Feeling smart isn’t always pleasant


I really don’t want to feel smarter than most other people. It seems arrogant and elitist.

Yet, other people seem to work so hard at making me feel smart by comparison. It seems they work at being stupid, and reveling in it.

Just yesterday I was texting back and forth with someone. She was expressing the desire to punch people for annoying her. I understand the feeling, but that doesn’t mean carrying out the act would be right. I said so. It got us into a debate over the initiation of force.

She kept saying she “reserves the right” to punch a**holes. I told her she can’t “reserve” a right which doesn’t exist, and she doesn’t need to reserve a right she already has- such as self defense.

Her argument came down to the fact she really wants to punish people who annoy her.

I told her that’s revenge, and revenge isn’t right, but since most people approve, they would probably support her… but it was still wrong.

She said everyone is entitled to their opinion, including her.

I agreed. Everyone IS entitled to their opinion, but some opinions are still wrong. You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

I think most people don’t know what an opinion is.

Star Wars is better than Twilight” is an opinion- one I happen to agree with, but that doesn’t matter. It’s still an opinion. “No one has the right to initiate force or violate property” is not an opinion. It is reality. It is Natural Law. You can disagree and come up with excuses and try to make up exceptions, but the fact doesn’t change. If you have an opinion that is other than that, your opinion is wrong.

She didn’t like that. She said she wasn’t wrong.

So I asked that she explain herself, show me why she isn’t wrong in order to convince me.

She said she can’t, because she doesn’t want to think about it.

She then told me I have wrong opinions, too.

I asked her to list them.

She gave me the example of one choice I have made.

I pointed out that that’s not an opinion. It is a choice I made- and it might be a wrong one- but it’s not an opinion. In fact, I am of the opinion my life might be better if I changed that choice. My opinion may very well be wrong.

She also said I am wrong about “laws” being harmful, and said traffic laws keep people from killing each other.

I pointed out my opinion that people get trained to not pay attention to traffic, and use traffic laws and signals as a crutch. That this makes people worse drivers in the long run. Then I backed up this opinion by telling her of the cities which have eliminated traffic signals (the face of the traffic “laws”) and made their streets safer and commute times shorter.

She said they must have lied. But she didn’t want to see any documentation.

Anyway, what really bothers me, and makes me feel smarter than I want to feel, is that others don’t want to think. They can’t be bothered to actually learn things, think about things, and then alter their beliefs and behaviors based on the new information. In fact, they avoid the new information like the plague. They have their opinions, but don’t want to examine them. Is it laziness or fear they might discover their opinions are wrong?

So, yeah, I don’t like feeling smarter than most people. But they seem to try so hard to make sure I do.

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