August 29, 2015

"What's your most unpopular opinion?"

John asks a question on Facebook that makes me think: Whatever it is, you shouldn't put it on Facebook. A couple people do put that kind of answer up. Many people put up answers that indicate that they're interpreting the question differently from the way I did. "Unpopular opinion" could simply mean an opinion that would poll lowest — e.g., "Liking Lindsey Graham," which is actually one of the answers. But I'd interpret the question as an invitation to confess to believing something that would expose you to unpopularity. Thinking something that few other people think might make you more popular. For example, asserting that rum raisin is the very best flavor of ice cream might make you seem charmingly cute and quirky. There's no risk confessing to that. What is the opinion of yours that, confessed, will hurt your reputation the most? I don't think you should say, not unless you want to go big and make the promotion of that opinion a major goal in life... or you're a shock comic of some kind.

ADDED: I used my "I'm not making a tag for this" tag because I couldn't think of an existing tag that fit or a new idea for a tag that would apply to other posts in the future. John suggested "self-censorship" and — proving the likelihood of future applicability — pointed to 4 old posts that could take the tag:
1. Blogging self-censorship.

2. Self-censorship for censorship.

3. Lady Gaga self-censors her rape-y video.

4. "The problem with free speech is that it’s hard, and self-censorship is the path of least resistance."


sinz52 said...

Here's an unpopular opinion of mine:

I don't have a big problem with incest as long as both participants are consenting adults and the male has had a vasectomy so that no child can result from the coupling.

MayBee said...

"liking Lindsay Graham" can make you unpopular. I don't tell a lot of people I vote Republican for that very reason.

rhhardin said...

Famous woman scientist means woman famous for being a scientist.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I don't think all religions are equal, and I *DO* think everyone should convert to mine and pray for that daily!

(As the lone Catholic in a group of "Christian Homeschoolers", this makes me VERY weird and scary.

Also, I frequently have to keep my opinions on the age of the earth and the big bang to myself. When I slip up, the other parents are scandalized.

Shouting Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shouting Thomas said...

My most unpopular opinions is that you are the gatekeeper to the Mandarin class.

You are the oppressor. You confer certification on the class of corporate attorneys who are our rulers. Your job is primarily to destroy cultural tradition and replace it with a Tower of Babel of HR rules, with Butt Fucking as the official religion. All to increase the power of the Mandarin class.

Your public expression of your sexual perversions is part of your display of your power as a gatekeeper for the Mandarin class. It's a class marker. (What sexual perversions? Your demonstration, ideological marriage, intended to "prove" that sexual roles are "social constructs." You fuck for ideological status markers!)

Even your much remarked upon neurasthenia, your incredible sensitivity to outside stimulus, is a class marker of your Mandarin status. The pigsty of the public market is beneath you.

The Empress has no clothes. That's my most unpopular opinion. You are the oppressor.

Check out the ferocious reactions my opinion evoke from your fellow Mandarins.

Virgil Hilts said...

I think Everything She Wants by Wham! is one of the greatest pop songs of all time.

Achilles said...

The world would be a better place without Islam and Muslims would be happier and better people in any other religion.

Shouting Thomas said...

You wanted to know, prof.

One of your charming characteristics is that something inside you wants to know what life is like outside of your luxurious Mandarin prison.

I don't know entirely why this is the case, but I can see that it is true.

Maybe the suffocating conformity and the dainty neurasthenia of your colleagues in that godawful pinnacle of the office world you inhabit, and the endless, meaningless fight for status within it is driving you nuts.

Will Cate said...

Yeah, to echo Achilles' comment above, my most unpopular belief, at least among my "coexist"-oriented friends and family members, is that Islam is a socio-political philosophy, masquerading as a religion.

rhhardin said...

You ought to exclude unpopular beliefs that everybody believes but won't say.

William said...

I'm a wonderful person and deserve to be popular.

Ann Althouse said...

"You ought to exclude unpopular beliefs that everybody believes but won't say."

These are ideas so unpopular that they are unpopular with you, the person who has them, the things about which you'd think, I wish I didn't think that.

Bay Area Guy said...

I have an unpopular opinion about World War II, largely influenced by British historian A.J.P. Taylor: Here goes:

1. WWII was, in essence, a death struggle between two genocidal dictators, Hitler & Stalin, over control of Europe.

2. It might have been better to let these two genocidal dictators battle to the death, and then have the US intervene afterwards to negotiate/impose a peace on the continent working with the Brits over the greatly weakened and exhausted victor. This might have saved millions of more lives.

The implication is that Hitler might have attended the Yalta post-war conference, not Stalin - which disturbs me greatly, but may have ironically been the better of several poor options.

