You Are NOT Entitled to Your Opinion—Who Told You That?

No one's going to put you in a pen for your thoughts. Look around—neo-Confederates, Incel psychotics, Vaccine mythologizers, Nickelback fans, and Rudy Giuliani are all running wild and free. Asher Black asks, "Are you really ENTITLED to your beliefs?"

Show Notes Delightfully un-edited and subject to error (blame the machines who might say ANYTHING).

No one’s going to put you in a pen for your thoughts. Look around—neo-Confederates, Incel psychotics, Vaccine mythologizers, Nickelback fans, and Rudy Giuliani are all running wild and free. Asher Black asks, “Are you really ENTITLED to your beliefs?”

All right, here we go. For another episode of Manhearted, the show about being a man I’m Asher black, your host powered by spunk. And once again, we’ll aim to get to the heart of manhood. Now, in this episode, I want to pick up on something that we left off within the previous one, which is the topic of belief. Now I mentioned a couple of things. I’m going to state them again. And then we’ll, we’ll go on.

My generation, grew up hearing that they have the right to believe, whatever they want. And no one pointed out that rights only work in a context of rationality and beliefs are supposed to correspond to reality. And so of course, what we have now is people believing all kinds of things without any felt need for those things to correspond, to verifiable facts, empirical data, anything like that. Essentially, you hear people saying, oh, we have his beliefs. So I’m going to believe this. And that I think is not only a shirking of one’s intellectual duty, but as a distinctly unmanned hearted thing to do, I like Lewis black, the comedians comment.

You’re not entitled to your opinion, who told you that you’re entitled to your informed opinion. And again the definition of information needs to be that which corresponds to empirical reality, not something somebody says and you believe because enough people are saying it or the right people are saying it, or it fits with your preexisting framework, et cetera. Same with me. Not something I believe because I want to. So I’m going to kick off the show by defining what I think a Manhearted way of thinking about this is, which is it is Manhearted to face unpleasant facts. I grew up that way facing things that I didn’t want to do facing things that were true, that I didn’t want to be true. And the adults around me who were reared in the world war II generation, and just after that, and many of my family were military said to me, this is part of what being a man is.

And they meant part of what being an adult is. I just happen to be male, but they were saying that we have to do things and we have to understand things that we don’t like to do and understand. I can still remember the time that the sewer backed up and the sink clogged. And my father had to reach his arm, you know, all the way to the shoulder, down into the drain in this muck and try to free it up, et cetera. I said, God, how can you stand to do that? And he says, I can stand to do it because it has to be done. And I’m like, why didn’t you get somebody else to do it?

And he’s like, why would I do that? You do these things yourself because you know, it’s your mess. And so you deal with your mess. If you can, if I couldn’t do it, I would get somebody, but because I can do it and it needs doing, I do it well. I think that way about intellect and about ideas, fundamentally, what we think is a mechanical construct. We put together our thoughts, we conjure beliefs, but what we think is something that’s constructed out of a relationship with. We have and one of integrity, hopefully to verifiable reality. So facing unpleasant facts is I think part of what it takes to be made right-hearted, but also we have to face facts that don’t reaffirm our existing worldview. And I find a lot of people really fall down and we’ll miss out on that. Like seriously, if a fact doesn’t support the thing they currently support or the person at whose feet they’re currently worshiping.

Groveling if the fact does not align with the platform they want to push, then the fat gets discarded. It gets dismissed. And you know, I hear people saying, well, both sides will accuse you each other of that. And the first problem I have is the idea that there’s only two sides, but I do think in an argument between that, which is committed to verifiable reality and that which is saying, I just believe, I believe, I believe because this says, so I just suspect. I think, I think, I think there already even two sides there’s one side, the side of reality. And then there’s the other side, which in effect has no real being or existence. The burden of proof is actually on the person, challenging reality, not the person holding to it. So I want to also mention that I think going along with facing facts that are unpleasant and facing facts that don’t reaffirm our existing worldview, part of being Manhearted is facing facts.

That force us to change facts. That force us to reconceive of our version of reality, our worldview, our relationship to it. So I’ve often said there are three quests that all human beings are on. I think these are the ancient quests, right? One is who am I? Another is what is my relationship with the world? And another is what do I do now? And those three things are the three things that most likely are going to get challenged. When we find facts that are inconvenient truths, right? To quote an Al gore video. When we face those things, it is going to come up against our identity, our concept of who we are, whether that is I’m a man or I’m an American or I’m straight or gay or whatever the hell it is. Secondly, I think we run into facts that challenge our relationship to the world.

