By Dave B.
Your opinion is not your identity. According to Merriam-Webster an opinion can be defined as, “a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter”, a “belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge”, or “a formal expression of judgment or advice by an expert”. Nowhere does it say that your opinion defines who you are.
The problem with equating your opinion with your identity is that it makes opinions resistant to change; a potential change in your opinion becomes a threat to how you see yourself as a person, and as many psychological professionals will tell you, that’s one of the threats that most people will vigorously attempt to avoid.
I’m a fan of individualism. I think the recognition of individual rights has been THE most important factor in the general increase of prosperity and general decrease of oppression in the world. But individualism run amok can be dangerous, as can be seen by the political situation throughout the Western world today.
Here’s a challenge for you: name five major public policy issues that you are open to changing your opinion on. Too tough? Alright. Name five major public policy issues that you are open to accepting a compromise on. If you can’t do that, how do you expect your “opponent” to be open to doing so?
We can’t thrive in a society where every issue with our neighbors has become a zero-sum one. I’m not going to pretend that I have a solution to the mess that we’ve created for ourselves. But I PROMISE that I’ll do my best to hear out as many sides to as many issues as I can and try to work for an answer that we all can live with. All I ask is that if I disagree with your opinion, you try not to take it as a threat to who you are.