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...
"You ought to exclude unpopular beliefs that everybody believes but won't say."

"These are ideas so unpopular that they are unpopular with you, the person who has them, the things about which you'd think, I wish I didn't think that."

Ok. I wish I didn't think the religion of Islam has no chance of becoming a modern religion unless we eliminate every Muslim male over the age of 17 that won't accept women as equals under the law.

chickelit said...

What's your most unpopular opinion?

Mine are: "The Periodic Table is a work of Art" and "German is a beautiful language."

Slings and arrows.

rhhardin said...

the things about which you'd think, I wish I didn't think that.

It only happens if you're intimidated by PC.

You have nothing to lose but your chains, as one of the Marx brothers said.

Anonymous said...

Mine, probably: that the fairest tax is a head tax, the same dollar amount for everyone-- i.e., ideally we should try to price government the same way we price pretty much everything else, and deviate from that only to the extent practicality demands.

Sebastian said...

Sorry, not playing these games. I can spot my own weaknesses.

SJ said...

I'll try a couple:

(1) The modern ethos of "non-judgemental" is a form of being judgemental. It's also a reaction against the cultural ethos of the West during the first half of the 20th Century.

This judgementalism that calls itself non-judgemental is as odious and noxious as the judgemental attitudes it decries.

My response: to be judgemental is human; to forgive: Divine.

(2) There is a quasi-religion loose in the world. It was born in the last decade of the 19th Century, and grew to full fruition in the 20th Century.

This quasi-religion worships sexual intercourse itself. In some ways, to the detriment of relationships that are enriched by intercourse.

My response: humans are sexual beings, but humans are also relational beings. Each relationship comes with duties, freedoms, and giving up of self to engage with the other. It is a mistake to elevate one aspect of relationship above all other aspects.

Snark said...

The evidence was conclusive, at least in relation to the state's case, that Oscar Pistorius did not know his girlfriend was behind the door. On matters of fact the judge was bang on. Let me assure you that is one unpopular opinion among the blathering masses.

Meade said...

This might not be popular but it's my opinion that William is Lindsey Graham.

Laslo Spatula said...

My Opinion is that most young women benefit greatly from having sex with Laslo.

This Opinion is mostly Unpopular amongst their boyfriends, husbands and fathers.

The mothers who had a Laslo when they were young understand.

I am Laslo.

Nichevo said...

All Muslims and Arabs who cannot be identified as safe/loyal/valuable should be ejected from Israel into either it's neighbors or some place far away like eastern KSA. Any who resist should be killed.

All illegal aliens in the United States, likewise. Implement real and virtual fences with lethal and nonlethal defenses.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Bay Area Guy,
There's a lot to be said for that theory. By the way, AJP Taylor was the "famous historian" who was killed in the ride-by slashing in Monty Python's "Holy Grail."

Lucien said...

The "Seinfeld" series was built around characters saying things that everybody thinks, but no one wants to be caught admitting to. There's a little George Costanza in each of us.

There's a little Dexter Morgan in each of us too -- if people could really read our inner thoughts we're convinced they'd know we are monsters. What made "Dexter" funny (for about the first four seasons)was that the serial killer trying to put on a normal face was behaving more sanely than the nominally normal people around him.

RedFred said...

My most unpopular opinion is that all individuals and small businesses that operate as sole proprietors or partnerships should be allowed to discriminate based on race, religion, sexual orientation or other protected classes. Corporations and government entities should not be allowed to discriminate at all with respect to current protected classes.

Achilles said...

I believe 30-40% of the US population would support taking my guns, freedom, and sending me to re-education camp until I thought the correct things. There is a major political party led by someone who would do this if he could. The leading candidate for nomination has already proposed "fun camp." If I continued to resist they would kill me. Just like every other "revolution" in history.

rcocean said...

I have tons of unpopular opinions. Here's one:

Too many people vote. And instead of getting more low information, stupid to vote, we should be trying to reduce their number.

If you don't know who your US state senators are, can't name one member of the SCOTUS, don't know who the VP is - then you shouldn't be voting.

Michael K said...

"The world would be a better place without Islam and Muslims would be happier and better people in any other religion."

I agree with this one and have a few others of similar bent.

Mexican immigrants should be encouraged to return home by enforcing E-Verify.

Employers should be allowed to check documents to verify validity.

Mexican illegal immigrants with felony convictions should be deported and if they return should be imprisoned.

Legal immigration should be streamlined. Desired legal immigrants should be determined on a point system like that used by Canada and Australia. The Kennedy 1965 law should be repealed. Family reunification should be a low point factor in permission.

H1B visas should be limited by unemployment statistics in STEM degree holders in some fashion.

buwaya said...

