It seems as if everyone in the universe is crawling out of the woodwork and offering his advice to Donald Trump these days. I read one story about how Newt Gingrich was going to gather Trump's adult children together and hold an old fashioned intervention, just like they used to do in the old days when your Pa was a drunken slob. Bill O'Reily seems to spend most of his nightly show giving Trump advice on how he needs to tone things down if he wants to win the next Kingship of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika. Everyone seemingly has an opinion about what Trump should do and say next.
It seems as if the general opinion on the matter falls into one of two categories. Republicans are begging him to act more "presidential," whatever that means. I suspect it means they want him to act like career politicians. Career politicians are famous for posturing and posing and filling the air with words but never actually saying anything. That is the exact antithesis of Trump. Democrats, on the other hand, are advising him to keep speaking his mind, believing in their soft heads that his doing so will subterfuge his ability to win the next election for King of the SDA. They believe that his honest behavior in a politically correct world, where every truth statement is deemed offensive, guarantees his demise. I have my opinion about what Donald Trump should do and I am going to share it with you and him in today's blog post.
In my most humble opinion, Donald Trump should..................and that is all I have to say on the matter.
Did you notice anything about my opinion about what Donald Trump should do? It was pretty short, wasn't it? In fact, you probably can't detect any real advice in what I wrote, can you? There is a reason for that. I was just joshing when I wrote that I wanted to give my opinion on what Donald Trump should do. What I really want to write about today is my opinion about the doctrine of giving opinions. I realize that is a contradiction but, hey, this is my blog and I can do what I want to. You certainly don't have to read my opinion about opinions and I would not be in the least bit offended if you stopped reading right now.
An opinion, in my opinion, is different than a statement of fact. I can tell you that the sky is blue and that the sky is beautiful. The first statement is a statement of fact. The second statement is my opinion about that fact. Facts can be debated, opinions by their very nature cannot. As one vulgar person once said, opinions are like noses, everyone has one (I cleaned that up a bit). Facts are objective, opinions are subjective. Facts can be proven to be right or wrong. Opinions are not usually about moral absolutes. Opinions are discussed in terms of how I feel about something rather than what I think about that thing.
Opinions are non-factual statements made by a person with a particular point of view that are delivered to other people for one of two purposes. The first reason a person would offer up his opinion to another person about something in that second person's life is because the first person, the opinion giver, believes he knows what is best for the other person, the opinion receiver. The opinion giver believes that if the person to whom he is giving his opinion would only conform to his opinion on the matter he would be able to live a much happier and healthier life. The rather obvious presupposition behind the offering of an opinion to another person is the belief that I am a better judge of what you should do than you are. That is where things get interesting.
As a giver of opinions, how did I qualify to be better at ascertaining what is best for you than you are? How can I know your life circumstances better than you? How can I know your life motivations better than you? How can I know your life goals better than you? And even if I could do all three of those things, who gave me the right to tell you, by giving you my opinion on the matter, that your opinion is inferior to mine? The astounding level of arrogance that is involved whenever I offer up my opinion on what you should do next is beyond comprehension. I quite literally have no right to ever give you my opinion on any matter in your life unless you have first requested it. Since most people do not desire the opinions of others, I should always keep my mouth shut.
If you think I am overstating the case, let me ask you this.....how do you take it when other people offer you their unsolicited opinion about how you are living your life? Is not your first response that they should mind their own business? Is not your second response the strong desire to offer your opinion about what they are doing when they offer their opinion to you? That process is, of course, just about how all family fights initiate. Aunt Sally tells you she thinks you should cut your hair and you tell her, in anger at her intrusion into your life (and in self-loving adoration of your hair), that she needs to switch from Camels to marijuana cigarettes. She reacts in outrage to you for refusing to honor her and thank her for her kind-hearted advice which was only offered, she tells everyone, to help you in your life. You respond by informing her that you believe her advice was not motivated by altruism but by a desire to control your behavior because of her own latent insecurities and we are now off to the argumentative races! Have fun with that. The best way to eliminate almost all arguments in human interactions is for each person to make a concerted effort to never offer an unsolicited opinion again.
When a person offers up an opinion to someone else it inevitably revolves around the desire to control the behavior of that other person. Oh yes, it is couched in terms of the other person's best interest and "I am only saying this to help you," but the bottom line is always the same. A person offers his opinion to another person in an attempt to control the other person. And why does one person want to control another person? There are only two reasons for that.
The first reason I want to control your behavior is because I want you to acknowledge, by your obedience to my advice, that I am a superior human being. Everyone wants to be acknowledged as a superior human being, although there are precious few of those folks walking around in the real world. Nevertheless, I believe I am a superior human being and imposing my will on you is proof of that fact.
The second reason I want to control your behavior is because your freedom exposes my insecurities. Equally rare as the superior human being mentioned above is the human being who is not riddled with personal insecurities. When I say "the sky is blue" to a member of the mass of humanity she hears "you think I am too stupid to know what color the sky is." It is strange to the handful of those who are not insecure but it is true. Typically the more insecure a person is the more that person will offer his unsolicited opinion to others. The goal is to get others to reinforce his view of himself as a secure human being by cherishing the offered advice. When that does not happen, as it almost never does, we are off on another great period of interpersonal conflict.
Earlier I mentioned that opinions will be offered up for one of two reasons. Up to this point I have been discussing the first reason; to prove that I am better than you and reinforce the view of myself as a superior human being. The second reason people offer up their opinions is quite different. In this second scenario, which is much more common in the real world than the first scenario, the person offering the opinion about how Joe should behave does not offer it to Joe. Rather, she offers it to Sally. Ms. Opinionated goes up to Sally and says, "This is only my opinion but I believe Joe would be much better off if he would stop shooting heroin." There is a word for this type of opinion giving. It is called gossip and it, in the eyes of the God of the Bible, is a sin. In my opinion all offerings of opinions to a third party constitute the sin of gossip. There are no exceptions to this rule.
So here is what I am forced to conclude about offering unsolicited opinions in this life. I am not qualified to offer you an opinion about what is best for you because I am not you. Furthermore, even if I did give you my opinion you are not going to listen to it. And if I ever give an opinion about someone to a third party I am engaging in the sin of gossip. In light of these truths, why would anyone ever offer up an unsolicited opinion to anyone else? Answer: nobody ever would. And that is my cherished opinion on the matter.