David Kyle Johnson, writing at Psychology Today Blogs, pierces the smokescreen raised when someone tries to end an argument by saying, “I have a right to my opinion.” A snippet (emphasis added):
The idea that one has a right to their opinion, and should be liberated from opposition, is also implied when people end discussions with a phrase like “we’ll just have to agree to disagree,” or insist that the nature of reality is merely a matter of interpretation. (“I know what he said, but what I got out of it was…”) But do people really have a right to their opinion in such circumstances?
Simply put, the answer is no. Indeed, in almost all circumstances in which they are uttered, such assertions are false.
Note the qualifier in the last sentence above. Johnson is not saying that persons don’t have a right to their opinions in matters of opinion. Rather, he suggests that, when someone is reduced to actually uttering the words, “I have a right to my opinion” (or equivalent), he or she is justifying cleaving to an opinion shown to be demonstrably wrong, wrong, wrong.
Methinks he may be onto something.
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