When I was much younger, like an undergrad, I’d go out with friends for maybe a pizza and the discussion would be enjoined. We’d argue this way and that, about one view or another. We’d argue on and on until the pizza was long gone and bedtime or study time was upon us. Few feelings were hurt by the other. After all, it was just opinions shot back and forth.
The critical value of an opinion is in its flux of belief. It can or could be changed.
Today, it’s different. When venturing onto websites of columnists, especially those of contributors, opinions are no longer changeable. They are fixed, hardened, even cast as metal. Modern students are about the same, most with cast-iron views, not to be changed by anyone, any way, anyhow.
The point here is you can’t call it an opinion unless you can cite something that someone can do or say to change it. It rare we see this. What is slapped down on the page is not opinion but absolute truth in the mind of the contributor.
Opinions are dead. Nowadays, the irrefutable position is taken. If history needs a bit of revision to support, that’s ok. If vague words such as “civilized” are needed, that’s ok. If the occasional white lie is needed, that’s ok. But never, ever, change the position. In legal terms, it’s become a swearing match.
Even actual science has been infected with this incurable malady, say with cosmology, now almost a pure theory with hardy a chance of resolution by testing. In politics, particularly in the USA, studies have shown there is hardly anyone on the left or the right that associates with someone of the opposite persuasion. Self-validation is in.