Opinions for dummies.

1. No matter how moronic the opinion, there is someone much more intelligent than you who holds that opinion.

2. No matter how sensible the opinion, it can be expressed in a way so moronic that it seems to discredit everyone who holds that opinion.

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See also:

Dwarf descending. “Before I was old enough to reason, I absorbed from my elders, my friends, and the media certain preconceptions about what intelligence looked and sounded like. I accepted the arguments made by the people who looked and sounded that way, and sneered at the arguments of those that didn’t.”

A sympathetic reaction: C.P. Snow’s The Light and the Dark. “People are capable of believing any implausible thing, and clever people are both better than the rest of us at coming up with good arguments for implausible beliefs, and more likely to be attracted to beliefs that give them the scope to demonstrate their cleverness.”

The old, illogical morality: The Kindly Ones and Darkness at Noon. “It’s possible that the mental convolutions necessary to overcoming the evident contradictions of Communism and National Socialism make those ideologies more appealing to intelligent people; it is precisely their affront to common sense that makes them attractive to those … who justly perceive themselves as uncommon.”

I take a stand! “While I have no sympathy for Nazism, an idiotic creed, I do sympathize with Nazis; or rather, I sympathize with people who believe all manner of idiotic things, having believed various idiotic things at various times in my life; and being unable to declare with certainty that I don’t believe one or more idiotic things right now.”

Muddle and melancholy. “And yet…even as I type these words, I worry that my reflections, well-intended though they may be, will dishearten and enervate the few readers they manage to reach. Am I sapping our civilization’s fragile spirit? If I can’t stand up forthrightly for truth, any truth, mightn’t the responsible thing be to lie down and (metaphorically) die?”

M.

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