Are Opinions a Problem? | Teen Ink

Are Opinions a Problem?

December 3, 2019
By Rhiannon_4 DIAMOND, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Rhiannon_4 DIAMOND, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
62 articles 87 photos 200 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both.
- Native American proverb

Do not go gentle into that good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light.
- Dylan Thomas

What is past is past -- it is the present and the future that concern us.
- Hiawatha, founder of the Iroquois Confederacy

Opinions have been the cornerstone of society for as long as the human race has existed. The statement of public opinions is what has created the world we know today, and given us our sense of freedom and democratic values. Opinions are a key factor in implementing new ideas and technologies, new ideals and changes in government, and many other critical aspects. The public expression of opinion is a fundamental part of what it means to be human, and the world is a much better place because of them.

            The articulation of opinions was clearly present throughout history, making it a determining component in forging the world we now have. “Why is it that we hesitate? From Britain we can expect nothing but ruin. If she is admitted to the government of America again, this continent will not be worth living in.” This is a quote from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, a pamphlet written during the American Revolution. The entire pamphlet is a public declaration of Paine’s opinions on why the colonies would suffer under Britain’s rule. Had he not proclaimed his opinions, would the rebels still have been roused to fight for their freedom? One man’s voiced beliefs and opinions changed the course of an entire nation; something which would have failed to occur had Paine neglected to declare his opinions so vehemently.

            The public expression of opinions often fosters democratic values. Mahatma Gandhi’s views on non-violent protests, for example, forced us to review our choices in ways of correcting wrongs in our society. He blazoned his beliefs by protesting British rule with non-violent methods, such as marching to the sea in protest of Britain’s monopoly on salt. He believed that violence created more problems than it solved, and that it merely left a trail of bitterness and hatred in its wake. Martin Luther King, Jr. drew on Gandhi’s tactics of protest during the Civil Rights Movement, and the Dalai Lama was motivated by his methods, which are still revered by those seeking to encourage change without impelling violence.

            Many might argue that the public expression of opinions has promoted evil in addition to good, and admittedly, it has. Hitler’s expression of opinions regarding Jews, caused one of the most horrific genocides of mankind. However, I would argue that opinions are responsible for every positive attribute of our world as well. If not for the proclamation of opinions, would early man have migrated from Africa? Would ancient empires have exchanged skills and technologies? Would we have democracy? The answer to these questions is quite clearly “no,” which paints a picture of the world we might have if opinions were not expressed so publicly.

            Some might say that the expression of opinions is not worthwhile, but the expression of opinions is one of the most important factors of humanity. Opinions are the mark of human thought and reasoning, meaning that we as a species are profoundly built upon the opinions we develop, and the expression of these opinions. If we can learn to respect others’ opinions, rather than quickly dismissing them if they differ from our own, there are no limits to the ways society can benefit from our collective ideas.

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