Unacceptable platitude #4: "To each his own.”

It’s been a long time since I added to my list of unacceptable platitudes. Past platitudes include: “That’s your opinion.”

“Nobody’s perfect.”

“At least I admit my faults.”

Today I offer you a new one.

“To each his own”

“To each his own” is ridiculous. It is a statement that seeks to exonerate all human beings of any and all actions ever taken. It implies that judging a person’s actions or words is not valid or acceptable because each person has the right to say or do whatever he or she wishes.

This is stupid.

In practice, it looks like this:

“Yes, it’s true, Melissa’s four year old son only eats hotdogs and candy corn when the family goes to restaurants, and yes, their son still sleeps in a toddler bed in Melissa’s room, and yes, her son can only fall asleep if the television is on, but to each his own.”

No. Not true. Melissa is an idiot and a lunatic.

If “to each his own” was actually a valid bit of discourse, all form of political discourse would immediately be rendered invalid and meaningless. Philosophical and religious debate would come to an end. Disagreements of almost every kind would be unnecessary. Regardless of what your friend, neighbor or family member was saying or doing, you would never need to disagree or even comment because “to each his own.”

From a rhetorical perspective, “to each is own” is often a metaphorical mark of punctuation that a person uses in desperation when all other attempts to win an argument have failed. It is the sign that your opponent has lost the argument and  simply wishes to extract him or herself from the disagreement with a shred of dignity.

Don’t allow such stupidity to stand unchallenged.