Respecting someone who boldly, bravely opposes your political views

If someone took a bold, principled stand for something you politically opposed, would you respect their courage even though you disagreed with their views, or would you find it difficult to separate the two and respect someone whose views you opposed politically, period?

If you are pro-choice, could/would you respect someone who took a bold, courageous pro-life stance - not for their views, but for their boldness?

If you are liberal, could/would you respect someone who took a bold, courageous conservative stance?

If you are pro-Second Amendment, could/would you respect someone who took a bold, courageous anti-gun stance?

If you are anti-affirmative action, could/would you respect someone who took a bold, courageous pro-affirmative action stance?

Etc., etc.

It depends on the views, pretty clearly.

There are views on which I think reasonable people can disagree (e.g., “We both value both safety and individual liberty, we both recognize that there need to be trade-offs between the two, and I support one set of compromise gun laws based on these studies and these assumptions, while you support different laws based on different studies and assumptions.”). Then there are views in which reasonable people can’t (e.g., “We shouldn’t have gun laws because rich people should be able to hunt the poor for sport.”) And while I acknowledge that coming out with the second boldly and publically does take courage and fortitude, I don’t think that bravery in service to evil ideals is a virtue. I can acknowledge it, and I’ll roll my eyes at people who carefully don’t in order to avoid noticing the bits of reality that don’t shame the bad people, but I don’t see it as a good thing, either.

If they have honestly thought it through and simply come to the opposite conclusion from me, of course. The boldness is kind of irrelevant, though. What repercussions have they boldy endure to hold that opinion—social ostracism? Physical violence?

If they’re just a bold idiot, no.

Yes, I do it all the time especially here. I value logic and soundness of arguments over everything else and I truly believe that everyone should as well. Some of my favorite posters here are ones that I don’t agree with much politically but I like their general style and the way that they present their point of view. The opposite is also true. I have my own strong viewpoints on lots of subjects but that doesn’t mean that I don’t listen to what other people are saying. I have even changed a few key viewpoints over time based on other people’s persuasive arguments.

It’s mainly going to depend on whether they have stupid and irrational views for this one issue or others. I have respect for people who have a consistent and explainable cosmology even if I disagree with some or all of it. But if anything degenerates down into stupidity and/or blind faith then I’ll have less respect for them in general. I might not like them, but that’s different from respecting them.

I also allow otherwise perfectly rationale and agreeable people their one or two oddities. It’s the least I can do being about 90% oddity myself.

It won’t be too long until people who oppose same-sex marriage will face social ostracism. We’re already being called “haters” and “bigots” simply for opposing immoral behavior.

Pretty much this.

I wouldn’t necessarily respect the view, but I wouldn’t disown someone as a friend if they held a contrary view in the OPs examples.

Of course, if this strongly held political view was something like “actually, white people are superior and we should live in our own segregated, perfect society”, then I would have no respect for or any positive thoughts about them.

I’ve several friends whose opinions differ and when they announce that they are doing xy or z for their beliefs, I respect them for it because of the friendship. Friendship is what keeps us believing in our friends and not trying to out eye roll Aubrey Plaza.

One once had just ended a long term contract and insisted on trying out for Survivor. He didn’t make it to TV and I thought he was better off throwing himself into the job search. But I admired him for trying out, for the Risk.

Boldness and bravery does not come into it. I respect people who reason with intelligence and intellectual honesty, whether their conclusions match mine or not, and I despise people who are wilfully stupid or argue in bad faith, even if they arrive at the same conclusion as me.

For some reason I am far more angry at dishonest debating tactics (e.g. appeal to emotions, use of loaded terms) employed in the service of views I share than in the service of opposing views. The latter as dismiss as ‘well, that was to be expected of them’, the former leads to me fantasizing about public floggings.

To be fair, the people who support same-sex marriage probably think your behavior is immoral too.

Back on topic: mostly I agree with TriPolar:

There are certainly posters here I respect (no, I’m not going to start naming names) - and others elsewhere - with views I disagree with but who present their arguments with strength and clarity and in good faith. There are people I generally respect who have some specific views or habits I find repugnant but not enough so to override my wider impression of them. And there are people who I believe are headed down the wrong path but who I believe are on a journey they must make themselves even if it is apparent to me they are mistaken.

And then there are other people… but we’re not talking about them.
ETA: Also, what Mops just said while I was typing.

What’s with the “bold and courageous” stuff? Unless you’re physically threatening or holding a gun on the other person, there’s nothing courageous about them disagreeing with you.

I can respect someone who holds a diametrically opposite position on an issue if they are scrupulous about sticking to facts and avoiding typical debate fallacies.

Too often, the Bold Maverick (especially when it comes to health issues) is not (as advertised) being persecuted for his brave iconoclasm, but instead is laughed at for being a dingbat.

Essentially this. As long as someone authentically believes their opinion, whether it’s political, religious, or otherwise, and they’re either informed on it or, more importantly, willing and able to make an effort to learn more about it and be challenged on it, then I don’t particularly care what someone believes. And, to a certain extent, someone have the courage to support an unpopular belief or opinion and defend it isn’t just something I respect as much as another opinion, but I’d say it’s admirable.

