I’m always fascinated by the idea that some people get into their heads about the sanctity of their opinion.
Opinion, according to any good dictionary, is defined as: a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty; or a personal view, attitude, or appraisal. Nothing less and certainly nothing more. However, it appears that a gathering of sufficient numbers – no-one has ever managed to define the minimum requirement for me – of persons of like mind on any given issue changes the form of an opinion into something approaching a believable probability, at least among that collective. Add to this aggregated thought process an ability to be verbose and seemingly literate on the subject in question, and believable probability suddenly takes on the same state as cogent, all-encompassing reality.
Such is the perception I’ve gained of the Just Grounds discussion group. Self-confidence is a wonderful quality for any human being. So is tolerance, rationality and acceptance of reality. Combine self-confidence with these three qualities and you generally wind up with a reasonably stable personality, and society. Combine it with only one or two of the three and you seem to find individuals who form collectives that are willing to follow the person in front, who in turn is following the person in front, who as well is following the person before them, ad infinitum. The website-cum-forum graphically illustrates the self-sustaining ethos of the collective. Each and every post is supported by another that reinforces the beliefs of the one before it, without question, without critical comment or suggestion. In the business of primary production, such behaviour is usually only seen in sheep and goats.
We’ve all seen a very similar mode of conduct in that troubled land far across the seas. America. Disgruntled, self-confident, irrational, illogical individuals who all perceive a different reality from that facing them, quite content to follow a fiscally well-armed leadership with a Machiavellian set of objectives amounting to subversion of a democratic process. It’s unclear whether similar operators to the American Koch brothers exists in this country, but we do have some very coercive types fronting radio station microphones. Their agenda is purely ideological, reinforced by a fourth estate that has only one eye open on every issue which arises. We’re a little better off than our American fellows from a societal point of view as well. We tend not to worry ourselves terribly much about ratbags trying to wrest control of the democratic bus from the Constitutional driver. We simply watch them closely, pinching out rampant shoots from below the graft union before they take the energy from the whole tree. Pauline Hanson comes quickly to mind.
So, the next time you see a collective of verbose, and semi-literate folk, gathering together to make a lot of noise about what they perceive to be reality, just remember that their behaviour in our society is as valuable to us all as the sheep and goats they mimick. As long as we know where they are, who’s heeling them along & who is leading the herd, we’ll always have comic mutton for the Sunday roast.