the dude
"Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief."

¬ Frantz Fanon
Mr. Fanon couldn't have been more correct, because I can't go a day without seeing someone on the internet rationalizing, ignoring, and denying something that doesn't fit into their core beliefs. I constantly see people outright dismissing any information contrary to their political views and world-views with comebacks like 'well, that's just your opinion and this is my opinion' - as if opinions have any relationship to facts. Often, such pearls of wisdom come from people I know don't actually read anything substantial - like, a non-fiction book. You know, those stacks of paper with words on them, bound between two covers?

Few things annoy me more than hearing someone say 'well, that's just your opinion.' These are the people who obviously think their opinion is as valid as anyone else's, and this is simply not true - in my opinion (pun intended). Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion, just as anyone is entitled to respond to your opinion with factual data and information that refutes it. So let's get it straight: not all opinions are equal. In fact, not all 'opinions' are actually opinions. Whoever told you that nonsense did not understand the meaning of education. It is the labor of collecting and evaluating facts, data, and information that validates an opinion, giving some opinions more weight than others, or even making opinions not opinions at all, but hard facts.
"The earth revolves around the sun."

"Oh, that's just your opinion!"
To say 'all opinions are equal' is an insult to every learned person in history, who had to be wrong so many times before ever getting close to being right.

For example: you have a man who reads everyday, studies hard, has a PhD in history, and makes a great effort to learn all he can about history, and then you have a man who watches the History Channel everyday, occasionally perusing a newspaper or a history magazine; both give you their opinion on an important historical event. Sure, they both have an opinion, right, but are these opinions really equal? Which opinion would you take more seriously? Or would you 'respect' that each have an opinion and each of their opinions are equally valid, even though one man clearly put more work into basing theirs on hard facts than the other?

Granted, one should also not fall into the appeal from authority logical fallacy by simply believing someone because they are perceived as an authority on a particular subject, but that's another matter. The point is that all opinions can't be equal - if they were, then slavery would still be a great idea here in the U.S., Hitler would be totally justified in what he did, we'd still believe the world was flat, and so on. Because, after all, that was 'just their opinion,' and anyone who opposed them - well, that was 'just their opinion,' too.

The main thing I wanted to get off my chest is that I find it hard to take anyone's 'opinion' seriously when it's obvious they get all of their information from the TV or mainstream media websites, or just websites in general, and don't make an effort to read any scholarly books or study the patterns of history and up-to-date psychological research. Author Ray Bradbury said: "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."

For the record, there are many great and informative alternative media websites, such as this one (, but in order to have a deeper understanding of the world and what goes on in it, it's crucial to study deeper than what you find on the internet, and especially what you hear on TV. It's necessary to make it a habit of reading books by learned men and women - books about history, political science, psychology, philosophy, health, and everything necessary to be a well-rounded person and critical thinker, which also includes good fiction that exposes one to alternative perspectives, makes one think, and provides profound insight into the real world. In order to learn, it is necessary to see what others who have put more effort than us into learning have to say, and also to learn about different experiences than our own, especially those in other places and cultures. It's necessary to compare and contrast a multitude of world-views, a multitude of 'opinions,' to arrive at an opinion of your own that is closer to objective reality, to the truth.
"Despite the enormous quantity of books, how few people read! And if one reads profitably, one would realize how much stupid stuff the vulgar herd is content to swallow every day." ¬ Voltaire
I find it hard to take anyone's 'opinion' seriously when they just parrot something I know for a fact they heard on the mainstream media, something Bill O'Reilly said, or something Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton said, or even Bernie Sanders, simply because they said it. I especially find it hard to take anyone's opinion seriously when I hear stupid justifications for supporting someone like 'well, Trump speaks his mind and I like that about him,' or 'Trump funds his own campaign so he won't be controlled by anyone,' or 'Hillary Clinton is a woman and women think differently, and that's what this country needs right now.'

For the record, slave owners 'spoke their minds', and so did Hitler, which is what many also liked about him... This is not a logical argument, it's a lazy one. Forget what politicians say; research them and look at their track records. And although Trump is a misogynistic, Islamophobic, egotistical narcissist, Hillary definitely has the most blood on her hands (just ask Libya), yet I'm sure that if you give someone like Trump a chance his hands will get just as bloody, their diminutive size notwithstanding.

But forget the presidential elections - you can apply this type of lazy thinking to anything and everything, from one's views on religion, to medicine, to science, to what food is healthy or not.

Many opinions are misinformed, based on propaganda and hearsay, on the beliefs of one's upbringing, and few are based on actual studying and hard work - on real independent research, on consulting real experts and scholars, comparing and contrasting their works. Even worse, what most fail to understand is that there are psychological techniques that are deliberately used by powerful people - in the banking cartels, the heads of multinational corporations, the military-industrial complex, the government - through the news media, the entertainment industry, and through politicians and other representatives (especially presidential candidates) to mold and manufacture our opinions. Opinions can be controlled, and have been throughout history.

I suggest you look up a documentary series called The Century of the Self, and another documentary called Psywar - watch them and pay close attention. These psychological techniques are employed for something as simple as trying to sell you a product by convincing you that you need it to feel better or to look better (usually by first making you feel inadequate), to more complex agendas like trying to sell you a political candidate, a piece of legislation, or an impetus for going to war or staying in one (usually by making you afraid and convincing you there's a threat, and creating one if there isn't).
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function" - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The most perfect 'opinions' are a process, ones that fluctuate according to newly acquired information (especially information actively sought out by the individual) - ones that are constantly updated, constantly open to changing. The worst kind of 'opinions' are rigid and cannot be updated no matter how much factual information is provided to that person. I find most people fall somewhere in-between these extremes, yet leaning more toward the rigid - being just rigid enough to not question enough to deliberately update their opinions by actively seeking factual information, and just malleable enough to have their opinions passively changed or molded by those in power who provide them with half-truths when they find it necessary to either sway the masses in a new direction or keep them in their spellbound corral.

I want to share with you this revealing quote from Edward Bernays's book, Propaganda:
"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.
In other words, the 'elite' controlling our opinions is necessary 'for the greater good'...
...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."
If you know who Edward Bernays was (watch those documentaries and you will), then you will understand just how significant his statement is. So remember this quote next time you find yourself going 'rah! rah!' over people like Trump or Killary, or any other candidate or idea, really. The election is a farce - you never had a choice. It was always an illusion.

And remember Bernays' quote next time you find yourself getting fired up when someone challenges your opinion of something, which you feel you are 'entitled' to and that it is 'equal' to all other opinions. If you don't do any work, your opinion means nothing. It's empty. Your opinions are not your own when you don't do the work necessary to shape them yourself, so they will inevitably be shaped for you, without your knowledge, by people with far more resources and understanding of the human psyche.

But that's just my opinion.
"Look at the strong people, how they manage to implant their seed-thoughts in the minds of the masses of the people, thus causing the latter to think thoughts in accordance with the desires and wills of the strong individuals. This is why the masses of people are such sheep-like creatures, never originating an idea of their own, nor using their own powers of mental activity."

¬ The Kybalion