Remarkably, another rare Twitter gem surfaced this week from a woman named Michelle Tandler who rightly chastises her doctrinaire friends for being religious zealots who don’t want to hear anything that contradicts their views. Her appraisal of the intellectual constipation of her narrow-minded progressive friends has gone viral. It reminds me of Professor Jonathan Haidt’s concern that viewpoint diversity is vitally important to our society. It’s so refreshingly honest that I thought it merited its own article for posterity.
Recently I have realized that all my progressive friends are unable to articulate the tradeoffs associated with their viewpoints. They are reading the same things, spending time with other liberals, and generally uninterested in questioning their beliefs. This is problematic.
When I share learnings around tradeoffs they tend to become morally indignant and emotionally worked up. They say things like “that is preposterous! how can you think that…?” I find myself at a loss… It’s hard to argue with someone in a religious fervor.
They will spout talking point after talking point… “the system is broken” “capitalism doesn’t work” “systemic racism” “industrial complex” They sound almost bot-like.
It is not easy to have a productive conversation. I have been studying so many differing viewpoints. I’m not interested in demonizing one side or the other. I’m interested in the truth. I want to know the tradeoffs, the unintended consequence, the downstream ramifications.
What I have come to realize is that most people aren’t actually interested in politics. They are interested in feeling good about themselves. It’s a hell of a lot easier to say “billionaires shouldn’t exist” than to take a look at the % of time and money they spend on charity.
The moral grandstanding I see among my friends on the far left has become increasingly frustrating to me. Few are grounded in data or facts. Everything is about “values” — not logic. I would say 90% of my progressive friends don’t have a single conservative friend.
I would also say that 90% of my progressive friends don’t read anything that challenges their viewpoints — books, magazines, youtube, anything. There is *so* much out there — how can you only read from one side? In that dynamic, how can you have confidence in your views…?
Some topics where I’m seeing my friends utterly falter on the ability to speak in a balanced way: welfare/UBI, taxes, income inequality, race, criminal justice, housing, minimum wage, education. They all have such strong opinions, but when I ask about tradeoffs… Crickets.
Last night a friend told me that I invented the term “purple pilled”. I find that hard to believe, but I’ll take it. I love the color purple – the perfect balance of blue and red. It’s a great color.
Recently I’ve started thinking that we have two enormous looming existential threats — a recession (inevitable) and climate catastrophe. I think we are heading into a world where smoke and drought (among other things) wreak serious havoc and disrupt society at large.
We need to work together on these issues or we are going to be in big trouble. I am concerned that all our infighting – between red & blue, black & white… it’s a distraction from the train in the distance. Why aren’t we working together to prepare for the future?
I keep trying to quit Twitter because frankly, it stresses me out. There is so much yelling and finger pointing and name calling here. I get trolled & it can be quite painful. However — I can’t let up. I think that this is the place to spread a message of coming together.
We need to start a moderate movement. We need moderates to speak up and challenge radicals. We need to shine a light on extremism, and not let it take over our nation. We need to ask people to consider the tradeoffs.