We can’t all agree all the time. In fact, most of us don’t agree most of the time.

We argue constantly, each certain of the superiority of our opinions, the totemic high-ground of our viewpoints.

Remember, though, that however ridiculous you think other opinions are, the people who hold them feel the same about yours. To them, you look just as silly, have just as questionable a level of education, are just as bewilderingly ignorant as you think they are.

This doesn’t mean they’re right, just as it doesn’t mean you’re right. All it means is that if you want to convince anyone of anything, disrespect is the least effective way to get there. Not only will you not have brought them around to your way of thinking, you may also have made an enemy out of someone who could be a valuable friend and debate partner.

Other people’s stupid opinions have just as much merit as your own. They are, like yours, opinions backed by individual experience and a finite body of knowledge. Perhaps they, or you, simply haven’t lived long enough yet to see their error of their, or your, ways.

There’s no need to get heated. If your opinions have real merit, they will stand on their own two feet and won’t need you to defend them tooth and claw. Keep your mind malleable, your arguments rational, and your words civil. You might show someone else another perspective, or you might see one yourself.

To do otherwise doesn’t just show disrespect for the ideas of others, but also for your own.

Update: February 13, 2017

I find myself making variations of this argument all the time. Disrespecting the ideas of others might make you feel good in the vein of having achieved a minor personal victory, but it’s probably the worst way to convince someone else of something, or to share knowledge.