I really don’t think of myself as an opinionated person. Not only my views are rarely set on one side, they can be changed quite rapidly if I find the argumentation solid. Someone may think that not having a stance on things is an obvious sign of weakness. I think of it more as an adaptivity mechanism.
One time a classmate of mine was able to completely turn around my opinion on child labor. Before anyone freaks out, I’ll briefly explain the circumstances.
It was during my exchange semester in France, at an ethics class and the lecturer asked who considered the use of child labor to be unethical. Naturally, 95% of the class raised their hands and I was one of them. However, it wouldn’t be a typical ethics class if everyone unanimously agreed on an issue. One guy raised his hand.
“I’m only going to play devil’s advocate over here… but is it possible for it to be ok in some cases?” he said. He proceeded elaborating on his point, painting mental images of children in underdeveloped countries working, yes, but working with their families under the same roof, the roof of their own house even, in a safe environment and solely helping their families earn a living. He pointed out that in some cases it is actually a good way for children to contribute to their families’ household wealth and even help save money for their future education, granted they work in adequate, safe conditions, only a couple of hours per day and with their parents always by their side.
I was blown away, because whenever I heard the words “child labor”, I pictured children cooped up in basements or factories, doing tedious, dangerous, even life-threatening work for a greedy multimillion corporation. Surprisingly, child labor (of all issues) became one of those “of course, but maybe…” scenarios Louis CK mentioned in one of his specials. Obviously, it’s a sensitive issue and the guy’s speech didn’t make me go “oh, alrighty then”. Just saying that his argumentation was able to if not turn around, then definitely enrich my perspective and look at an issue from a different angle.
Anyway, my point to all this was that most of the time I am open to see situations from different perspectives and prefer not to pick a side. It’s actually one of the qualities I tap myself on the shoulder for: being open-minded and adaptable. Fun fact, it’s in the ‘miscellaneous’ section of my resume.
HOWEVER! I allow exceptions in my own unwritten rules. You will not necessarily see me argue with strangers about these issues, but if the situation allows, and I know for a fact that I am right, an opinion battle there shall be! I bring you:
Topics and issues I will ALWAYS have an opinion on.
- The difference between being brutally honest and being tactless
- If something is different, it does not necessarily make it weird
- Homosexuality is not a sin, an illness, a condition, nor it is a 21st century trend that came from the west to ruin the institution of marriage and scar our children’s minds. (looking at you, every-country-that-thinks-that) Love is love. Deal with it.
- For the love of Jesus, can we stop pretending that these items are “fashionable shoe-wear for the summer”???
Hm, I though I would be able to shove my opinion down people’s throats on more than four topics… But hey, maybe it’s better this way. You don’t wanna hear me debate Moldavian summer fashion. It ain’t pretty, I’m warning you.