right2anopinion

You have a right to your opinion. Sure.

But others also have a right to argue against your opinion, and dismiss you as a crank if your arguments come up short.

Indeed, they have a right to dismiss you even if your arguments do not come up short.

Why? Your opinions and your rights are distinct things, and free speech isn’t about ensuring an audience for your views, or even for your arguments, true or false.

Free speech is merely your rights in a free society to express yourself within the scheme of private property and contract. No one is required to listen. No one is obligated to give you a platform. You must entice them, and cooperate with them. Those who do not listen to others usually, at some point, stop being listened to. Free speech is not merely the proverbial two-way street, it is a whole network of roads and alleyways and overpasses and tunnels . . .

And no one’s opinion is proved true either by consensus acceptance. And no opinion is proved true (or false) by its social marginalization.

The world is not perfect, nor can be made so.

The job of the philosopher is to examine ideas and opinions with a rigor not usually supplied or demanded in either free or unfree discourse. Philosophy has always been an elite activity, often marginalized, only occasionally and temporarily popular. And your “right to an opinion” doesn’t mean much to a philosopher qua philosopher. Opinions are all subject to rigorous disputation. You may passionately defend them, but, in the end, neither you nor your passion account for anything. Does the opinion hold up under scrutiny? Or does it not?

That is about it.

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