Everyone is a debater at heart. Hidden just below the surface of our happy, reserved beings lies in wait a passionate orator, prepared to preach to their ill prepared audience the one, true view of any event they find of interest. Pour a few pints into a couple of friends in a pub and their next appearance can be witnessed on Question Time, scolding politicians with righteous exuberance. To be without opinion is not to live, for we are a thinking race, and all should indeed be passionate about the greater picture which effects our lives.
Where this loses traction for me however is in an overwhelming number of people’s tendencies to blindly accept anything they read or hear as indubitable fact. There are a million opinions available for public consumption, be it in the form of newspaper, television or the modern day tweet. Even this moment you are reading my own opinions! What saddens me greatly however is how so many take on so few of these, opting to accept whatever is reported by their favourite newspaper, or worded anywhere in the media by a figure they respect. If reading history at university has taught me anything, it’s the importance of balancing your argument and opinions. No matter how decorated someone may be, or with how much authority they may speak, what they communicate for others to see is simply their own opinion. And that one opinion is but a drop in the ever evolving sea of humanity.
Of course, people’s views may be weighted. I’d much more likely trust a doctor commenting on an ailment than the distanced, albeit well-meant assurance of a friend stating they’re “sure it’ll be fine”. Where this becomes dangerous however is in the control it gives to those we trust. For many, the black and white realm of the newspaper is irrefutable. Careful thought has gone into these words, a dozen or more professionals have researched and assessed its contents thoroughly. What is filtered finitely through is a beautiful, neatly presented, unbiased account of an event, easily accessible for all to read and learn from. The world is thus perfect.
(Que a slight smirk from the reader)
Everything recorded by humanity is biased. It’s what makes reading so interesting. How someone interprets something offers an insight into their frame of mind. You might find yourself agreeing with them, or you may find the debater within you thriving to speak up against the nonsense your eyes have beheld. This is all very natural, and a wonderful way for humanity to interact with the world about.
Despite this, it can also be dangerous. Basing your entire opinion upon one thing which you read is absurd. To lend so much influence upon yourself to one figure or company is frankly naïve. It’s unfortunately the very thing which led so many people to vote for UKIP in order to deal with the ‘immigration crisis’, without having witnessed any of its supposed effects themselves. Truly, it’s a frightening, terrible power one can have, to propagate an opinion to the masses and see them blindly accept. Of course propaganda is a timeless tool of government, and it will continue to veil the eyes of many for as long as we happen to walk upon this Earth. All I ask of you is to take but one thing from this article. Always listen to both sides!
But, of course, that’s just my opinion.