Thinking v. Opining

Marshaling arguments to defend our opinion is not thought—I was watching one of those public affairs shows where guests share what they are supposed to think about what happened that week. A young woman (whose name I don’t remember and I’m glad since pointing fingers wouldn’t be helpful)trying to convey the mood of the electorate said voters will not want to give all the power to one party and so are likely to split their vote between president and congress, underlining her point by adding that was after all what the constitution was about, the balance of power.She was articulate and passionate about what she said unmindful apparently of some underlying lapse. As I recall the concept of the balance of power, definitely a contribution of the U.S. to the rest of the world, is meant to focus on the three branches of government, where one branch is not to exercise all the power, as it was during so many monarchies and is today under any dictatorship. Balancing power among branches of government which are each institutions in their own right not subject to elections, and the idea of balancing power between political parties which are very much based on elections are, it seems clear to me, two separate processes. The later, of course with only indirect and oblique ties to the constitution.
What this young woman did is so typical, as well a good example of what people do when they somehow substitute using facts or concepts to support their point of view instead of actually thinking through a position or idea and then using facts and concepts to explain it. This may sound a chicken and the egg question, if not nitpicking, but at heart reveals a problem so many so called pundits and talking heads often have. Maybe because they are under pressure of the 24 hours cycle, maybe because they just haven’t had to time to concentrate on a given subject, maybe because of something else, they create an illusion of thought instead of actually thinking, tending to mistake opining for thought.
On the one hand it doesn’t matter because we don’t have to agree with them, and certainly don’t have to even listen to them. On the other, however, it is part of a big problem. It is so prevalent.It contributes to our not understanding what thought is or does. It clouds our grasp of the issues. More fundamentally, if we don’t use thought to understand and explain problems, how will we ever find right answers?