Ask the grumpies: Changing opinions

Leah asks:

Is there any major personal opinion where you’re taken a big swing? For example, as a child, I was really anti-abortion until I learned why people might chose to have an abortion.

Ooh, ooh, I can answer this one for #2! Did you know that she used to be REALLY into Ayn Rand?  I wasn’t.  But she TOTALLY was.  I was all, you should totally write a scholarship application for that weird author you like who writes the long onanistic books (actually I didn’t say onanistic because I didn’t know that word yet, but I did probably use the hand motion…).  But she didn’t.  Like most people not in congress, she outgrew it.

I used to believe that people could be fixed and change.  I used to believe that evil didn’t exist. I used to believe more realistic villains thought they were doing the right thing, but were just confused on that, and the truly evil-seeming ones all had some sort of rare psychopathy.  Those beliefs have been firmly shaken these past couple years and now I realize all those “unrealistic” super-villains were actually warning us about what could be.  What now is.

Here’s #2’s actual answer:
I have ambivalence about the death penalty.  Generally, I am against it.  It’s irreversable, expensive, and racist the way it’s currently done.  It doesn’t deter crime.  It ties up the court with endless appeals.  It’s carried out in dumb and dehumanizing ways.  But there are some people . . .


6 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: Changing opinions”

  1. Bardiac Says:

    Every time you learn something, you change your mind. We should embrace changing our minds, especially when we do so because we’re responding to good evidence and good arguments (and when we’re learning new things). We make a real mistake in our culture when we disparage people for changing their minds.

  2. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I used to think people didn’t change or that largely they don’t change their character too much. But I’ve changed a ton since half a lifetime ago and though it was a result of going through some really bad times, I am glad of it. I’m a much better person than Young Me was. I mean, simply from lack of experience Young Me couldn’t know the things I know now or care the way I do now, but I’m glad of the growth and I hope that I always keep growing as I learn more about the world. I’m certainly a lot more humble and compassionate than I used to be – the latter is something an old friend from grade school pointed out.

    I hope people DO keep changing.

    But I always believed in the existence of evil and still believe that some people are just willfully evil and that they’re not going to change because they’re choosing evil deliberately.

    I never got deep into Ayn Rand, I just remember being told in some signaling sort of way that her books were what intellectuals read. By that measure, I figured I was “only” a pleasure reader because after one attempt at forcing myself through Atlas Shrugged, it just wasn’t worth the pain to be an intellectual or look smarter than I was.

  3. rose Says:

    Changing an opinion when presented with additional accurate information is very different from other changes in adult behaviors. Changing behaviors based in erroneous thoughts/opinons is much rarer and harder because behaviors are more apt to coincide with self-benefit and that prevents us from looking at the underlying and often uncomfortable opinions/thought patterns/beliefs. E.G.: Ending violent behaviors/threatening in an adult over 45…. rare because self examination, admitting the behavior creates benefits to self, admitting the other person has equal rights, etc is highly …. Or the people who claim to be LGBTQ positive but if it is suggested their child might be …….
    Well. So changing an opinion on a subject that does not touch self is different from opinions that do……..

  4. First Gen American Says:

    I used to have the opinion that poor people are poor for a reason…because I got out…why can’t they? Then I did grand jury and saw how entrapped people can get in their station in life. When an undercover cop comes to your door because your family are drug dealers and you give him drugs…now you get busted and have a record as a minor.

    When my first boss who was African American used to point out how people would stare at us together in airports (because I am white and he was black)….I never even noticed until he started showing me who was staring. Holy crap. A lot of people were staring!! I was just totally oblivious.

    For me, I guess it was just ignorance and as I became more exposed to things outside of my bubble In life, I gained empathy, perspective, and adjusted my opinions accordingly.

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