I heard an interesting little tidbit the other day that I feel was something to churn over in my mind a little bit. In a world where opinions are dropping like diarrhea out of a sick elephant, there was a fairly well-educated person who opted not to comment on something that they had spent little time learning about.
That’s right, when they were asked about a hot-buttoned topic, the person said that they’d rather not say anything since they weren’t an expert. They had no opinion. Then they went on to say that they believed that maybe the world would be a better place if others felt the same way.
I could not agree more.
There are often days where I find myself spewing an opinion on some matter without having seen much more than a headline. Whatever X topic is, say it’s abortion to pick something very controversial, I spew my thoughts on it having had 0 experience in the matter and generally having read a minimal amount of subject matter. And I am so sure of myself in the moment.
But I know nothing.
It happens all across the spectrum of topics. People say they believe something about immigration when they’ve never talked with an immigrant or researched any real data on it. People say we need more or less guns depending on their emotional response to an event without digging into the statistics or the facts.
Now I am not saying that opinions would change were someone to become a scholar on the topic. But they might. And no matter which side they stand on, having a well-informed opinion matters.
Yet we still find that emotion drives much of the debate on [insert topic here].
There is something noble about taking the time to acknowledge that we know very little about a topic, instead choosing to withhold an opinion. It’s just OK to say that we don’t know. If anything, it should spark the need to figure out more on a topic.
Or maybe it’ll just allow the ignorant among us to bowl over the debate.
Here’s to hoping.