Not having an opinion


My new year’s goal last year was to not have an opinion on everything. It sounds wishy washy, but in 2018 it’s a hard position to defend, especially on social media. Your lack of a visceral or positive response to a hot button issue, news story, or controversy, is somehow construed as endorsement.

For example, a certain Middle East conflict. Merely mentioning it gets the blood boiling on both sides. Truth is, I don’t have sufficient facts to inform a reasoned opinion either way, and I feel what media I do have — given I vote and lean centre-left — doesn’t tell the whole story.

It would be thoroughly disingenuous for me to advocate for either side based on that. Worse actually, I think it’d be tantamount to lying.

I suppose the main argument against this stance is my pleading ignorance is a cop out, especially when lives are at stake and I’m not using my meagre platforms to advocate for change. That’s fair, I should be informed on these issues. But no one person — bar perhaps a dilettante with excellent memory and cognitive skills — can be informed on everything.

I’m increasingly of the mindset that asserting any proposition without sufficient facts, regardless of your motivation, is dangerous. When I was a teenager I lambasted fundamentalists for doing it, so it’d be a bit rich for me to start.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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