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This, from Freddie deBoer (via @ayjay), is true. I picked up the opinions habit early on because I thought it was what intelligent people were supposed to do. I’m now trying to unlearn it, in part because (as Freddie says) arguing over opinions is deeply unpleasant to me.

For a very large swath of the human population, probably the majority, constantly forming and expressing and fighting over opinions on contentious topics is an unusual and unpleasant activity. It’s not that many people out there just don’t naturally form opinions, on art and culture and politics, the way anyone does. But to think of those opinions as something to constantly bring into a state of contention with others, to argue all the time as a matter of day-to-day life, is intimidating even for many smart and principled people. It’s hard to recall now, but there was a very recent period in which most people had no greater opportunity to share their opinions than to say them out loud at work or a bar or during the fellowship service after church. The truly motivated might stand on the street with a bullhorn or start a paper newsletter or write letters to the editor. Most people never bothered. The cacophony of opinion we live in is very new.

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