always respect and admire anybody who can put their case well.

But even if my trade wasn’t argument, I think and hope I would always respect the alternative view.

However convinced I am of my own argument I know that there is just as much chance of my case being wrong as right, and any shade of grey in between those improbable and impossible extremes.

Being active on Twitter, for want of anybody else to argue with, I have found however that this world-view is not a majority one. Most people seem convinced of their infallibility and are strident in their outright rejection of any opinion which does not align with their own.

I marvel at their certainty.

I know nothing of and care nothing for the worlds of mathematics and science where I understand such certainty can be proven. My world is one of arts, politics and imagination.

In the non-mathematical world, the truth is whatever somebody is persuaded to believe is the truth.

This is what attracted me to work in the business of persuasion that we call communications or public relations. It is the business or argument, rhetoric and perspective. Nothing is ever certain because the power of argument can overcome anything.

Consequently I know that aside from those matters determined by my prejudices, I could hold any opinion, often in direct contradiction of one previously or even on extreme occasions, simultaneously expressed.

I find it impossible to understand anybody whose argument consists of telling me I am wrong. The issue is not whether my argument is right or wrong, but whether it is the most or least persuasive.

That is why I respect all opinion.

The only place people do not respect the opinions they disagree with, is a dictatorship. In a democracy all opinions are equally valid.


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