Interviewer: I’d like to introduce our guest, Mr. Albert Blair. He’s here to talk about why having opinions is so difficult and why he’s made it his life goal to be completely neutral about everything. Thank you for being here Albert.
Albert: Thank you for having me. I’m sure this will change the world.
Interviewer: Very nice, very nice. So, what’s it like being completely neutral with all things political?
Albert: Well Tom, it’s actually really difficult. Most people have no idea how much effort goes into not having a useful opinion on anything.
Interviewer: You think you don’t have a useful opinion?
Albert: I’m not sure. You see, having an informed opinion is really difficult because you have to spend all this time doing research on topics you’ll never fully understand anyway. Plus, you’ll spend all the time that you could have spent doing something useful, like scrolling through thought-provoking social media updates.
Interviewer: So you don’t ever throw any political ideas out there and discuss them?
Albert: Not anymore.
Interviewer: Why not?
Albert: Well, I’ve tried this whole “civil discourse” thing for a long time. It doesn’t exist. It’s like a unicorn equipped with a rocket launcher. And everyone knows unicorns don’t have thumbs, so they can’t use rocket launchers. Not that unicorns are real. But it depends on who you talk to, and—
Interviewer: About civil discourse…
Albert: Oh yeah, I would go into comment sections on news sites and try bringing up some pertinent points on a few news stories. I even cited my sources, and I took care not to call anyone who disagreed with me a “insert whatever insulting term you want here.”
Interviewer: What happened?
Albert: I was called some very creative things, most of which I can’t repeat on television. There was one person who called me a “barnacle encrusted slab of nasal discharge.” I think that person had a thesaurus handy. Anyway, someone reported me for posting offensive material. Now I’m banned from some sites because a few people got offended.
Interviewer: Kindly tell our viewers what was so inflammatory that it would get you banned from the entire platform.
Albert: I suggested that people we disagree with don’t think they’re evil. We have to understand each other’s perspectives instead of demonizing each other. Maybe we still won’t agree, but we’ll realize we’re not dealing with a group of Satans every time we get into a discussion.
Interviewer: To be fair, you did invoke Satan, which implies the God of Abraham, and some people probably don’t believe in the God of Abraham, which means that you’ve already alienated people, therefore showing that you don’t really have any interest in a civil conversation.
Albert: Wait…what? Where are you getting that?
Interviewer: I mean, it’s obvious. What about atheists who don’t believe Satan exists? Your exclusionary language is insulting and demeaning to everyone who doesn’t believe the same thing you believe. Thus, your getting banned was perfectly understandable.
Albert: Wait, wait. I said “Satan” just as a general term. I didn’t mean it literally. It was a joke.
Interviewer: It doesn’t matter. You should have been more conscious of how people might have interpreted it.
Albert: But I didn’t think anyone would get that twisted of an interpretation.
Interviewer: That’s because you weren’t really thinking. If you had been more considerate and tolerant, you would have used more welcoming language that would not have offended anyone.
Albert: You’re missing the point. The whole point of this is that people we disagree with aren’t necessarily evil.
Interviewer: You see? Saying “evil” would have been much better. But then you probably didn’t consider that different people see evil in different ways.
Albert: So I’m supposed to figure out every possible interpretation of every word I say, and if one small group gets offended, I’m guilty?
Interviewer: That isn’t obvious to you?
Albert: Not really. How does acting that way make anything better?
Interviewer: The fact that you’re asking that question only proves that you getting banned was a good thing.
Albert: We’re losing the thread here. Aren’t you supposed to be getting my perspective on why I’m neutral about everything?
Interviewer: Yes. But it’s not my fault that you clearly aren’t neutral. And it’s also not my fault that you’re showing everyone how not to have a constructive debate.
Albert: How am I doing that??!?
Interviewer: Once again, if you knew the answer, you wouldn’t be asking it.
Albert: This is a waste of time.
Interviewer: It will be if you come out of this having learned nothing.
Albert: The whole reason I’m here is because I no longer have an opinion about anything.
Interviewer: And it’s my job to show you why being neutral and having no opinion is just as bad as having the wrong opinion.
Albert: How can I have the wrong opinion by having no opinion?
Interviewer: You’re not big on self-awareness, are you?
Albert: How do you get that? Did you forget that I’m doing my best not to have an opinion?
Interviewer: And I’m doing my best to show you that your perspective is toxic. You’re the sort of person who would have stood by when Hitler marched the Jews to the gas chamber.
Albert: What?!? Where are you getting—
Interviewer: I’m sure they used many of the same arguments you’ve used. They’d say it was too much trouble to learn all the ins and outs. They’d say, “How can we really say it isn’t okay to gas the Jews until we’ve looked at the other perspectives?” Those are the sorts of things that led to genocide.
Albert: How did you get from me not having an opinion to me causing genocide??
Interviewer: I didn’t say you caused genocide. It seems your ability to interpret words is a bit underdeveloped. That said, I’ll explain more simply so you’re neutral brain can comprehend me. Your unwillingness to have an opinion is based on the fact that you clearly had the wrong opinions to begin with. After all, if you have well-informed, logical opinions, no one would have attacked you and called for your banning on social media.
Albert: But what about all the mean names I was called, and—
Interviewer: Let me finish. The fact that you’re banned proves you’re wrong. Remember, Hitler was absolutely convinced he was right just like you’re convinced you are right. I’m not saying you’re Hitler. I’m just saying you’re like Hitler in that regard.
Albert: But aren’t you like Hitler too? I mean, you’re absolutely convinced you’re right, just like Hitler. How is it I’m the only one you think is guilty?
Interviewer: Please Mr. Blair, don’t make me laugh.I think you’re really being disingenuous. I don’t think someone who acts like Hitler should be accusing me of being Hitler. That’s projection of the highest order. You get the last word.
Albert: You must have missed my point earlier about how we shouldn’t act like everyone who disagrees with someone isn’t necessarily Satan.
Interviewer: I didn’t miss your point. I’m merely pointing out that you’re like Hitler, not Satan.
Albert: You’re a hack.
Interviewer: Well, we all know how much your opinion is worth. Nice to have you on.