You Are NOT Entitled to Your Opinion—Who Told You That?
No one's going to put you in a pen for your thoughts. Look around—neo-Confederates, Incel psychotics, Vaccine mythologizers, Nickelback fans, and Rudy Giuliani are all running wild and free. Asher Black asks, "Are you really ENTITLED to your beliefs?"
All right, here we go. For another episode of Manhearted, the show about being a man I'm Asher black, your host powered by spunk. And once again, we'll aim to get to the heart of manhood. Now, in this episode, I want to pick up on something that we left off within the previous one, which is the topic of belief. Now I mentioned a couple of things. I'm going to state them again. And then we'll, we'll go on.
My generation, grew up hearing that they have the right to believe, whatever they want. And no one pointed out that rights only work in a context of rationality and beliefs are supposed to correspond to reality. And so of course, what we have now is people believing all kinds of things without any felt need for those things to correspond, to verifiable facts, empirical data, anything like that. Essentially, you hear people saying, oh, we have his beliefs. So I'm going to believe this. And that I think is not only a shirking of one's intellectual duty, but as a distinctly unmanned hearted thing to do, I like Lewis black, the comedians comment.
You're not entitled to your opinion, who told you that you're entitled to your informed opinion. And again the definition of information needs to be that which corresponds to empirical reality, not something somebody says and you believe because enough people are saying it or the right people are saying it, or it fits with your preexisting framework, et cetera. Same with me. Not something I believe because I want to. So I'm going to kick off the show by defining what I think a Manhearted way of thinking about this is, which is it is Manhearted to face unpleasant facts. I grew up that way facing things that I didn't want to do facing things that were true, that I didn't want to be true. And the adults around me who were reared in the world war II generation, and just after that, and many of my family were military said to me, this is part of what being a man is.
And they meant part of what being an adult is. I just happen to be male, but they were saying that we have to do things and we have to understand things that we don't like to do and understand. I can still remember the time that the sewer backed up and the sink clogged. And my father had to reach his arm, you know, all the way to the shoulder, down into the drain in this muck and try to free it up, et cetera. I said, God, how can you stand to do that? And he says, I can stand to do it because it has to be done. And I'm like, why didn't you get somebody else to do it?
And he's like, why would I do that? You do these things yourself because you know, it's your mess. And so you deal with your mess. If you can, if I couldn't do it, I would get somebody, but because I can do it and it needs doing, I do it well. I think that way about intellect and about ideas, fundamentally, what we think is a mechanical construct. We put together our thoughts, we conjure beliefs, but what we think is something that's constructed out of a relationship with. We have and one of integrity, hopefully to verifiable reality. So facing unpleasant facts is I think part of what it takes to be made right-hearted, but also we have to face facts that don't reaffirm our existing worldview. And I find a lot of people really fall down and we'll miss out on that. Like seriously, if a fact doesn't support the thing they currently support or the person at whose feet they're currently worshiping.
Groveling if the fact does not align with the platform they want to push, then the fat gets discarded. It gets dismissed. And you know, I hear people saying, well, both sides will accuse you each other of that. And the first problem I have is the idea that there's only two sides, but I do think in an argument between that, which is committed to verifiable reality and that which is saying, I just believe, I believe, I believe because this says, so I just suspect. I think, I think, I think there already even two sides there's one side, the side of reality. And then there's the other side, which in effect has no real being or existence. The burden of proof is actually on the person, challenging reality, not the person holding to it. So I want to also mention that I think going along with facing facts that are unpleasant and facing facts that don't reaffirm our existing worldview, part of being Manhearted is facing facts.
That force us to change facts. That force us to reconceive of our version of reality, our worldview, our relationship to it. So I've often said there are three quests that all human beings are on. I think these are the ancient quests, right? One is who am I? Another is what is my relationship with the world? And another is what do I do now? And those three things are the three things that most likely are going to get challenged. When we find facts that are inconvenient truths, right? To quote an Al gore video. When we face those things, it is going to come up against our identity, our concept of who we are, whether that is I'm a man or I'm an American or I'm straight or gay or whatever the hell it is. Secondly, I think we run into facts that challenge our relationship to the world.
You know, you are or are not dominant. You are, or are not important. You are, or are not the preeminent or the smartest guy in the room or the toughest guy in the room or the best guy in the room. I remember a news night that show where the question was asked in the first episode. I love that scene if you've seen it. Gosh I think it's Jeff Daniels and he's asked why is America the greatest nation on earth? And he says it isn't who told you that? And he goes on to talk about how we're, you know, we're nearly dead last in a whole lot of categories from healthiness to mathematics. So that belief that we are the best is one of those questions of our relationship to the world that gets challenged by inconvenient facts or inconvenient truths. And another is what do I do now?
And so you have a whole host of people, for instance, that you know, are out of work because things have changed and they don't want to do what is necessary. They might have to learn something new. They might have to relocate. They might have to do a number of different things. And they're hearing information that suggests look, there are just no more jobs in your field. They don't exist. They're not coming back. There's no use for that commodity anymore. We don't need it dug out of the earth, whatever it is. And those facts don't fit the notion of their relationship with the world. And so consequently, they reject that information and look for information that sounds better is more suitable. It makes me feel what I want to feel and anyone that will tell us that and to the degree that that happens. I think we are slaves to the people that give us that information.
And of course, people throw around this hyperbole in this rhetoric on all sides. But I want to point out that if one denies the reality of, or the reliability of any information, you know, and I don't mean the reliability of any information in particular. I mean, saying that there is no information about which we can confirm its reliability. People essentially take a Neal list argument. We can't get real answers. So we're just stuck with believing what we want to believe anyway. And I choose to believe this that's a tacit argument that belief superstition and ultimately personal preference is all that we have. And at that point we can dismiss both the premise that that person is arguing and the person who's arguing for removing the ground of their own claims, because that would include everything they have to say. And there's, there's just no point in listening.
I don't prefer to hear you. You're essentially, once you say those things, you have chosen irrelevance and you've chosen for your ideas and thoughts to be irrelevant. So those people are not listened to it's their own doing. Our difference is not a difference of belief. It's that some people indulge in beliefs and some people don't, the disagreement is over superstition and faith and belief in general content aside. So the question is really, are we entitled to those beliefs when there are facts to the contrary and that we have access to those facts and they're readily verifiable, you can take the flat earth people. There are, you know, it, isn't hard to verify the shape or circumference or a lot of other information about the relatively golf ball shaped a planet on which we live. And yet there are people that say, well, you have your beliefs.
I have mine. No that's accepting that both things occupy sort of the same ground and that that's not true. That's a basic principle of logic that the burden of proof lies with the person claiming that that person's beliefs outweigh verifiable reality. You cannot accept that premise or accept that the two things or you as an argument at that point, as an argument are on even footing. You're not the person claiming lizard people rule the world must. The default is not. So the default is that what you, we can observe, which is empirical, which is verifiable a person offering unverified claims and saying, well, everything you have is not verified, or I personally don't believe it, or I'm not satisfied. The burden of proof still lies on that person. If they haven't met it, you can safely dismiss what they've said, not even with regard to the content of what they said, but in principle, they have not met the burden of proof.
And when they say, oh, prove that it's not true, they're shifting the burden to you. And that is that's a bargain that you don't accept if you want to remain intellectually stable. So this wave