A Side Note on Debating Macron’s Insolence

A Side Note on Debating Macron’s Insolence. Photo: Reuters.

Rabat – U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan gained no name recognition for his leadership or policy making abilities. He probably had none to write home about. But, he became a household name for coining the expression “You’re entitled to your own opinion, you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

This statement rings true every time I scroll down my social media feed and read posts engaging in the most current discourses.

The one that’s floating at the very top is obviously the savage murder of a French middle school teacher and French President Macron’s response. There are two things at play here. A criminal act and the President’s statement.

What is really interesting is how the debate is being framed. You can almost always tell about someone’s leaning just from looking at which one of the things they chose to zoom in on.

What’s missing in most of the exchanges is integrity where bias is eclipsed by presenting both sides of the argument in a fair and the in balanced manner. 

The crime, on the one hand should never be justified and the institution of the presidency should live up to its name and rise above the fray of everyday social media banter.

The debates are one sided and polarized. What’s absolutely fascinating, in the pejorative sense of the word, is the number of people who base their facts on their own anecdotes this elevating personal story to the ranks of empirical data.

That is absolute audacity that needs to be called out. But even when called out, these people will just bring up entitlement to their own opinions while at the same time trying to pass those opinions as facts. Facebook and Twitter are now the most visible battlegrounds where very few people have the temperament and the acumen to accept criticism and have the courage to reassess convictions when presented with a more reasonable perspective.

I have had so many exchanges with real and virtual friends where the back and forth is perceived as an attack on the person. It is absolutely baffling how people want to throw their opinion in the vortex of public scrutiny but the slightest disagreement throws them in defense mode and the feeling that their person is under assault.

This is a marketplace of ideas. When entering it, people need to be armed with some thought but mostly thick skin. Those who can’t stand its heat, should stay out of its kitchen. It is absolutely disappointing to see some many bright and promising people show the unfettered willingness NOT to let facts get in the way of their emotional stories.

Sorry, but when you start presenting your opinion as fact, be ready to defend it. When you start throwing percentages and numbers, get ready to cite your sources. I know this is just Facebook but the debate should never stoop to scribbling on the wall of a bathroom stall.

There is a trend as of late to post quotes of famous intellectuals. These quotes are often poignant and convincing. This is a clever way to fend off any potential push back or argumentation. After all, how can anyone argue with a quote by Ibn Khaldoun.

 All of us have shared quotes and memes because it comported with our line of thinking.  But how often do we stop to question the veracity of the quote? How many of us are willing to fact check what we share and decipher whether it was an actual direct quote from Al Mokhadima or a mere fabricated internet gobbledygook.

The fact is that we all suffer from a varying degree of intellectual laziness. And that’s not just an opinion.

Source: moroccoworldnews.com