Most opinions that would get someone into trouble aren't unpopular at all. That's why they would get someone in trouble.
Truly unpopular opinions aren't a threat to anyone, hence they are usually just seen as an eccentricity.

PianoLessons said...

An unpopular opinion that could get me seriously ostracized:

Scott Walker's Act 10 saved Wisconsin a shitload of money for schools and citizens and we needed to start paying more for our Cadillac health insurance plans and retirement to save is from becoming a pension and economic nightmare like Illinois.

I know a school board member in a WI liberal town tell me this is their "dirty little secret" that allowed them to buy Ipads for all their three middle school classes.

But please....SHHHHHH.......don't repeat.

David Begley said...

The real issue is why are the above opinions so unpopular to the point of demonization and I agree with many of them?

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Nichevo said...
All Muslims and Arabs who cannot be identified as safe/loyal/valuable should be ejected from Israel into either it's neighbors or some place far away like eastern KSA. Any who resist should be killed.

Kind of like the Nazis. Who would have thought that would come back into style.

jeff said...

I've been married 33 years, I'm not allowed to have any opinions.

J. Farmer said...

Hmm...the kind I would never put on FB is my belief that possession of child pornography should not be a criminal offense on 1st amendment grounds. I'm all for executing the people involved in the production of child pornography, but I don't believe you can criminalize the image itself because then you are essentially punishing people not for anything they actually did to anyone but for the content of their minds. And I oppose all forms of thought crime.

Michael K said...

"Kind of like the Nazis. Who would have thought that would come back into style."

No, the Nazis wouldn't let the Jews out. They killed them instead. Some they took bribes to let out to Argentina and Uruguay.

Anonymous said...

That Hell exists and most people are going there.

J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

"No, the Nazis wouldn't let the Jews out."

That is not exactly true. Nazi policy in the 1930s encouraged Jewish emigration. Near the end of 1939, more than half of all German Jews had emigrated. About half of those left after kristallnacht in November 1938.

sane_voter said...

J Farmer,

My take is that it is not just a thought crime, but the consumption of actual media material. (the laws against owning elephant ivory items is based on a similar argument: to destroy the market in order to protect those harmed by the trade.)

An interesting legal question is what happens when such material can be made with computer generated actors and not real people, and that this virtual media is indistinguishable from the real thing? The reasonable justification for these laws is that real children are hurt by the creation of the media product. If real children are not harmed in the creation of that virtual media product, what is the legal justification for criminalizing the possession of such material? I tend to think it should be illegal, but should something that is terribly offensive but has not actually harmed an actual person still be illegal to view?

PianoLessons said...

Eric - you and I share that opinion.....and where I live in Madison WI one may never say this (even in Catholic Churches now days - Good Grief!!!)

Eric said " That Hell exists and most people are going there"

Heaven help us.

J. Farmer said...


I agree with you about trying to curtail the demand; I'm just not comfortable with putting a human being in a cage for years at a time with incredibly violent, sociopathic people as a punishment for prurient sexual interests. I also agree with you about the virtualization argument, and the Supreme Court has taken up this issue in a more limited degree. I don't recall the specifics at the moment, but I believe a case was before them in which a pornographic video was made by actors of legal age who pretended to be under age. The Supreme Court ruled that this was not child pornography.

I will gladly concede that there are points of view counter to mine that need to be grappled with and worked out. My only point was that the issue is so emotionally charged, attempts to discuss it with people rationally don't often work out too well and is why I tend to just avoid the subject all together.

ken in tx said...
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ken in tx said...

Universal suffrage is a bad idea. There should be a civics test for voters. Also people who don't pay taxes should not be allowed to vote. Even in a lefty union, you have to pay dues to vote.

Krumhorn said...

Kind of like the Nazis. Who would have thought that would come back into style.

Now, we're talkin'! I think we've finally reached the territory our hostess has scoped out for this thread.

I'll double down, AR. I think that the Nazis had the right idea...but not about the jews. The problem is the lefties and the progs.

I would generally support the final solution for lefties except for those lefties to whom I'll give a hall pass (such as my two kids). Most lefties are nasty little shits anyway so there would be no loss, and the silence in the wake of their screams and death rattles would be....pleasant.

Is this what you were after, Ann?

- Krumhorn

cubanbob said...

ken in tx said...
Universal suffrage is a bad idea. There should be a civics test for voters. Also people who don't pay taxes should not be allowed to vote. Even in a lefty union, you have to pay dues to vote.

8/29/15, 6:40 PM"

What's unpopular about that opinion?

Krumhorn said...

oh...and I think we should resume transports to Liberia. We should keep enough breeding stock so that our jazz plays as sweetly and professional sports are fully manned.

