Letters & Opinion, Trading Views

OPINIONS

“TOO often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought” John F. Kennedy

Many have expressed their dismay at the manner in which a wide cross section of the public goes about discussing and analyzing issues which affect the country’s development. To a surprising degree, persons seem to be either uninformed or misinformed, spinning their opinions into a web of confusion. At worst, they just may succeed in convincing others with their erroneous or fallacious arguments especially when those persons take to call– in programmes and social media to vent their so–called opinions to a wider audience.

Before commenting further, let us distil the terms “misinformed” and “uninformed”: if you are misinformed you have wrong information and if you are uninformed it means you do not have knowledge of a particular situation or subject matter. To fall into this category means that one should hold back on opining, at least not publicly, until one has read, researched, spoken to informed persons, listened to experts who can explain (if the issue is technical or an area of professional specialization) in order to better appreciate issues or subject matters from an unbiased standpoint.

Beyond a right to an opinion, there is nothing wrong in justifying that right by adding the value of intelligent thought to the forming of opinions as well. Bereft of sound information and sound judgment, there is often very little to grasp in the content of the speaker’s contribution except for emotionalism or the narrow context of his/her own personal experience, which is highly subjective.

Let us take for example the raging debate on the adjustments to the price of gas and other petroleum products which came into effect on January 12. Most talk shows were buzzing with contributors who seem to be mainly analyzing the issue on the basis of their own assumptions or along the lines of their party allegiances, hearsay and speculation.

Some callers glibly suggested that other Caribbean islands may have a different method of calculating “their” Market Pass Through and so could arrive at a lower price adjustment than Saint Lucia’s. At this point in their argument they left their audience hanging with nothing substantial to go on.

Abetta Country is certain that information on how other OECS territories calculate their Market Pass Through System is readily available. After all, the OECS Secretariat is headquartered right here in Saint Lucia. The fact is that in any of the regional territories, like Saint Lucia, the price at the pump is not customized to suit the country, because the increase or decrease in the prices of gas and petroleum products depends on international market conditions. It is truly amazing to hear where persons have taken this debate because they are either misinformed or uninforme

My point is that speculation and the spread of ignorance can be reduced only if persons were industrious enough to educate themselves on the matters that they are passionate about before they speak at a certain level, where what they say may influence the minds of others.

In this era of increased literacy, the internet, smart phones and increased access to information from government and other institutions, Abetta Country has long sensed certain passivity, reluctance on the part of our people to seriously inform themselves on current issues. Nevertheless, most persons would like to think that they have a valuable contribution to add to the discourse of the day.

Perhaps this difficulties that many apparently face with critical thinking, and in their opinion –forming and decision– making processes, is a failure on the part of our education system. This probable failure is further compounded by deep political polarization which hinders persons from recognizing just how important it is to think for themselves, free of the distracting political bells and whistles that often come with national issues.

Warren Buffet said this: “A public opinion poll is no substitute for thought”. His words, as well as that of John F. Kennedy are very applicable to this country where we generally prefer to have an opinion than to think.

By Abetta Country

2 Comments

  1. /

    This inability to inquire and arrive at informed decisions has its roots in the institutions of white religious institutions. Take for example how we are taught from infancy that God had to become a White man, to get killed/commit suicide to pay for our sins. Take a look at the grown men and women attending this religious institution on Micoud Street, who have been conditioned never to ask the question: “WHO DID GOD OWE ?” Himself ? Satan ? Well I have concluded that according to this Catholic Religion, where as a pupil at RC Boys I was conditioned not to question, God had to have paid Satan.

    I find it difficult to imagine that God owed himself. However as a young child I raised the question with one of these strange celibate men in cassocks, and at first told it was a Mystery. What is a mystery? I pressed on and soon incurred the look of contempt from this holy celibate, forever silencing my desire to be inquisitive in search of knowledge.

    Again I urge you to reflect on the congregation of casualties produced from the strange teachings of God dying for three days, but was not really dead because “he raised himself to life on the third day”. See my cousin, don’t loose sleep over the reason our people are superficial thinkers, just examine the teachings of the Slave Masters, who teach: We will loose our Faith, by reading bad books/ The Holy Quran, going to Non-Catholic schools, and taking part in the prayers and worship of a false religion. Why are we afraid to seek mental expansion ? our minds have been crucified.

  2. SON-OF-MAN I have no problems with most of what you had to say until you made reference to the The Holy Quran. That this is a holy book and good and such it is not one for us to be afraid of. To the contrary reading it, embracing its teachings modelling our lives according to its precepts is a sure road to emancipation from mental slavery.

    While this may be true for the Arab it is not for me of African descent. My history, my culture my outlook of life my religion my belief is there and it dates back to long before there was a prophet called Mohammed. So in your prescription for mental emancipation could you not ask those of African ancestry to jump out of the Caucasian frying and into the Arabic fire. If you spend some time and seek am sure you will find what is more you. What is being passed as you is already yours in the first place because almost all of what you have to do and observe as a Muslim is African in origin.

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