Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In Defense of Talking Out of Your Butt

I found this online. It has nothing to do with anything.
Those of you who know me know that I have an opinion about nearly everything. Sure, I can be obnoxious, but that's just because I'm an obnoxious person. I will here defend your right to have and express an opinion about all things.

This is not a post urging you to be an annoying know-it-all. You should know when to shut up. But if you are the kind of person described below, you will not be a fool; you will become a little wiser every day. You will know when to close your mouth and change your mind.

One of the sadder side-effects of the tolerance revolution is the equation of opinions to assholes. The polite thing to do today is to keep your opinions to yourself, unless you have achieved in the field being opined on a generally recognized expertise.

We should reject that thinking as being craven and unmanly.

I think you should have an opinion about everything, and I think you should be willing to share that opinion with all and sundry. You could even toss out an unsolicited opinion occasionally.

For one, discussion and disagreement is an excellent way of refining and correcting one's thinking. Are you going to sit back and wait for the experts you know to hold forth, or will you provoke them to debate by stating your half-assed thoughts? I say, provoke away. The so-called experts might find that you sharpen them, and you'll certainly stay dull if you allow your wit to go unwhetted. If it is your opinion that assassinations are a valid part of politics and just war, say so in front of the doctorate in geopolitics, or when chatting with the ethicist.

For another, you are doing mankind a service. Social momentum means that when only experts opine, a great stupid sameness descends on us all. Say something potentially stupid to help keep us all from falling in that dark pit. Fight the same-itude.

For yet another thing, proffering half-formed ideas builds character. It makes you a better man. The current paradigm is to view the man with opinions as arrogant, but putting yourself out there actually makes for an adaptable, humble, and charitable man. Nothing like being shown to have been wrong to grind down your pride and raise your spirit.

The key to not being obnoxious when you  have an opinion about everything is to not be obnoxious. See that? The problem isn't opinions. It's being a know-it-all. It's being a giant ass.

And sometimes it's okay to be seen as an ass. Because the current rules for conversation are dumb. Let disagreements be fleshed out, so that harmony may reign. But above all, charity.

Not only will you be more humble and charitable, your will be a fuller man. Know a little about a lot of things. Be an expert in few things. Then live that out to the fullest. Explore the nooks and crannies of knowledge and discourse. Sometimes you'll sound like you're talking out of your ass. Sometimes you'll bring a knife to a gunfight. Whatever.

Men, hold each other accountable. Correct each other's ignorances and follies. If iron is to sharpen iron, then swords must be drawn. If you say something uninformed or stupid, let the wiser heads prevail. Learn something you wouldn't have learned if you'd kept your mouth shut.

Finally, know thy place. Not only in relation to all the other humans around you, but locally, institutionally, and rhetorically. It should go without saying that the things you can say around the fire with the boys are not the same things you should say when disciplining your kids, teaching Bible study, chatting with a friend's wife, or engaged in small talk with the grocery clerk.

But certainly when it's just us boys, fire away. I can't wait to make fun of you and your half-cocked ideas.

3 comments:

  1. Interesting. Personally, I find that I'm liked and respected for never talking out of my ass. I'll only say something if I'm fairly certain it's true. If I'm not sure, I'll say that I'm not sure, and not pretend to know. I inwardly abhor the idea of stating falsehoods. If I'm proven wrong, I humbly concede. I would hate to be responsible for somebody believing something that was false.

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  2. What companionship or comradery do I hold with a man who forgo's his God given ability, dare say I, duty to observe, contemplate, educate, and formulate an opinion?

    I can no more tolerate the presence of such a man who tarries like the wind, than I can the smell of a lingering wind that has since vacated my rear premises.
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    I feel that a man, who holds can hold an educated opinion, no matter how juxtaposed to my own he may be, is a man I can hold discourse with, "as iron sharpens iron". Where as the cliche, "a man who stands for nothing, will [inevitably] fall for anything" is a man (perhaps I intend to say Lad) with whom no discourse of value could be engaged, let alone maintained, and that my friend is a discourse I don't desire to waste my time on. There is also something to be respected about a man who is able to form an opinion and state it, even defend it, in leiu of the impending nay sayers and critics in this culture, who, having not formed an opinion themselves, find it easier to counter anyone else's opinion. He stands firm in his belief that he has found truth outside himself, whilst the culture parades that "there is no truth to behold", that "every man defines his own truth within himself", yet championing ambiguous truths "love everyone" or "you can't judge anyone unless you've walked in their shoes." A society with no opinions is not necessarily a society with no agreement, but rather one with no disagreement; a pagan utopia, where the passion of the moment is king. The thoughtful man becomes the terrorist because he brings to light their neglect to acknowledge truth, and the by Truth the Creator.
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    A man who can and does form an opinion is closer to discovering the Truth than the lad who refuses to acknowledge that, "if he thinks therefore he should" continue to think and to think with purpose and intentionality.
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    Suffice to say, I agree.

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