I keep hearing that western countries like the UK and US are hopelessly polarized at this moment, with regular people unable to engage in nuanced discourse and disagree in a healthy way.
Well, I would like to push back on that. I invite people in my social sphere to join me.
Maybe this polarization is evident in comments sections on the internet or in people who make their political views their very moorings in reality and (understandably) therefore can't stand to have them prodded. But I think many of us are perfectly capable of holding a civil conversation, even on messy topics.
I've been thinking about why people like Sam Harris, Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson command such large audiences. Part of it may be they offer long form, nuanced discussion, with no small amount of humor. They respect each other and their audiences. And they don't prostrate themselves before noisy radicals. I regard much of the news cycle (and the newsfeed) as relentless, belligerent noise. They offer signal.
And hey, there's an ambition: be signal. And even if this society of ours is going the way of the Titanic, you can be Leo. You can be Kathy Bates. You can be the guy playing the violin. But do not be Billy Zane. Remember Billy Zane in Titanic? Dear me.
I heard once that we get the governments we deserve. It is our job to weed out the would-be tyrants among us before it is too late. Let's talk.
There are some worthy principles to be fought for and defended here: freedom of speech, avoiding cynicism and grievance, pushing personal development, constructive and nuanced criticism. Spirited and healthy debate. It's useful. It's necessary. It's fun!
I have noticed some of my peers seem to be adopting what I understand to be political ideology without questioning it thoroughly or understanding its origins or the intent of those who first elucidated the ideas.
I want to challenge them on that. And I also want to avoid doing something similar myself. And have a rollicking good time doing it. :)