Opinions are like a**holes

To me, one of the great things about the explosion of writing on the Internet is that we don't need to formulate our own opinions on anything anymore. No matter what opinion you'd produce, on any topic, most likely someone out there has already expressed it; all you need do is adopt it.

This leads to a kind of shopping experience: whenever you encounter a new topic of debate, rather than carefully considering the facts and drawing your own conclusions, just Google for others' opinions and decide who you agree with. Easy peasy!

Take all of the above as facetious, if you prefer. I'm not yet certain how serious I am. (Which reminds me of The Simpsons: in Homerpalooza, one teenager says to another, “Are you being sarcastic, dude?” “I don't even know anymore.”)

We may think it would be a better world if everyone's opinions were independently researched and thoroughly considered, but that is unrealistic. And shopping around for opinions from diverse sources is perhaps far better than getting all your opinions from one source, whether it be your church, parents, political party, or home-town newspaper.

Example: I'm basically pro-choice, but mostly because people I trust tend to have that point of view. Personally, I have a hard time caring about the issue much either way. I will never get pregnant because I don't have the right apparatus. And I will never get anyone pregnant because, well, I'm a Kinsey 6 and in sexual terms, women are about as appealing as Jabba the Hutt. Pretty effective contraceptive, that.

If anything, maybe parents ought to be permitted to extinguish their children until they're 3 or 4 years old. Ah, but I jest. (I think.) And anyway, many folks who do slaughter their kids appear to be the same brand of fundamentalists who get all huffy over abortion.

This all started with me browsing magazines on amazon.com, and wondering if I am missing anything by relying solely on the Internet and not subscribing to opinions in print. It might be nice to receive some glossy monthly tome packed with various atheist-progressive-rationalist-libertarian-humanist-determinist points of view.

There are a few candidates, but it's hard to tell which I would like best: Reason, Free Inquiry, Skeptical Inquirer, Skeptic, American Atheist, Mother Jones, Liberty, American Prospect, etc. I should try to skim some of these next time I'm at the book store.

©20022015 Christopher League