Obviously, we want to keep Dr. Carson, Justice Thomas, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Harris Faulkner, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, and innumerable others. The rest can board a liberty ship, and the rest of us will wave bye bye.

How am I doing, Professor?

- Krumhorn

Krumhorn said...

Here's another.

I believe that every illegal alien with gang tats that has been convicted of more than one felony should be required to help dig a deep trench, lined up, shot in the eye, and buried in a mass unmarked grave.

I'm getting good at this. And I have probably gone so far that many heads are nodding and thinking, "yep, I think that, and it would certainly be unpopular to say it. That Krumhorn must be a crazy say it."

- Krumhorn

Renee said...

"Liking Long John Silver" best by far!

I'm defined as a social conservative, but I strongly disagree with charter schools."

J. Farmer said...

Oh yeah, how about disbanding NATO?

Robert Cook said...

"That Hell exists and most people are going there."

Unless Trump is elected and he can get that wall built on the Texas border!

Michael K said...

"That is not exactly true. Nazi policy in the 1930s encouraged Jewish emigration."

They did early but once they thought they had them trapped they shut the door. Watch "Woman in Gold." True story.

Guildofcannonballs said...

1) Everyone is racist.

The most racist are those who think they aren't racist at all, and showcase that belief for mass consumption in order to obtain riches and adulation.

2) Many times bad people who do bad things (greatly, sadly) are rewarded on Earth.

This sucks. It helps to not believe it if/when believing it gets you down, even if the not-believing is irrational.

3) Fat, drunk, and stupid is a way to go through life that many find, a way of their choosing, without much regard for regret.

Achilles said...

I like the cut of Krumkorn's jib.

Lets start with all of the OWS protestors.

Achilles said...

And anyone who still spouts the "there were no WMD's" in Iraq lie.

Rich Rostrom said...

First define "unpopular".

Rejected by the largest proportion of:

My family, friends, and acquaintances in person?

My Internet acquaintances, i.e. other posters at message boards and blog comment pages?

The American "dominant class", i.e. the consensus opinionators and culture makers, business managers, public officials? (This is not a narrow group, but it almost unanimously rejects some opinions held by significant parts of the general public, e.g. Birtherism and Trutherism. I have some opinions - not those - that could get me excluded from many jobs or organizations.)

The American public?

Humanity at large?

Does it matter how vehemently this opinion is rejected? What about an opinion that a most people would disagree with but don't care much about: say, that George Harrison was the real genius of the Beatles (that's just a hypothetical)? There are other opinions that some - but only some - people would consider monstrously wrong: say, that Mohammed never existed (another hypothetical). Which is "more unpopular"?

Meade said...

I hate to admit it but my most unpopular opinion is that people who share their opinions over social media are stupid and always wrong.

David said...

"Academic tenure should be eliminated."

That plays pretty well in some circles but not in yours. It's hard to be unpopular with everyone.

Meade said...

On second thought, that might be my most POPULAR opinion.

Cynicus said...

We waste way too much money on special education to marginally improve the educational outcomes of damaged children because we feel bad for them. We screw over the average children.

wildswan said...

There have been so many abortions in the US - over 54,000,000 - that the United States has irreversibly lost its its moral compass and deserves what is coming next - I do not mean Donald Trump.

But this is so unpopular I don't often think it.

wildswan said...

Here's almost the same thought put in a more popular way.

Has anyone noticed that Hillary's campaign logo is almost the same as the transhumanist logo?

Matt said...

ARM beclowns himself again...

"Who would have thought that would come back into style" as a response to someone's opinion that they know would be unpopular. You see, ARM, if it is unpopular, it is NOT coming back into style, you idiot.

One of my opinions I know would be unpopular: the federal government should completely get out of the welfare business including Social Security (for retirement and disability), welfare, food stamps, education, etc. Predictably, ARM will say that I am awful for this opinion but the reason I believe this is that the government sucks at these roles and, if they were not doing it, people would be more personally responsible and private charities would be able to help those truly in need.

Additionally, the private charities could add demands to those they help such as volunteer for others, join the church, etc. Thus, those getting help don't feel entitled to it; they feel they earned it. Habitat for Humanity is one such model.

TheThinMan said...

A "bimbo" is the modern manifestation of the concubine and it should be legal and socially acceptable for a middle-aged man to keep a few in addition to his wife. Our failure to accept this natural human arrangement results in dumped wives, children in one-parent homes, ruined men (e.g. Tiger Woods, Spitzer) and the shaming of beautiful young women as home-wreckers, whores or gold diggers. Men who remain "faithful" to their wives just haven't been able to put their natural desires into practice yet or haven't been found out. The other casualty is all the women who can't find a husband because so many men are smart enough not to sign on to such an unworkable arrangement in the first place.