Of course I always think I’m right

Here’s an email I received this morning:

“Matt, I don’t know why your station lets a prick like you stay on the air. You seem to always think your right about everything like everything you say is somehow automatically the truth. Things aren’t as black and white as you make them out to be. Did you ever consider talking about an issue from more than just one side? More people would listen if they didn’t have to turn on the radio to hear some assh*le screaming his opinions like they’re facts.”

Nothing particularly notable about this message, which is why I’m sharing it with you. I get this sort of thing all the time. Even before I got into radio, probably 80 percent of the debates I had with anyone of the liberal persuasion would end with them whimpering about how I should stop ‘thinking I’m right all the time.’ Intellectual discussions would devolve into me getting lectured about my tone of voice. Arguments over who is wrong and who is right would end abruptly as my opponent suddenly declares that the truth of the matter is forever hidden somewhere inside a murky “grey area,” and therefore the entire conversation has been a pointless waste of time.

See, I’ve always lived by the philosophy that you should only speak when you’ve got something to say, and you should only say what you believe to be true, and you should say what you believe to be true with a passion that reveals the certainty with which you believe it. This stands in stark contrast to the mainstream method of speaking even when you’ve got nothing to say, and saying what you don’t necessarily believe, and saying what you don’t necessarily believe with a suffocating fear of offending the people who may not agree with whatever half hearted suggestion you timidly whispered.

It’s no wonder that we live in a country where the most common verbal crutches are words and phrases such as “like” and “you know” and “just sayin’.” Verbal escape hatches are hinged to declarative statements, protecting the communicator from having to stand by their remarks.

Yesterday I was discussing the NSA phone surveillance program with someone. Here’s what he said: “I dunno, it seems like it’s, like, unconstitutional, you know? But a lot of people think it’s OK.”

Wow. That statement is an absolute marvel of diffidence, yet this is how most people communicate nowadays. Let’s dissect it so we can all learn how to adroitly avoid ever taking a stand on anything. First, begin your assertion by saying “I dunno.” This alerts the listener to the fact that you have no understanding of the issue you’re about to tackle. Next, couch your declaration in a few “likes.” Are you saying the program is unconstitutional? No, you’re saying it’s LIKE unconstitutional, which means it resembles or is similar to unconstitutional, but it may still be constitutional. Thirdly, check the temperature of the listener by asking them if they know and agree with the sentence you just uttered. Finally, remember to quickly add the “but some people disagree” qualifier. There. Now you’ve gone from saying something solid and explicit, to muttering something vague and barely decipherable. Well, at least you can’t be accused of “always thinking you’re right,” because, clearly, you don’t think you’re necessarily correct about anything you’ve just taken the time to articulate.

This is the sort of confusion that comes with relativism. Unfortunately, relativism — the rejection of objective truth — is now entirely mainstream. That’s why an MSNBC host felt completely comfortable a few days ago when she suggested that the life of an unborn child begins whenever the mother feels like it begins. Post modern liberals have long insisted that questions of morality are relative and subjective, but now they’ve graduated to insisting that even the laws of biology and science depend on the whims of the individual. This is what I call the Wile E. Coyote Principle. It’s the belief that scientific truths don’t apply to those who decide to reject them. Think of the coyote running off the cliff and traversing across the sky, not falling to his (temporary) demise until he actually looks down and realizes that there is no ground beneath his feet. That, in effect, is an illustration of modern relativism.

There is no level of insanity to which a relativist won’t descend. Insanity is, in fact, their goal. They wish to obfuscate every issue by dumping a wheelbarrow full of putrid, steaming nonsense on top of it. The whole thing is self defeating. After all, if truth is relative, then the truth that truth is relative is also, itself, relative. Their philosophy is so ridiculous that it collapses before you can even get to the next sentence. Or maybe I shouldn’t be calling it a philosophy at all. It’s really just an excuse. An excuse to live a life of intellectual laziness, moral apathy, and spiritual cowardice. That’s why they attack you for committing the sin of believing what you say, and saying what you believe in a persuasive and forceful manner meant to communicate, you know, like, the confidence you have in, like, the idea you’re expressing, or whatever. You know?

But then again, some people disagree with everything I’ve said, and that’s totally cool.

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21 Responses to Of course I always think I’m right

  1. idiotwriter says:

    Hey – just found a new word ‘obfuscate’…I like that word- it does just what it says it means. Unlike the people you refer to in your post who don’t quite get around to saying what they mean or is that meaning what they say- I dunno.

    The era of ‘political correctnes’ where every one is so darn scared to say what they think – just in case (you know) it may like offend someone. Freedom? the whole planet is running around looking over their shoulders wondering if they will get shot for airing their views. Reminds me of dictatorial Africa – where you were LITERALLY SHOT if you were over heard denouncing (in ANY way) the regime. Guess we are not AS first world as we believe we are. Yet the ‘first world’ sit on their pedestals and dictate to the rest of the world HOW to live. Whats ok and whats not…when they do the exact same thing? The log in your own eye people! Shew – that was a good rant.