You know, you are or are not dominant. You are, or are not important. You are, or are not the preeminent or the smartest guy in the room or the toughest guy in the room or the best guy in the room. I remember a news night that show where the question was asked in the first episode. I love that scene if you’ve seen it. Gosh I think it’s Jeff Daniels and he’s asked why is America the greatest nation on earth? And he says it isn’t who told you that? And he goes on to talk about how we’re, you know, we’re nearly dead last in a whole lot of categories from healthiness to mathematics. So that belief that we are the best is one of those questions of our relationship to the world that gets challenged by inconvenient facts or inconvenient truths. And another is what do I do now?

And so you have a whole host of people, for instance, that you know, are out of work because things have changed and they don’t want to do what is necessary. They might have to learn something new. They might have to relocate. They might have to do a number of different things. And they’re hearing information that suggests look, there are just no more jobs in your field. They don’t exist. They’re not coming back. There’s no use for that commodity anymore. We don’t need it dug out of the earth, whatever it is. And those facts don’t fit the notion of their relationship with the world. And so consequently, they reject that information and look for information that sounds better is more suitable. It makes me feel what I want to feel and anyone that will tell us that and to the degree that that happens. I think we are slaves to the people that give us that information.

And of course, people throw around this hyperbole in this rhetoric on all sides. But I want to point out that if one denies the reality of, or the reliability of any information, you know, and I don’t mean the reliability of any information in particular. I mean, saying that there is no information about which we can confirm its reliability. People essentially take a Neal list argument. We can’t get real answers. So we’re just stuck with believing what we want to believe anyway. And I choose to believe this that’s a tacit argument that belief superstition and ultimately personal preference is all that we have. And at that point we can dismiss both the premise that that person is arguing and the person who’s arguing for removing the ground of their own claims, because that would include everything they have to say. And there’s, there’s just no point in listening.

I don’t prefer to hear you. You’re essentially, once you say those things, you have chosen irrelevance and you’ve chosen for your ideas and thoughts to be irrelevant. So those people are not listened to it’s their own doing. Our difference is not a difference of belief. It’s that some people indulge in beliefs and some people don’t, the disagreement is over superstition and faith and belief in general content aside. So the question is really, are we entitled to those beliefs when there are facts to the contrary and that we have access to those facts and they’re readily verifiable, you can take the flat earth people. There are, you know, it, isn’t hard to verify the shape or circumference or a lot of other information about the relatively golf ball shaped a planet on which we live. And yet there are people that say, well, you have your beliefs.

I have mine. No that’s accepting that both things occupy sort of the same ground and that that’s not true. That’s a basic principle of logic that the burden of proof lies with the person claiming that that person’s beliefs outweigh verifiable reality. You cannot accept that premise or accept that the two things or you as an argument at that point, as an argument are on even footing. You’re not the person claiming lizard people rule the world must. The default is not. So the default is that what you, we can observe, which is empirical, which is verifiable a person offering unverified claims and saying, well, everything you have is not verified, or I personally don’t believe it, or I’m not satisfied. The burden of proof still lies on that person. If they haven’t met it, you can safely dismiss what they’ve said, not even with regard to the content of what they said, but in principle, they have not met the burden of proof.

And when they say, oh, prove that it’s not true, they’re shifting the burden to you. And that is that’s a bargain that you don’t accept if you want to remain intellectually stable. So this wave of, I just believe acts or all you have is belief too. So it’s all arbitrary. It assaults the mountain of verifiable reality and empirical information, but it breaks upon that shore. And it dissipates if we, if we just don’t entertain it by which I mean, not that we play songs for it or tickle his feet, but that we don’t give it credence or a place in our thought process. So, you know, at some point you kind of have to block people out, right? I mean, I will block people, whether it’s on Twitter or I just don’t take their calls or I ignore their emails, whatever.

I have a relative that is distantly related that used to send me stuff about, you know, how immigrants are going to hell and or maybe it wasn’t immigrants. It was just Arabic people or whatever. The, the thing was, I didn’t bother with trying to unpack it. Why would I I asked for this stuff to stop because look one that neither party has access to verifiable reality. In this case, it’s just a matter of perspective, whether there even is such a place for these people to go or that they go there, or this person knows presumably, but I find it so offensive to engage in that sort of judgment, meaning this person knows someone’s ultimate worth destination, you know, their future, their fate, their destiny, that, you know, for me, unless they can immediately show me where they have access to that verifiable information.

