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"Extreme Views Weakly Held"

A J P Taylor was an historian and journalist of the last century. He wrote for the Express and was quite fiery in his views. He died in 1990.


Apparently there is footage of him on, I think, Question Time where he had answered questions in his usual forthright way time after time and then was asked a question about housing policy. He thought for a minute and said "I don't have an opinion on that..."


Its interesting how odd that seems now - not to have a strong opinion - or an opinion at all. It seems now it is essential for us to have strongly held beliefs on everything. On things we cannot possibly know much about that would warrant us holding a strong view - things taking place thousands of miles away, things that require a level of expertise or research into the topic that we almost certainly have not got or done.


There is a sense that to hold these strongly held opinions is an important part of being a member of modern society. I would question how helpful or necessary this is. It can bring a sense of peace sometimes to go "I have no idea what happened there..." as hard as that can feel.


Taylor was one intereviewed for an academic post at Oxford and a panel member said "I hear you have strong political views." His reply was "Oh no President. Extreme views weakly held"


This perhaps feels a more comfortable place to strive for than the certainty we often seek in so many things.



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