*Maybe not just for journalists.
The right to free speech is a familiar one, and yet your teacher would shut you up in the classroom. She tells you that you have forfeited your right to speech; your entitlement has now been revoked. But that can’t be true, right? But perhaps when they say “You’re entitled to your opinion”, they meant that without the right for expression – you may form opinions, but they may or may not come out your mouth.
You’re not entitled to your own opinion, as it were. The act of forming opinions cannot be stopped, nor can they be ‘revoked’. The only way to deny a man his opinion is to use a scalpel and cut away the part of the brain where they originate from. Ancient civilizations and tribes have found decapitation a much easier and ‘fuller’ approach, and some still practice it today.
You are only able to deny the act of voicing one’s opinion, by purposefully taking away his platform or ability to communicate.
Controversial ideas would commonly face attacks from those who disagree. But even to the point where scientific evidence, the vast majority and your Supreme Leader strongly disapprove of your theory, no one can stop you from thinking that vaccines causes autism.
To voice, or not to voice?
I’d even go as far to say that even Hitler was entitled to his. Granted a infinitesimal number of people today still share similar opinions, it is never so that his “entitlement” would be withdrawn. Likewise, no one can stop you from saying vaccines causes autism, or video games causes violence, as it were.
But like Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccine movement, some ‘opinions’ need to be challenged. And we stamp out harmful ideas by censoring them, marking remarks of racism illegal and actively trying to push for a society where no one speaks bad of another.
Every society, from past to modern times, place arbitrary limits on what is allowed to be expressed. Morality is a social construct – built to maintain order, to keep the community intact and allow civilizations to continue to grow and prosper. Notions of right and wrong is always relative to time, place and the society in question.
One man’s courtesy may be another’s vulgar.
Truth or false?
But Jenny McCarthy’s theories were debunked, weren’t they?
How could she be allowed to broadcast her opinions and indirectly cause hundreds of deaths to sweep the nation in the wake of her anti-vaccine movement?
In a less disastrous example, if a student were to claim that “1+1=3”, and that is merely his opinion, should he be allowed to broadcast his answer without being corrected? Thankfully, logic and the study of mathematics would prove him wrong. There are concepts and rules in the world of mathematics that which decree “1+1=2”.
Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury in real life.
We like to reside in the comforts of the extremes. The duality and antithetic nature of truth and false simplifies a lot of things; you are either right or wrong, and perhaps you’d get to know the answer at the end of the day. But there are no textbooks here, and not everything is true.
Most of your beliefs are mere conjectures; you are not omniscient and likely never will be. Unlike in mathematics, there is no universal truth like it mandates “1+1=2”. We will always have grey areas, and this ambiguity invokes interpretation.
7 billion different perceptions from around the globe, and from time to time conflicting opinions find themselves up against one another. And there can never be an end until either side is defeated in the argument, or simply having either(or both) stomping off in different directions. But alas, logic does exist in the real world, apart from the realm of mathematics. This is not only a debater’s staple, but a tool that has propelled mankind since the beginning.
This was spawned from an incident reported by a distressed colleague over at GamersSphere, whose article came under fire. The comments were rather nasty and generally disapproving of the article, claiming it was a waste of time to read and implying that the author did not do proper research prior to writing.
This goes out to everyone, and especially journalists, as those in similar fields of work may occasionally face altercation. A lot of these comments are very hurtful and downright insulting. But know that as long as you’ve armed yourself with sufficient evidence to back up your claims, the burden of proof shifts to your challenger. And an opinion that doesn’t have a proof to back itself up isn’t necessarily worth anything. And those that are thoroughly outrageous should keep in mind the social or political consequences that may follow.
You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.
You, my friend, shouldn’t be afraid of your own ideas if they are truly worth anyone’s ears.
But caution should be taken about what you say while you are still within gun range when expressing certain unpopular ideas.