I can just ignore it. And you know, of course this person wouldn’t go away. So I, I blocked them. I think we have to do that at some point so that people, you know, don’t spread into our own consciousness and thinking the notion that their ideas are on equal footing with actual ideas about which as Louis Black would say they are informed. So these are my thoughts about this. I think that part of being man hearted is dealing with, with the facts that are in front of us when they’re inconvenient, dealing with them, when they’re unpleasant dealing with them, when they don’t affirm our existing worldview. When in fact they are a point for the other team, if we, you know, whoever it is we don’t like or think is our enemy, et cetera. And even when they force us to change in some way, in a way that we don’t necessarily want to change, that’s the kind of man heartedness I look for.

I’m able to actually sit with people of any number of opinions, if they’re capable of that. And they demonstrate it, it’s only when they’re sort of dug in and entrenched. And if they lost their reason for rejecting something, if it was proven false, they would just conjure up a new reason for rejecting it. If the evidence they’ve handed over for proving the existence of, you know lizard people re-running the white house, or George show us in the middle of his Arctic compound, directing UFO’s over the planet. If, if that evidence was shown to be untrue, or if it was just shown that there is no evidence and they still cling to it, or they just find another reason I’m kind of done at that point. And I think that’s part of choosing the company of the man hearted in my childhood. We would’ve said choosing the company of men by which we mean people of dignity, integrity, duty, and honor.

I think part of choosing the company of the man hearted is to set those things aside and say, look, you know, I don’t have patients for this. Come back when you’ve got something, but some people unfortunately just don’t have the equipment and you ultimately have to, to let them go. Or at least I do feel free to entertain them if you want, if you still want to have debates in Twitter until 2:00 AM, but life is short, possibly shorter than we’d like to believe. And I would prefer not to have to do that.

So that’s a show. It’s a short episode

And now we’ll, we’ll do our awards and our sponsor notes. I want to take a moment to mention free agent source, Inc. Imagine a consulting firm that delivers enterprise projects, especially corporate it projects in the most obvious manner with the project owners priorities as the driver. Yeah. And without the land and expand baggage and outright malingering, that’s come to typify, big four consulting culture. Now their motto is get your people get done, which I love. And there’s so many stories, you know, with those off the rack consulting firms about project delays vendors, not being able to deliver tacking on endless additional data gathering, adding extras to the cast of their paid consultants and pushing out timelines with even more PowerPoint presentations. One guy said we spent eight months and 500 K with a traditional consulting firm. And I think all we got in the end was a PowerPoint.

It was the most expensive PowerPoint we ever had. Now those firms have no trouble getting clients. And you have to wonder if the people buying that stuff, is it management executives who want to cover their assets and have someone to blame when the project falls short of expectations as it so frequently, does it’s prioritizing career over company success, the company principles, the C-suites certainly hate it, but those contracts still keep getting signed free agent source Inc shares the of the executive who wants above all to get things done without the baggage who prioritizes achievement is in it for the same reason. Paul Newman and Steve McQueen drove race cars for the thrill of making a better machine, getting more performance out of it. The business is that machine and for achieving personal goals and seeing them expressed in the form of a successful enterprise. Now, the suits just keep putting out the same stale process, asking everyone to bank on their reputation and the belief that they know how to get a project done. FAS leans the other way. If that interests, you visit their website, free agent That’s free agent Get your people and get done. All right. Our Lily livered wolfs award today, it

Was kind of a collective one. It goes out to people who didn’t get the vaccine.

Yeah, I don’t mean because you tried to get the vaccine and couldn’t or something like that, or the vaccine is not available. I mean, people staring you in the face, there’s a surplus and you still won’t go get it because I won’t have something shoved down my throat.

