Opinions are a bit like….

Brilliant student Muriel Skaff sent this piece from Patrick Stokes around the other day. It’s lovely, largely because the face-palms that students lead you to over their opinions, and their entitlements to them. It makes you crazy after awhile.

I don’t care what your opinion is. I care about whether you can make a reasoned argument from a position, based on what you’ve read and discussed. Rants from either Fox News or MSNBC I can get from television: I don’t need it from a student. If you want to learn to rant on Fox News or MSNBC, then watch them. If you want to learn policy analysis, then we need to reason differently.

The money quote:

If “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion” just means no-one has the right to stop people thinking and saying whatever they want, then the statement is true, but fairly trivial. No one can stop you saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven.

But if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s pretty clearly false. And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred.

#FirstWorldProblems hashtag thrown

This item crossed my desk via Business Insider’s Fboo feed. Here’s the original ad.

Business Insider then posted a follow up, reporting that people got angry over the ad largely because the #FirstWorldProblems label on twitter means exactly that: a sardonic admission that these aren’t, in fact, real problems. The ad, therefore, alienates the very people who are actually aware of their privileges.

Yah, sure, whatever, taking a tweet out of context may not be fair, but, jeez, people, this is a world where you get tweet about your minuscule problems while other people die for lack of water. So, yes, fair would be an issue, but not the issue you’re making it out to be. If the misinterpretation of the tweets leads to greater awareness about people living in poverty, who cares? If you have the ability to look sardonically at your own problems that are not problems, then let other people use that, too. It’s not about making you feel validated for being aware of your privilege: it’s about raising awareness about poverty and resource deprivation in Haiti.