That said, there are certain opinions and beliefs that just don’t pass this muster. For example, someone that is racist is very likely to be poorly informed, and likely unwilling to inform themselves, and, frankly, I’m not even sure it’s authentic, not in the sense that they don’t “think” it, but that they were raised that way and may not really believe it. And, frankly, I’ve never met a racist that was truly, honestly, willing to reconsider their position based on evidence and logic. Any controversy over racism is just noise from racists.

But to that extent, there are other opinions where misinformation is everywhere, like climate change, and so I think it’s possible that someone could make a reasonable effort, for someone who doesn’t really care about it I wouldn’t expect them to put in much in the first place, and still be very wrong about it. If they’re actually willing to engage in it and consider an opposing view, then I can still respect their opinion and hope I can change their mind. Hell, I even know some former deniers, whose opinions I’ve either changed, or at least gotten to make reasonable concessions that, for instance, wanton pollution and burning of fossil fuels isn’t without some serious environmental consequence.

The problem is that people who hold views opposed to mine are invariably telling lies. People who deny global warming simply deny that science has anything to tell us. People who say they keep a gun to protect their family ignore the facts that it is highly likely that either accidently or on purpose, it is more likely that it will be used on a member of their family. Anti-vaxxers are simply in denial. A view I would give some respect to is pro-life; there are no facts and no science on either side of that debate. But I would tell them they should mind their own business.

I would only respect someone if they have a logical reason for what they believe. Things that would make me severely disrespect someone include:

  • “Its what my religion taught me”
  • “I just don’t trust scientists/science/liberals”
  • “It benefits me, I don’t care what happens to other people”
  • “Why shouldn’t rich people stay rich?”
  • “Its icky”
  • “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!”

I try not to base my personal beliefs on any of those things because they are easily corrupted, make no sense, completely immune to any kind of logic, and just plain stupid.

As others have said, I respect intelligent political positions. If someone has rational, intelligent, thoughtful reasons for their views, I can respect them even if I disagree. What I can’t respect is people who have views that they are unable to articulate or explain. What I despise most is people who, when presented with facts that completely refute their position, decide that the facts don’t matter at all. Please do not get me started on people who keep insisting that crime rates in the U.S. are substantially higher than they have ever been. :smack:

For the most part I can and do. The one point where I find it impossible is serious outright racism. That form of bigotry is almost a poison pill for any relationship I have or would have. Your basic general “limo liberal” just-not-in-my-neighborhood crap I can overlook some of the time but the they-all-need-to-go-away-they-aren’t-like-us thing ------ forget it.

The former are certainly less annoying in general, but I’m not sure either is really all that different in practice. I had one former acquaintance who was of the former type about gays, in the “as long as I don’t have to see it” sort of way. She railed against me, despite that I supported gay rights, because my father was anti-gay and they’d argued about it, though she’d usually let it go when I reminded her that I didn’t agree with him.

But then I remember when she got a new roommate and was even quite fond of him, but then saw him having the same friend over a few times behind closed doors. She completely flipped out. OMG, I don’t want a gay in my house. What if they have sex HERE? I reminded her about what she had said before. Well, yeah, it’s fine if they do, just not HERE. She was relieved to later find out that he had a girlfriend. She also later expressed that it was “icky” that my mom had an openly gay roommate.

Regardless, my point is, I’m not sure there’s really much of a difference in the beliefs there. In a certain sense, I think I have greater respect for someone who authentically believes and expresses an opinion I disagree with, or even find offensive. Where as the former, or my example, are people who are inauthentic in their opinions, and you can’t really be sure if they just disagree, but not strongly, or they’re actually closeted bigots or whatever and they’re just biting their tongue for other reasons. How do you even handle a situation where someone isn’t actually sure what they believe?

I don’t respect anyone for their boldness.

Nuts to how bold they are. How courteous are they?

Can we have a discussion, an honest exchange of views? Or is it going to get ugly?

I respect people who can respect me! The minute they violate that, I see no further scope for communication.

This is doubly true for those who refuse to change the subject. “Obama is the worst president ever.” “You’ve said that before. Can we talk about something else, please?” “You’re just covering for Obama!” “Whatever. Sports? Weather? Seen any good movies?” “Obama has you completely hoodwinked!”


Your question seems to ask about 2 things - boldness, and political opposition.

Regarding boldness alone, I tend to (at one level) admire boldness as a quality. As I am normally a meek, passive person, I appreciate folks who can use boldness as a tool. I mostly lack the ability myself.

That said, it very quickly gets into sticky territory to say you can admire boldness in and of itself. Because to what ends the boldness is used so easily overshadows the boldness, and serves to preempt any discussion of the boldness. An example would be back when Bill Maher stated that the 9/11 terrorists were “not cowards” as a comment on their boldness.

So, as I said “at one level” I admire boldness, but I would also have to say that on principle boldness in the service of something I don’t agree with is not to be respected, lest we end up having to argue our respect for bold enemies.