I heard a guy on his deathbed the other day they’re saving his life. They’ve got him on a ventilator. He’s finally gonna make it through the nurses and doctors their lives

To get this guy out of the dark part of this out of the woods and back into the light. And he’s like, I’m still not sure you gotta

Get the vaccine because I won’t have it shoved down my throat. He sounds like a toddler waving a rattle. You know, he’s not going to eat his dinner because

You want him to, this is not a man hearted thing at all. So, you know, let’s give this a name. I’m gonna, I’m just going to

Say to John DOE the person who stood up well

Defies the vaccine because I won’t be told what to do if that’s you. Yeah. You’re a, was you

Get the, you get the Lily livered

Was award the LL WIA. I’m sorry, it’s a public service. We have to do this because it’s ridiculous.

You’re going around and danging everybody else. So you’re infecting others. You’re risking your life and leaving

Your family destitute potentially, or at least without your help. Yeah. And that could be your extended

Family or anybody, or even just somebody that is relying on you, sir. If nobody relies on you,

One question, whether we need you around anyway. But if it would,

If somebody does, you’re going to just abandon them all. Because now you won’t be told what to do. You can’t make me grow up, stop being such a wuss, get the vaccine. And if nothing else get it for that reason. I mean, I’ve seen these, you know, when vaccines first started being handed out, people were like, oh, it was in the schools that got into the schools. And then they did it to the military and people that have a choice. Look, man, I’ve seen the black and white photographs of children, little girls

Standing in long lines at private schools getting these vaccines. And they were tougher than you. Yeah. The

Military, they didn’t ask. They’re like, oh, you’re going to send me over there. Stick me again. What do I need? I don’t even ask. Just don’t even bother to tell me just yet. If I need a needle, you say, I need a needle. Go ahead and stick it in. And those guys made it through. They had bigger things to face in life. They weren’t stumbling over whether their toast was cooked wrong or somebody put the wrong sauce on their burger. They weren’t like, nobody’s going to tell me what to do. They’re like, look, I got a job to

Do. Let’s be man hearted about it and go do it. And here you are Wilson out. Won’t go get

A vaccine that somebody saying, look, anytime day or night, we got centers set up. We got tens. Come get it at your convenience. And you’re still like, no. Now I’m gonna put everybody in danger. I’m going to risk abandoning people that count on me. I’m going to make health care workers, risk their lives and work around me. But I’m not going to lift a finger. You

Was. So if that’s you John DOE or whoever you are welcome, you got the L L w a this time. All right, we’re ready to give out another excellence in manhood, E I M a award, and this one goes to Julia [inaudible] that’s Louisiana’s representative-elect. She got elected and basically refuse to stand with Republicans on not getting vaccinated. Her husband died of complications related to COVID-19. And so she’s basically saying, get the vaccine and to break with, you know, I mean, these days, it only takes balls to break with the Republicans they’re in lockstep about everything. It’s the wealthiest thing you’ve ever seen. Nobody seems to have their own opinion. Nobody goes against the grain. Nobody leans the other way. It’s like one guy showing up in high school, wearing a pink Izod shirt in the eighties, and he’s got his collar turned up. And the next day everybody has that same shirt wearing it the same way they don’t

Dare go against what Biff says bef the captain of the football team. He’s going to do it that way. We’re going to do it this way. It’s so depressingly

Wizzy and here, Julia Lelo steps up and goes, no,

Look, let’s, let’s have something rational here. My, my husband just died from this. You’re going to tell me the vaccine’s

Not really going to tell me not to get vaccinated.

I’m going to tell you get vaccinated. So that’s manly. That’s ballsy.

That’s what it takes to be just the adult in the room. And I’m sorry, but she’s stronger than all of you, people that are lined up behind your people going. Now, we want step out of line. We have to hold together. And that’s the easiest thing I ever heard. So I have to congratulate Julia, let Lowe welcome to being both Louisiana’s representative-elect and also to the ranks of those who have earned an E excellent.

Asher Black

Asher is a fabulist, maximist, humorist, and raconteur. By day, he works with companies to find and tell their story effectively. By night, he is a human bonfire.

Manhearted is the show about being a man—one man—Asher Black—powered by spunk. Asher is a ferocious professional smart-aleck who goes off like a rocket, picking fights with swaggering bullies, sacred certainties, and hollow-shirted heroes. Manhearted looks at culture through a neurodivergent lens, with a polymath host's cross-disciplinary references and occasional absurd awards. A withering but playful and tongue-in-cheek take on current events and the state of civilization, with transgressive humor, a hypermasculine critique of hypermasculinity, and enthusiastic swearing. You may disagree but, if you've had a Scotch or two, you'll be entertained. Either way, it will at least be MANHEARTED.