  2. Rita Cantrell says:

    WOW….this is amazing…have to send out to all my friends. Praying that more wise, courageous men and women will rise up and not shut up! Rita

  3. Matt, I’ve made some grammatical corrections below to improve your writing. These are common errors and are due to the fact that most writers don’t recognize a gerund when they write on. Since “whimpering” and “getting” are gerunds, and gerunds are nouns, albeit verbal nouns, you must modify them as you would a noun. Try replacing each one with the noun “dog” and you’ll see it more clearly. Have a great day, and don’t let the douchebags get you down.

    Leonard Martinez

  4. cyberguy64 says:

    Removing the ability to hold firm beliefs prevents thought. Why think about things if nothing is true?

    There’s a reason nobody wants us to think anymore. If you don’t think, then you won’t question all the questionable stuff going on around you.

  5. Matt, you may be my long-lost son. For years, I have told people, if I didn’t believe what I say, then I’d change my mind. Bugs me to no end that they feel the right to hold to their opinions, but don’t afford the same to me. I like the way you think.

  6. Lisa says:

    Brilliant. Once again. Brilliant. AND I MEAN IT! (she said forcefully and with great conviction)

  7. As Richard Feynman pointed out, uncertainty is the hallmark of science. Pseudoscience, on the other hand, revels in undue certainty.

    Now, I don’t know anything about you outside this blog post since I was led here from social media, but usually people qualify and weaken their statements not because they are unwilling to stand behind their opinions but because they are open to listening to new evidence that will change their mind. From this post, however, it looks like you are willing to take an unjustifiable certain stance on something you have little knowledge about, in this case: how science interacts with certainty, opinion, and policy. In contrast, note that in this paragraph I used uncertainty in a way that explains what evidence my opinion is based on (i.e. only this post) and what sort of evidence might change my belief (if somebody else pointed me to posts where you show a basic understanding of the thinking of scientists). Obviously — just like certainty — uncertainty can be taken to a ridiculous extent (as the Sokal affair showed for instance) but personally I would rather live in a world where people recognize or overestimate their ignorance (i.e. one where people err on the side of uncertainty) instead of one where public figures claim undue certainty.

  8. Pam Winston says:

    Sometimes I think you’re his ghostwriter…..

    Sent from my iPad

  9. Cylar says:

    You oversimplify a lot, conveniently leave out critical details that would weaken your thesis, and I think you complain a lot without offering many solutions…but I don’t fault you for “thinking you’re right.” I keep coming back because despite all of that, you *are* in fact right a good hefty portion of the time. (I’m much more inclined to comment when I disagree than when I agree.)

    Your critics seem to have forgotten that *everyone* (other than the criminally dishonest) says “it” because he thinks it is true, or he wouldn’t bother stating an opinion…much less attempt to marshal any facts, reasoning, or other evidence to support his views. Does anyone actually go around saying, “I think thus and so even though I know I’m dead wrong?” I think what your critics have a problem with is that you’re not willing to concede the debate to them, and furthermore you frustrate them by being able to offer support for your views. The people I run out of patience with the most quickly, are the ones who seem to think that a bald assertion is enough…who take it for granted that it is the way they say it is, just so, without bothering to tell me why they think that.

  10. Joshua says:

    You have created what appears to be the best blog on the world wide web. Keep talking sir – you have much worth saying.

  11. Kelsey says:

    Taylor Mali. “Conviction.” PLEASE go look it up!!

    I think you just rewrote his excellent poem in excellent prose.

  12. But most people philosophically speaking are morally objective as applies to meta-ethics. I hold a lot of ethical subjectivist viewpoints, but I classify them by levels of community, religion being the highest level of “community” if you will. In cases where people don’t believe as I do (the written word of God, a.k.a. the Bible) the truths of that bible, while universally true for our community, do not apply to those who don’t believe them. How could they? In those cases, they are not absolute but they are relative.

    Objectivity and Subjectivity have much more to do with perspective than anything else. If an objective truth existed the only way you would know it anyway is through your senses, which are intrinsically subjective. Every experience you have is subjective.

  13. Brianna says:

    LOL. I’ve gotten that one too. My response is, “Of COURSE I think that what I’m saying is true. If I thought it were false, I’d be saying something ELSE!”

  14. Josh says:

    I generally get this as well, but it always seems like the reply goes something like this: “You’re a jerk because you think you’re right all the time. Now let me tell you all the ways that I’m right and you’re completely wrong.”

    In other words, “you should stop thinking you’re right all the time because it’s clearly me who’s right all the time.”

    Typical liberal double-standard.

  15. Ah! I just had a conversation with some liberal that ended with him questioning the existence of truth (after insulting me and my religion several times) and me giving up on ever making him see the light.

  16. Steve Russell says:

    When my wife and I argue about something, which, really, isn’t all that often, she invariably inserts this statement into the argument – “you always think you’re right.” Well, of course I always think I am right. If I thought I was wrong I wouldn’t be arguing, would I? What kind of person would I be if I argued about a subject in which I thought I was wrong?

  17. You enjoy being an asshole, dont you?

  18. John says:

    Preach it, Matt !!

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